Kimberley artists call for preservation of Mayibuye uprising site

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The youth in Kimberley is calling on the Northern Cape Department of Arts and Culture to do more to preserve the Mayibuye Uprising historic site. The precinct, which is in remembrance of 1952 apartheid defiance campaign, has become a target for criminals who vandalise it constantly. This is despite numerous attempts to restore it.

As November marks the 71st anniversary of the 1952 Mayibuye Uprising. 13 people were killed, and 78 others were wounded during demonstrations against the oppressive apartheid laws. Kimberley artists maintain that the historic precinct, which remains a remembrance of the tragic events, needs to be protected.

Revelation Dikgetsi a Kimberley artist says, “People were fighting and they were fighting for their rights here at Mayibuye Uprising and they have won the battle. I must say although young and old were shot, personally to me is a very emotional day and also a very celebratory day.”

Bokhutlo Matlhale another Kimberley artist adds, “We want to take it upon ourselves and see to it that we educate the young ones who are coming after us so that they must also know the importance of the day, what role it played in our lives.”

“We are commemorating them as you can see. We gonna be putting flowers there at the memorial in order to celebrate this day,” says Gilbert Matlhoko a Kimberley artist.

Among the vandalised infrastructure are the stalls and the fence around the precinct. Artists believe this is a disregard for the law and for the heroes that fought for freedom.

The Northern Cape Department for Arts and Culture says it is engaging with various stakeholders to find ways to safeguard the site.

“We are also however, engaging some of our relevant stake holders like the department of economic development and the Sol Plaatje Municipality including Francis Baard, to see how best we can ensure that the security in this particular precinct is preserved and people have access in terms of what is here and how people can preserve this particular area,” says David Mdutyana the department’s Chief Director.

The Arts and Culture Department says it hopes that people could recognise the significance of the precinct and stop vandalising it.

Calls to protect Mayibuye Precinct in Kimberley: