Declarations

SERIAL DECLARATION OF HISTORIC SITES ASSOCIATED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF FORT HARE; ALICE; EASTERN CAPE AS NATIONAL HERITAGE SITES

DeclarationType: 

GazetteNo: 

41913

Gazette Date: 

Friday, September 21, 2018

NoticeNo: 

958

Notice Date: 

Friday, September 21, 2018

Gazette Notice Status: 

  • Current

GazetteFile: 

ShortDescription: 

By virtue of the powers vested in the South African Heritage Resources Agency, in terms of
section 27 (5) of the National Heritage Resources Act (No. 25 of 1999) SAHRA hereby
declares the Grave of Chief Tyali; Portion 1 of Farm Berg Place; Alice; Eastern Cape; and
ZK Matthews House; remainder Erf 161 Victoria East Rd; Alice; and the Old Fort; Christian
Union Hall; HMS Building (The old Dining Hall); Stuart Hall, Freedom Square at The University
of Fort Hare; Alice Campus; Farm 412; Victoria East; Alice; Eastern Cape

FullDescription: 

The granting of land by Chief Tyali for establishing a place of learning for Africans as early
as the 1800s was unprecedented on the sub-continent. During this period South Africa was
still in the throes of colonial expansion and British annexation of parts of the Eastern Cape
during the Frontier Wars. Chief Tyali’s donation of land to Scottish missionaries came
between these Frontier Wars, the primary purpose of which was land dispossession. Given
the prevailing circumstances, this would have been unpopular with many African chiefs at
the time. Yet it is precisely this unconventionality that made Chief Tyali a visionary leader. In
addition to education, part of the reasoning in granting the land was an attempt to gain
knowledge into the workings of the colonial system.

The establishment of Lovedale and later the University of Fort Hare on land granted by Chief
Tyali in turn produced some of South Africa's and Africa’s leading stalwarts in the struggle
against colonial rule and apartheid. Therefore, the legacy of Chief Tyali and the history of
these two institutions and their contribution to South Africa are intertwined. The grave site of
Chief Tyali is a tangible representation of the contribution he has made to the education of
Africans and great African leaders through his own insightful and visionary leadership.

The University of Fort Hare was South Africa’s first multi-racial, multi-cultural institution,
fulfilling Chief Tyali’s desire of educating African people, and became the epitome of ideas,
freedom of speech and creative thinking during the oppressive systems of both the colonial
and apartheid governments; and from which the very first generation of African leadership and
intelligentsia emerged. The sites declared here include the buildings where liberation leaders
attended class, meetings, intellectual debates and represents the confluence of ideas from
several walks of life that inspired leader who spearheaded the liberation of many African
countries.

The University is the custodian of the Liberation Movement Archives (incorporating the African
National Congress Archives, Pan African Congress Archives, Black Consciousness
Movement archives as well as personal collections, such as Govan Mbeki and Donald Woods)
and Africa’s largest collection of contemporary African Art works.

Professor ZK Matthews inspired by the Atlantic Charter, proposed at the ANC’s annual
congress the idea of a Congress of the People to draft and adopt a Freedom Charter. With
the approval of his proposal, a National Action Council was established with thousands of
volunteers collecting inputs from ordinary South Africans across the country. The process of
drafting and adopting the Freedom Charter at the Congress of the People in Kliptown in 1955
was, at the time, the most democratic in South Africa’s history. The Freedom Charter formed
the basis of the liberation movements and the Constitution of the post-apartheid democratic
South Africa.

 
 

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