Pretoria - One of the descendants of Kgosi Mampuru II has expressed the wish to see his statue standing next to that of Paul Kruger on Church Square.
“This is a dream and hopefully it will become a reality one day,” said Kgosi Sekwati Mampuru III at the renaming ceremony of the Correctional Services Management Centre on Wednesday.
The facility was renamed Kgosi Mampuru II at a function attended by a number of dignitaries, including President Jacob Zuma, former ANC Women’s League president Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale, ANC chief whip in Parliament Mathole Motshekga, Minister of Correctional Services Sbu Ndebele, Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Richard Baloyi and IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
The renaming of the correctional facility is part of a process started by former Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Maphisa-Nqakula and is aimed at turning correctional centres into places of hope and change.
Mampuru II was hanged at the prison on November 22, 1883, for public violence and revolt, as well as the murder of rival leader Sekhukhune in the same year. Mampuru III urged the government to assist the Bapedi tribe to trace the remains of their ancestors so that they could be afforded a decent burial in Mamone, Limpopo. He said that Mampuru II was labelled a murderer by Kruger’s government, from which he declared himself independent. “He was the rightful heir to the Bapedi tribe,” he said.
Speaking at the same function, Zuma urged traditional leaders to help rebuild society and to help rewrite the country’s “distorted history”. He said: “The role of traditional leaders in building this new society is critical… they must be the heartbeat of this process.”
Zuma said Mampuru II paid the supreme sacrifice. “His name will loom large and it will have a story to tell. We need a detailed story to tell our history,” he said.
Zuma added: “He was one of the many outstanding kings and chiefs who were killed and squeezed… they had no voice”.
According to Zuma, the government has an extensive ongoing heritage programme that includes the upgrading and declaration of historic sites to ensure a more representative and inclusive South African history and heritage.
“More importantly, this also contributes towards shared values and a common national identity.
“Furthermore, the building and maintenance of new monuments and historic sites has a greater potential to stimulate economic activity and create much needed jobs in communities where these sites are located,” he said.
Zuma said the government would work with all South Africans “to ensure that we preserve and promote our rich cultural history”.
“We regard this work as central towards transformation, nation building, national identify and building a socially cohesive South African society that is non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, united and prosperous,” he said.
Zuma said the renaming of the facility “marks a historical milestone in our correctional heritage”.
Zuma said there has been an understanding and maturity about the need to change the symbols and reflect the history of those who were dispossessed. “In a dignified manner, the streets in our capital city here in Pretoria have been renamed after the heroes of the struggle for freedom, the people who sacrificed much so that we could live together as one nation in a non-racial society which prioritises human rights and dignity of all,” said Zuma.