Move to declare Harry Gwala grave a heritage site
Pietermaritzburg – Harry Gwala, one of the most prominent stalwarts of the ANC and the South African Communist Party (SACP) is set to get a recognition equivalent to the one accorded to the likes of Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Chris Hani.
This is as the Harry Gwala Foundation which is chaired by Gauteng education MEC and ANC provincial deputy chairperson, Panyaza Lesufi, has kicked off a process to get Gwala’s grave to be declared a national heritage site.
The grave of Gwala who died in 1995 is located at Swayimane, a rural village outside the KZN Midlands town of Pietermaritzburg.
The news of the move was announced by Lesufi on Sunday during a wreath-laying ceremony which marked the beginning of a series of commemorative events to remember the man who was known as the Lion of the Midlands to his supporters.
“We have done everything possible, I must be honest that it’s not out of people not agreeing with us (to have the grave declared a heritage site) it is because of the situation we find ourselves in terms of the virus that is raving us currently. There is a hospital as well that needs to be renamed after him, there is a park in the middle of Pietermaritzburg that was also meant to be renamed after him and there was all the necessary administrative paperwork to reclaim this area as a heritage site.
“Unfortunately because of the disease (Covid-19) there have been delays. But we are still reiterating that call that this place should be a holy place, a place that all of us must come here, not to lament and complain, but to honour a giant of our revolution, a communist that stood for our people during a difficult period, a person that chose to be on the side of the people rather than to be on the side of those that oppressed us,” Lesufi said.
Also supporting the move was KZN ANC chairperson, and provincial premier, Sihle Zikalala. He said Gwala deserves the honour as he was at the forefront of the struggle.
“Gwala is not known for his role in fighting for workers rights and his ideas on nation-building and teaching the people about the struggle. So it is important to have him honoured for the role he played. So we support the request to have this place declared a national monument,” Zikalala said.