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CONFERENCE PAPER – Bongane Mkhize. TITLE Taking Freedom Park to the People Paper presented in the Conference organised by South African Society for History.

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Presentation on theme: "CONFERENCE PAPER – Bongane Mkhize. TITLE Taking Freedom Park to the People Paper presented in the Conference organised by South African Society for History."— Presentation transcript:

1 CONFERENCE PAPER – Bongane Mkhize

2 TITLE Taking Freedom Park to the People Paper presented in the Conference organised by South African Society for History Teaching, SASHT, Sept. 2011

3 SLIDES PRESENTATION (Copyright for SASHT)

4 INTRODUCTION Henry Ford said: history is bunk, 1916 Francis Fukuyama echoed Ford: end of history, 1989 Both shameful declarations and outrageous misrepresentations of history and heritage

5 INTRODUCTION This paper is a narrative presentation of Freedom Park as a cultural institution. It is not investigative. Neither is it analytical nor academically rigorous. However, one cannot completely rule out the obvious temptation to argue (See Bongane Mkhize; The role of heritage institutions in the creation of common citizenship and nation-building in the post- apartheid South Africa ( to be published by AISA in Africa Insight, (2012)

6 INTRO. The paper aims to explain the relevance and the special place Freedom Park occupies or rather, should occupy in both heritage and tourism industries in SA. The paper was also inspired by the concerns of the governing council of Freedom Park; how best to promote Freedom Park, especially to young children, and to schools in particular.

7 INTRO. The paper foregrounds the centrality and uniqueness of F/P in the heritage industry with its principle of the emancipation of the African voice The paper elucidates that Freedom Park is not an African National Congress, ANC monument, but the dream of the entire nation. See examples overleaf.

8 EXAMPLES 1. After being taken on tour of the F/P, the great grandson of President Paul Kruger was quoted as having emotionally said that, I felt the presence of my great grand-father in this space (Sipho Mdanda). 2. F/P Hosted 150 th celebrations of the arrival of Indians in 2010 in conjunction with 1860 Legacy Project, the Foundation for Human Rights, and the Gauteng provincial Government (p. 20 Quarterly Report Oct-Nov 2010) 3. F/P consulted widely and visited 14 countries before starting with the construction which began after 16 June 2002 to coincide with the youth month.

9 INTRO: EXAMPLES Who participated in F/Ps concetualisation? IKS practitioners and organic intellectuals Faith-based institutions including African Indigenous Churches (AICs) Civic groups Traditional leaders Traditional healers International community (14 countries) and Workshops were conducted and another in 2010 on inter-faith Continuous consultation is on-going through dialogues

10 Cont. The paper also celebrates F/Ps own champions: NELSON MANDELA The Arch, DESMOND MPILO TUTU GENERAL MASONDO (late) CREDO MUTWA THABO MBEKI WALLY SEROTE HARIETTE NGUBANE (late) YONAH SELETI and the F/Ps initial STAFF

11 METHODOLOGY Qualitative and opportunistic -heavily based on archival (F/P), primary materials (concept papers: F/P) housed in F/Ps Pan African Archives, PAA -Annual & Quarterly Reports and -Collegial conversations (colleagues) -Engaging with visitors

12 FOUNDATIONS Nelson Mandela envisioned a day not too far when SA shall have a peoples shrine, a freedom park, where we shall honour with all the dignity they deserve, those who endured pain so we should experience the joy of freedom (Freedom Park, undated)

13 FOUNDATIONS The country is drenched in blood and needs a place of healing, reconciliation and nation building (Mandela, 1999) The Arch, as Tutu is affectionately known confirmed the need for a freedom park, a Garden of Remembrance for the nation which should be based on the nations constitutional principles of; DEMOCRATIC NON-RACIAL and NON-SEXIST SOCIETY (Act No. 108 of 1996)

14 PHILOSOPHICAL CONTEXT F/P utilises ontologies and epistemologies that have their roots in Africa and its Diaspora F/P foregrounds knowledge on civilisations and cultures of Africa in telling the story of SA s pre-colonial, colonial, apartheid, post apartheid history and heritage spanning 3.6. billion years to commemorate those sheroes and heroes who contributed to our freedom and humanity

15 PHILOSOPHY F/Ps phil. is embedded on the African concept of humanity/humanness (ubuntu), oneneness, kindness even to animals and nature around humans. It is entrenched in the dictum that: I am because we are… therefore, I am Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu Motho kemotho kabatho Muntu ndimuthu ngavathu Umuntu muntu pa Bantu Omuntu nomuntu ahabwaBantu Munhu, munhu, nevanhu

16 PHILOSOPHY, cont. IKS: African epistemologies RECONCILIATION and NATION BUILDING to foster a sense of unity, security and belonging African Renaissance and Thabo Mbekis world famous speech, I am an African (15 May 1996) Pan-Africanism championed by the Diarspora Africans and Marcus Garveys back-to Africa campaign and A strong African union

17 HISTORICAL CONTEXT PRECOLONIAL –conflicts within various indigenous African communities GENOCIDE –evident up until 19 th century SLAVERY – chattel or traditional slavery introduced by the Dutch from 17 th century; inboekeling and trans-Atlantic slave trade WARS OF RESISTANCE –indigenous peoples resistance against European intrusion and colonialism SOUTH AFRICAN WAR TWO WORLD WARS LIBERATION STRUGGLE: Armed struggle Mass struggle Underground struggle International solidarity

18 LANGUAGE CONSTITUTION, Act 108 of 1996 including 1993 Constitution Unity in diversity (Rainbow Nation) Different languages are used in the naming of features including Khoi-san, //Hapo (dream), interpretive museum: //Hapo ge//hapo tama/ haohasib dis tamas ka I bo ( a dream is not a dream until it is shared by the entire community)

19 FOUNDING LEGISLATION The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996 Declared a Cultural Institution effective 01 April 2009 in terms of the Cultural Institutions Act 119 of 1998 and National Heritage Resource Act, No. 25 Sec. 71 of 1999

20 STRATEGIC LOCATION Freedom Park is located on a 52 hectare site called Salvokop, Pretoria. The Park lies between the M1 and Nelson Mandela Drive F/P has 360 degrees panoramic views of the city Voortrekker Monument It is in full view of the Union Buildings, and in close proximity to UNISA to the east and the Voortrekker Monument to the west Reserve Bank Gautrain and, Strategically surrounded by Fort Klapperkop, Fort Kanskop & Fort Wonderboom beyond

21 LONG WALK WITHIN THE PARK +- 2HRS

22 GRAPHIC REP. OF ELEMENTS INTERCONNECTEDNESS

23 VISION AND MISSION Vision Freedom Park purports to be a leading national and international icon of humanity and freedom. Mission To provide a pioneering and empowering heritage destination in order to mobilise for reconciliation and nation building in our country; to reflect upon our past, improving our present and building our future as a united nation; to contribute continentally and internationally to the formation of better human understanding among nations and peoples.

24 VALUES Values In carrying out its mandate, Freedom Park is committed, but not limited to the following values: Tolerance of diversity Inclusivity Trust Transparency Accountability Emancipation of the African voice (Freedom Park Annual Report, )

25 KEY OBJECTIVES (Those relevant to schools) Contribute to social cohesion by positioning Freedom Park as a symbol of national identity Establish mechanisms to promote, protect and preserve Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS).

26 DEPARTMENTS 1.The Office of the CEO & DCEO 2.HERITAGE AND KNOWLEDGE (Education Unit is here) 3.PUBLIC PARTICIPATION 4.INNOVATION AND INCUBATION 5.PARKS OPERATIONS 5. HUMAN RESOURCES and

27 CENTRAL THEMES Freedom Park strives to preserve: history culture spirituality IKS, and heritage of the nation in the context that will be respected nationally and internationally; and cross-culturally

28 CORE BUSINESS The creation of a memorial that will narrate the story of South Africas pre- colonial, colonial, apartheid, and post-apartheid history, culture, spirituality, IKS and heritage, spanning a period of 3.6 billion years, To acknowledge the heroes and sheroes that selflessly laid down their lives for freedom of the country.

29 STATURE F/P is the heartbeat of all that is South African heritage; the countrys history, culture, spirituality and heritage It is the hub through which to know this land of possibilities in all its diversity as it tells the story of humanity It is a monument to democracy that serves to reflect upon the countrys past, improve our present and build our future as a united nation

30 Educational Responsibility F/P mobilises educational institutions at all levels to educate learners/ students to engender social cohesion (Quarterly Report, October to December: 2010) Therefore, it becomes very clear that Freedom Parks mandate is closely linked to education and learners of this country This is in line with UNESCOs Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, 2005 –2014 which is to integrate principles, values and practices of sustainable development into all aspects of education and learning.

31 MUSEOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES F/P fosters principal avenues of museology ( the hub of a countrys tourist industry); 1. Tangible culture and natural heritage: buildings, monuments, landscapes, artefacts, books, works of art 2. Intangible culture: biodiversity and landscapes (See Location) 3. Natural environment: flora and fauna, (biodiversity) and 4. Geo-diversity: Geological elements: mineralogy, geomorphology, paleontology etc F/P encompasses all these; no institution in the world covers history, culture and spirituality under one roof

32 THE ROLE OF THABO MBEKI Thabo Mbeki demonstrated fresh appreciation of the intangible aspects of [African] heritage, such as oral history, oral traditions, cultural expressions and indigenous knowledge (Wells, 2008: 30). His idea, founded on ideas of the legendary Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Tutu was the creation of a space for spiritual renewal in the form of a museum and a monument to the conflicts and struggles that shaped todays free South Africa (Wells, 2008: 30).

33 MBEKI Mbekis influence and passion for Freedom Park is immense. In constructing F/P, Mbeki was overwhelmed by reigniting African Renaissance and pan-africanism with his idea that the 21 st century is Africas century In his approach to conceptualisation, Mbeki was obviously cautious about the possibility of western influences in this phase Mbeki took exceptional interest in ensuring that this was kept to the minimum despite globalisation nuances pushing ahead

34 MBEKI In terms of the 2005 UNESCO Convention, cultural diversity is a defining characteristic of humanity. Article 1 of the 2005 Convention prescribes that all nations should; (a) protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions and (b) create the conditions for cultures to flourish and to freely interact in a mutually beneficial manner (UNESCO Conventions, 2005).

35 MBEKI Also greatly honoured at Freedom Park in the Mbekiist idealism is the emancipation of the African voice, using the tool of continued dialogues (Wells in Denis and Ntsimane, 2008: 22) Also of profound significance about Mbekis national values is reconciliation, nation building and continent building Mbeki initiated the construction with the transplanting of the African Olive tree on 16 June 2002 (See above)

36 THE MAIN FEATURES/ELEMENTS Isivivane, a sacred space - It is a universal spiritual space, symbolising the spiritual and cultural interconnectedness and commonness of humanity globally Skhumbuto – Remembrance with; The Wall of Names The Sanctuary The Amphitheatre The Gallery of Leaders Eternal Flame Moshate – Presidential Suite Mvelezo, a spiral path – joins all the elements of Freedom Park Tiva – man-made dam (has since been put on hold) //Hapo – interactive museum Artworks (circle of peace and Origin of Tiva) Uitspanplek – resting and picnic spot Senhtlaga: fun spot for kids next to the museum, //Hapo Note the use of different South African languages (Constitution)

37 FEATURES Pan African Archives, PAA (inside the museum) very important for research purposes Resource Centre, library, also inside the museum State of the art technology with touch screens (in the Gallery of Leaders) containing biographical data of these sheroes and heroes and eminent leaders (See below)

38

39 //HAPO – the Museum //HAPO – The Museum More than a museum!

40

41 THE MUSEUM: ///HAPO - more than a museum Freedom Parks most significant narrative element is an interactive museum called //Hapo: dream –: a title drawn from an expression from the Khoisan people which says, a dream is not a dream until it is shared by the entire community. It is in this space that the story of the struggle of humanity for freedom is told. It is also here where the story of mankind dating back 3.6 billion years is told in a constructivist and participatory manner creating a mutual relationship between the staff and visitor. Visitors touch and feel artefacts (fossils etc) unlike in conventional museums as we know them

42 3.6 billion years - 7 Periods/Epochs: NB. Not to be confused with the Eight Conflicts in the Wall of Names at Skhumbuto 1. Epoch One – Earth African creation story Barberton rock Fossils Organisms and bacterial life Graphic timeline 2 Epoch Two - Ancestors African spirituality African story of life and death and rituals Significance of ancestors and their role in daily activities of the living.

43 The 3.6 billion Story in //Hapo 3. Epoch Three - Peopling Technology in Africa before colonialisation Africas history, trade and development. Bantu civilizations and migrations Slavery The San and the Khoi Pre-colonial systems of leadership 4 Epoch Four - Resistance and Colonization Perspective of foreign colonizer. Indigenous people and their generosity towards colonizers. Highlights IKS before colonizers arrived – IKS a tool for resistance Economic systems based on IKS and African epistemology Trade routes used by Voortrekkers How landscapes changed as divided by colonisers

44 The 3.6 billion Story in //Hapo 5. Epoch Five - Industrialization and Urbanization Industrialisation and mass production before colonizers. Exploitative labour practices and breakdown in family structures Urban life and strategies used to deal with new lives in the cities Mineral wealth of South Africa and its implications for course of history and the Union in 1910 SA War from the perspective of a Black South African in preparation for the fact of exclusion from the Union in Epoch Six - Nationalisms and Liberation Struggle Exclusive and inclusive nationalisms Homelands Sol Plaatjie deputations to the UK Pixley KaSeme 1912 (foundations of modern resistance, led by learned, middle class and kholwa) SANNC Freedom Charter, 1955, Kliptown (intensification of inclusive nationalisms) Strategies of the struggle (four pillars)

