National Heritage Monument

NitinEvents, NewsLeave a Comment

The National Heritage Monument (NHM)’s Long March to Freedom is a procession of almost 100 lifesize bronze sculptures honouring the many who contributed to South Africa’s 350-year struggle for freedom. Planned to grow to a parade of more than 500, this word-class display is fast becoming one of the country’s leading heritage tourism attractions.

The outdoor sculptural park is situated in the Fountains Recreation Resort, known more commonly as Fountains Valley, in the City of Tshwane, 60 km north of Johannesburg, South Africa.

The procession begins with Khoikhoi leaders and Van Riebeeck interpreters Autshumato (Herry die Strandloper) and Nommoä (Doman) and ends with the iconic leaders Nelson Mandela, Oliver and Adelaide Tambo and Walter and Albertina Sisulu at the front. Visitors walk along a timeline of South Africa’s struggle history, among chiefs and renegade missionaries, rebel leaders and revolutionaries, lawyers and journalists, singers and writers, Treason and RivoniaTrialists, Communists and leaders of the underground movement. International icons, who supported the liberation movements of southern Africa, are also honoured, including Olof Palme, Fidel Castro, Julius Nyerere and SamoraMachel.

All bronzes are life-size and life-like representations of individuals who have passed and are now being commemorated in the ‘Long March to Freedom’.

Many different artists have contributed to the line-up, with various styles of sculpting evident among all the figures. Contributing artists have to adhere to one criteria: all figures must be facing forward, all must be depicted in motion, thereby creating sculptures that are part of a bigger march, a procession that ultimately leads to freedom.

Extensive research goes into the making of each figure, informing the person’s stance, what they are wearing, what books/pamphlets/letters/speeches they may be holding in their hand, what personal memorabilia typified them (incl glasses, pipes, hats, bags, cloaks, necklaces). Particular attention is paid to the historical accuracy of clothing, thereby creating a secondary layer of history, the history of fashion through the ages.

The sculptures have been installed at eye-level allowing visitors to interact freely with them. Tour guides are on site to give tailor-made historical tours and further information on the making of the bronzes. They also contribute to the ongoing social media coverage of the site, and report visitors interacting with the sculptures in a fresh and unique way, including ritual ceremonies in front of chiefs and kings, simulation of battle cries with Zulu kings and warriors Shaka, Mzilikazi and Bhambatha, crooning duets with Miriam Makeba, and the singing of the national anthem by toddlers at the feet of Nelson Mandela.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *