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The unveiling of liberation struggle hero Mr. Vusumzi Saul Mkhize statue

Mr. Vusumuzi Saul Mkhize was born on the 6th June 1935 and died on the 2nd April 1983. He was an accountant working in Johannesburg and would visit Driefontein over weekends. He attended the meetings of the Driefontein Community Board (DCB) from 20 May 1981 until December 1982. When he realized that the DCB was agreeing to the proposal of the relocation/removal of legitimate Black landowners, he together with others formed the Board of the village to oppose removals. This later became the Council Board of Directors of which he served as its chairperson.  

Before Mkhize had been writing to Dr. Koornhof, an apartheid representative, since 1981 relating to the imminent removals. Saul Mkhize was one of those who strongly dissented. He and his committee were determined to oppose the removal of people from Driefontein as the Mkhize families together with others were legitimate holders of the title deeds dating back to long before 1912. They hoped to achieve this through non-violent and peaceful means.

On the 2nd April 1983 Saul Mkhize was shot dead by the police while attempting to organize a peaceful meeting which was incidental as it was inevitable. Saul Mkhize was a unique man but he was also one of the millions of victims of the policy of forced removals, and is symbolic of the waste, devastation and misery inherent in that policy.

As an added initiative to preserve and conserve the legacy for which Saul Mkhize sacrificed his life, the community of Driefontein made representation in line with the South African Geographical Names Act 118 of 1998 to have its name changed to Saul Mkhizeville. This followed the due process the Minister then gazettes the new name of Driefontein as Saul Mkhizeville on the 18 September 2008.   

SAHRA was invited to attend the memorial lecture in Mkhondo/Piet Retief City Hall on the 6th March 2015 from 18:00 till 21:00.  On the 7th April 2015 we attended the unveiling at Driefontein which is now renamed as Saul Mkhizeville. According to heritage assessment criteria and grading the site falls under grade II of places and objects which form part of the national estates and have special qualities which makes it significant within the context of Mpumalanga province.  The site will be part of the Liberation Route Project which is initiated by the National Heritage Council. The site is not declared yet.    

Author: 

nancy.cloete

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