Mandela memorial project takes shape



The Sol Plaatje municipality has adopted and resolved issues surrounding the Nelson Mandela Memorial Project which will be built in Galeshewe in the Northern Cape.

The multimillion-rand project is anchored on three pillars – heritage, arts and culture, economic and skill development and community services.

The project will be built over a three to five year period. Municipal speaker Mangaliso Matika said yesterday the project was a landmark one that has economic stimulation and will greatly impact on the landscape of the Galeshewe township.

Recently an ad hoc committee led by Matika was established to facilitate and advance the Nelson Mandela memorial project. Matika said the committee will advise the council on a regular basis on progress made towards achieving a dream to have the multimillionrand Mandela precinct in the heart of Galeshewe.

“The infrastructure investment that our province will be deliberately investing through this project will see Sol Plaatje municipality benefiting through the massive upgrade,” he said.

“The project is divided into three legs. The first leg will be to consult with the community on the project and listen to their input.

“The second leg will be the focus on the historic structures such as the house of Sol Plaatje and the office which was used by the late PAC president, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe.

“The committee will make sure that in as much as we focus our attention on the Mandela project, we preserve the legacy we already have.” Matika said the committee will also start on a process to rename streets in the Sol Plaatje area.

“That is one process which is long overdue. We still have streets of past leaders who didn’t make any impact on our people’s lives.

“Look at the street named after President Lucas Mangope. He is no longer a president. Why keep the street name?”

However, Matika made an undertaking that street names named after politicians who jump from the ANC to join other political parties will not be changed.

“But you cannot expect us to leave names associated with former oppressors lingering.”

Asked about the funding, Matika was quick to say that the project would be funded by different stakeholders such as the department of sport, arts and culture and the business community.

“Mines will be approached to fund these projects. “However, the department of sport, arts and culture is the custodian of these projects but they have handed them over to the municipality. “We will meet them and see how far hey can assist us.

“As the municipality, we are however expected to make funding available.”

In terms of the Nelson Mandela Project, Matika said they had a number of meetings with Mandela’s grandson, Mandla Mandela, who gave them the blessing to go ahead with the project.

“This marks the continuation of a journey by the Sol Plaatje municipality on a healing and national building pilgrimage as we honour the legacy of the freedom fighter that was Nelson Mandela and celebrate the heroes and heroines of Kimberley,” Matika said.

The project will include the following:

• Early childhood development centre.
• Upgrading of the library into a
hi-tech one.
• A gymnasium.
• A multipurpose and recreation complex.
• A residential student village.
• A Nelson Mandela museum.
• A Nelson Mandela youth arts centre.
• Bulk infrastructure upgrade, road
treatment and beautification of the
circle into a water fountain.
• Women and youth arts and craft
• A wall of remembrance.
• Upgrading of the existing walls.

The identified site hosts no less than 15 schools around it and a number of early childhood centres.

“There are a number of young people and women in the arts and craft market who will benefit through the utilisation of the sport facilities and library around the precinct,” Matika said.