Daily News / 8 February 2016, 3:52pm / LEE RONDGANGER
Durban - The eThekwini Municipality is at an advanced stage in creating a “liberation heritage route” in Durban aimed at honouring the people and places in the city that paved the way for democracy.
The project is part of the South African National Heritage Council’s national initiative to commemorate local sites and icons of the struggle for freedom and democracy in South Africa.
Thirty sites around Durban, including Warwick Avenue, where hundreds of families were forcibly removed by the apartheid government, the Curries Fountain Stadium, where trade union congress Cosatu was launched, and the offices of the feared Security Branch will be part of the route.
According to a report presented at the city’s community and services committee recently, route markers will be installed at the first 18 sites this year, with the remaining 12 to be completed next year.
The site markers, described as “wayfinder pylons”, will be placed on pavements as close as possible to the relevant site.
Each marker will have an inscription in English and Zulu as well as an image on the significance of the site.
In addition, each marker will also have QR codes, which will enable people with web-enabled smartphones to click on the code and get more information on the site.
While five sites are located outside the inner city, the remaining 25 sites are all within 1km of each other, and the distance between these 25 sites is just more than 6km.
According to the report, while people exploring the liberation sites determine their own route based on the selection of sites they want to see, the local history museums have numbered the markers in a sequence starting at KwaMuhle Museum, and using the shortest distance to connect all the sites.
“At heart, this city-oriented liberation route pays homage to individuals representing a wide range of organisations who gave their lives in pursuit of freedom,” Guy Redman, deputy head of libraries and heritage department at the eThekwini Municipality, said.
“The National Liberation Heritage Route seeks to ensure that our young people today, as well as those of future generations, fully appreciate the great sacrifices made by ordinary women and men, from all walks of life, to achieve the rights all South Africans now enjoy,” he said.
Redman said a pilot phase of this route in eThekwini Municipality will be launched using these sites, after which the route would be extended.
The city set aside funding for the design of unique branding and signage for the route, as well as a dedicated website which includes a digital map allowing users to navigate easily between the various sites.
The group name chosen for this project is ‘Amandla: The Liberation Heritage of Durban’, with a distinctive raised-fist logo in red.
Redman said the city was also forging ahead with building a heritage monument to the Indian indentured labourers who arrived in Durban in 1860.
The city’s executive committee recently agreed to put the commission of the R4.8 million statue out to tender for an artist. Redman said the site of the monument would be near uShaka Marine World.