24 August 2012

Ukuza Kukanxele – The Return of Makhanda Public lecture

by: Zongezile Matshoba

Among the AmaXhosa , “Ukuza KukaNxele” refers to something that will never happen. Legend has it that Nxele one of the great heroes of the wars of dispossession promised that he would return after his arrest following the battle of Grahamstown in 1819. However this was never to be as he drowned off the coast of Robben Island in 1820 while trying to escape.

The Albany Museum will honour this great hero also known as Makhanda through a Public Lecture scheduled to take place on 25 August 2012 in Tshabho Village where his descendants still reside under the leadership of Nkosi Zwelivuziwe Makinana. Nkosi Makinana is the direct descendant of Nkosi Ndlambe whom Nxele or Makhanda was his counselor.

Many other political prisoners later were to follow Nxele, and were incarcerated on the island too. They came out to lead the democratic South Africa in all three spheres of government. These include many current and past ministers, as well as former State President Nelson Mandela and the current State President Jacob Zuma.

The Makana Municipality in Grahamstown is named after him, so is the Mkana Street where the famous singer Brenda Fassie resided in Langa , Cape Town. . In Robben Island, political prisoners used to play soccer under the banner of Makana Football Association. There is also the Makana Ferry at the Nelson Mandela Gateway that ferried ex-political prisoners as well as a Navy Frigate. This indeed shows that Makhanda’s contribution to the struggle has been of note.
Ukuza kukaNxele Public Lecture is part of the broader provincial and national government initiative to transform museums, and is also a contribution to the Liberation Heritage Route Initiative. The project is funded by the National Heritage Council, a statutory body responsible for heritage conservation at national level.

 The Public Lecture on Makhanda will be delivered by Professor Julia Wells, who is a Councillor of the Makana Municipality, a History Professor at Rhodes University , a Board Member of the Albany Museum  and an author of the recently launched  book, The Return of Makhanda: Exploring the Legend.

The Ukuza kukaNxele (The Return of Makhanda) Public Lecture will be held at Tshabo 2 Community Hall, near Berlin, on 25 August 2012. It will serve to mark 192 years of Nxele’s death and also as a celebration of the bravery displayed by heroes of the wars of dispossession.

.The lecture will be a public event  aimed at educating the public about the value of the past in nation building and reconciliation.

The Buffalo City Rifles  will also pay  respect to Makhanda by doing a military display together with the SA Police band.  Several other important guests including  the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders and politicians from the provincial and local municipalities have been  invited.   

The Public Lecture will be followed by an exhibition on Makhanda which is planned for next year at Albany Museum in Grahamstown.

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