45 The 3.6 billion Story in //Hapo 7. Epoch Seven - Nation Building and Continent Building Circumstances that led to negotiations Negotiations Government sponsored violence Freedom and excitement of 1994 – Tutus Rainbow people of God are born TRC AU and NEPAD, Africas Century, I am an African, African Renaissance etc. The World Cup 2010 will be organised in… South Africa!!! –the culmination of the struggle A BREATHTAKING EXPERIENCE INSIDE //HAPO

46 EDUCATION UNIT Is the newest having been started in June 2010 COMPOSITION ( with exceptionally qualified staff) 1.MANAGER 2.CURRICULUM DEVELOPER 3.EDUCATION OFFICERS and 4.STORY TELLERS MANDATE OF THE UNIT 1.TO DEVELOP A CURRICULUM WHICH IS IN LINE WITH HERITAGE AND HISTORY 2.TO DEVELOP EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES 3.TO INTERFACE WITH STAKEHOLDERS 4.TO PRESENT PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES 5.TO TELL THIS STORY OF3.6.BILLION YEARS

47 EDUCATION METHODOLOGY Educational programmes allow for interaction, interpretation, and participation in a constructivist approach Other methods encapsulated here are; (i) story-telling and (ii) ADIDAS: Activity-Discussion-Input-Deepen-Analysis-Synthesis, ADIDAS These methods, though spontaneously applied (but not story-telling) ensure full participation by visitors regardless of their background. In the context of The Freedom Park, ADIDAS considers the fact that the visitor is not a tabular rasa –that the visitor has a priori knowledge; a Pythagorean principle (Pythagoras of Samos, Greece, BC) The curriculum is based on F/Ps content, all its features, philosophy and concept papers. It strongly links with and enriches the mainstream public curriculum. It does not replace the teacher in the classroom: a heritage site may not be a classroom, but should deliver heritage education, and can link certain content with the school curriculum Though relatively new in museology, story-telling at F/P would not be conventional/traditional in approach, but rather, interactive

48 SOME EXAMPLES OF PROGRAMMES Some examples; Steve Biko (BCM), TRC, Slavery, Sophiatown, spirituality (Isivivane), resistance and colonialism, peopling, nation building, urbanisation and industrialisation, xenophobia etc) F/P targets all educational and academic institutions and other relevant stakeholders such as research institutes. In this regard, the research unit at F/P, in addition to developing content and biographies, produces academic research and pays specific attention to IKS research

49 WHAT YOU CAN DO AT FREEDOM PARK Freedom Park can be used for the following: - As a research facility by visiting: Resource Center/Library, Pan African Archives (PAA) etc - Educational Tours - General tours( guided & self-guided) - Entertainment - Functions - Spiritual meditation - Prayer - Family rituals - Interfaith rituals etc.

50 WHAT YOU CAN DO As a centre for understanding African Indigenous Knowledge Systems (AIKS) and African medicinal practices the Freedom Park Nursery will showcase African indigenous plants –towards understanding African medicinal healing in juxtaposition to western medicinal practices and Also experience the flora including the Protea, SAs national flower

51 //HAPO BUILDING THE DREAM: Pictures by author

52 //HAPO OUTSIDE THE DREAM

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54 //HAPO THE DREAM CONTINUES

55 YOU AT FREEDOM PARK

56 INCLUSIVE NATIONALISMS

57 VISIT FREEDOM PARK YOU CAN VISIT AND SHARE THE EXPERIENCE (GUIDED/UNGUIDED TOURS) TIMES 09HOO 12H00 15H00 PRICES ADULTS: R45.00 KIDS/LEARNERS & PENSIONERS: R25.00 YOU CAN BOOK FOR YOUR FUNCTION SOCIAL GATHERINGS PICNIC AT THE UITSPANPLEK NB. INTOXICANTS ARE NOT ALLOWED ON THE PARK Visit freedompark.co.za and/call

58 WAITING FOR YOU FREEDOM PARK IS WAITING FOR YOU! HAVE YOU EVER VISITED THIS COLLOSUS OF A GARDEN OF REMEMBRANCE?

59 LOVE YOUR HISTORY, CULTURE & HERITAGE I THANK YOU – the paper is being developed for publication in SASHTs 2012 Yesterday & Today Journal to coincide with //Hapo completion (ideas and comments welcome) NB. Visit SASHTs 2011 Conference


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