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Dali Tambo on National Heritage Monument Project
The Parlimentary Monitoring Group reports that Mr Dali Tambo, Chief Executive Officer, National Heritage Project Company (NHPC), presented the National Heritage Monument (NHM) project to the Portfolio Committee meeting attended by Minister Mashatile and Deputy Miniter Phaala.
Mr Tambo said the NHM was led, driven and funded by the DAC, with the aim of it becoming one of the leading heritage sites in the country. The project was now in its third year, with the first two years of the project focussed on consultations with stakeholders and research.
Mr Tambo said that the NHM project was a dedicated effort and included all who had taken part in the struggle for South African democracy and freedom. The Monument would celebrate generations of leaders of South Africa, from the 1600s up to 1994. This project was particularly important given that in 1993, the then National Monument Council had put out a report that at that time, 99% of South African heritage was about white experiences, white stories and white figures of history. Hence, there was a need for more balance in the way in which South African history was told and represented. The NHM did not aim to destroy the past, as had happened in other countries. The NHPC had preserved that past and added a new heritage and history.
The project entailed creating 400 to 500 life-sized bronze statues of leaders of the struggles who represented the soul of South Africa. The NHM would also have great resonance among tourists, who so far were focused on the South African wine farms, beaches, natural reserves and parks, but failed to capture the ‘soul’ and history of the South African people. The NHM project was also about civic pride, as the NHPC planned to situate it in the Fountains Valley in Tshwane. The city of Tshwane had provided land in the Groenkloof Reserve, which was in itself part of the national heritage. The 400 to 500 statues would represent the Long March to Freedom. It would have a visitor centre for information, where interactive activities would take place. Other entertainment activities included a Water Park. The NHM would have a great economic impact. Direct and indirect impacts on local economy had been business planned. The project would create numerous jobs and large-scale temporary and permanent employment
Members of the Committee were very appreciative of the NHM. They praised the project and thought that it was important for social cohesion and reconciliation in the country. They asked clarification on the amount of money that the NHPC and the DAC needed to develop the project, and on who would have run and own the site after its completion. Appreciation was also expressed for the economic impact of the NHM and the job creations aspect. Members felt that young generations needed to be more in touch with the history of South Africa, and this project would contribute to this. They endorsed the NHM.
The South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA,) invited by the Chairperson to clarify its position on the Union Building and the installation of a Mandela statue in its proximity, explained that SAHRA had only a advisory role in the matter and did not object to the presence of the statue. It simply had to study the project and the combination of the Union Building and Mandela statue from an urban, aesthetic and architectural point of view before it was implemented.
To read the minutes of the meeting, listen to an audio recording, or download the report presented by Dali Tambo, visit the Parliamentary Monitoring Group website.