ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa, will on Thursday address the party’s lecture to mark the centenary birthday of Harry Gwala. Picture: GCIS
ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa, will on Thursday address the party’s lecture to mark the centenary birthday of Harry Gwala. Picture: GCIS

Ramaphosa to address Harry Gwala centenary lecture

By Sihle Mavuso Time of article published Jul 29, 2020

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Durban - ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa, will on Thursday address the party’s lecture to mark the centenary birthday of Harry Gwala, one of its late stalwarts from the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.

The lecture which would be conducted virtually in line with Covid-19 lockdown regulations is part of a series of events by the party to honour the man who was also known as the “Lion of the Midlands.”

Gwala who was born on July 30 1920 was a prominent leader of the South African Communist Party (SACP) and in 1992 he was honoured with the Isithalandwe award for his role in the fight against the apartheid. The fight against the regime twice landed him at the notorious Robben Island until his release in 1988.

In Gwala’s honour, the former Sisonke district municipality was named after him. By that, it joined stadiums, townships and centres named after the late ANC freedom fighter.

In a statement issued by the ANC in KZN on Wednesday about the centenary celebration, the other main activities of Thursday would be a wreath-laying ceremony on the grave of Gwala at his ancestral village of Swayimane outside Pietermaritzburg.

That ceremony would be led by KZN ANC provincial chairperson, Sihle Zikalala.

“Born 1920 in New Hanover, Pietermaritzburg, in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, Cde Gwala was a well-spoken and prominent politician and stalwart of the ANC. He was never apologetic but spoke his views and steadfastly stood by them. He would criticize anyone no matter how high position(s) they held.

“A teacher by profession, he went on and nurtured many well-known activists, including Moses Mabhida whom he taught at Slangspruit. He fought for justice and democracy against the apartheid regime and his unwavering political activism resulted in him being arrested by the apartheid state and serving two long sentences on Robben Island,” the party described Gwala in the statement.

The party added that if Gwala was still alive, it has no doubt that he would be at the forefront in the fight against Covid-19 and corruption in various spheres of government. In his honour, it pleaded with South African to play their part in fighting the scourge.

“There is no doubt that if Cde Gwala was still alive today, he would be at the forefront fighting the spread of the COVID-19 and continued reports of corruption in our various spheres of government. The ANC KZN calls on all South Africans, especially the people of KwaZulu-Natal to be not apologetic but report corruption, fight gender-based violence and inequality in our communities, observe rules and regulations of lockdown by wearing masks in public spaces, wash the hands by soap or sanitizers and consistently keep social distancing,” the party said.

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