The quaint town of Cradock in the Eastern Cape Province can proudly count itself amongst the hidden gems that boast a prestigious tourism offering that is intrinsically linked to South Africa’s liberation-heritage following the launch of the Cradock 4 Garden of Remembrance memorial.
Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom joined the country in celebrating Human Rights Day by unveiling a fully-fledged Cradock 4 Garden of Remembrance, built in honour of the town’s anti-apartheid heroes Matthew Goniwe, Sicelo Mhlawuli, Sparrow Mkhonto, and Fort Calata who died on 27 June 1985 in the fight for a democratic South Africa.
The newly unveiled facilities include a visitor centre, amphitheatre, as well as a research and exhibition area that will facilitate the hosting of educational tours and events in the heartland of the Karoo.
Speaking at the launch event, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom highlighted the significance of Human Rights Day, and the contribution of tourism infrastructure programmes in honouring and preserving the legacies of the founders of our democracy, and in remodelling our heritage outlook.
“Today, we stand united in our diversity celebrating the success of our struggle for liberation that set the trajectory for all South Africans to enjoy their basic human rights.”
“This Human Rights Day, we honour the Cradock Four along with the countless number of people who dedicated their lives to the attainment of the freedom we enjoy today.”
“Infrastructure projects such as the Cradock 4 Garden of Remembrance are critical in not only honouring those who fought gallantly for our liberation, but in also preserving the unique heritage of our rainbow nation for future generations.”
“I am confident that this beautiful monument and the towering pillars that exquisitely commemorate the biographies of the Cradock Four heroes will enthral visitors, and remain an iconic symbol of our liberation for years to come,” said Minister Hanekom.
The Cradock 4 Garden of Remembrance is one of a number of initiatives built by the Department’s Working for Tourism Programme in collaboration with the provincial spheres of government to promote the inclusive development of tourism products that celebrate our country’s heritage in rural nodes.
Eastern Cape MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Oscar Mabuyane, lauded the benefits of intergovernmental collaboration and its ability to transform communities, and stimulate economic activity.
“The Eastern Cape Province is a birthplace for a number of our country’s liberation heroes, most notably former President Nelson Mandela, Mama Albertina Sisulu and the Cradock Four.”
“As a province we have made strides in ensuring that we immortalise the legacies of these stalwarts through tourism campaigns, the development of liberation routes, and infrastructure development opportunities.”
“We welcome the launch of the Cradock 4 Garden of Remembrance. This monument will contribute immensely to the tourism appeal of the Karoo, and generate life-changing economic opportunities for our communities,” said MEC Mabuyane.
Although the launch of the Cradock 4 Garden of Remembrance marked a joyous occasion for the community of Cradock, the memorial service and the displayed images of the tragic events of 27 June 1985 were a sad reminder of the personal loss suffered by the family of the four stalwarts.
Speaking to media at the event, Nyameka Goniwe, who is the wife of the late Matthew Goniwe, stated that she was delighted that the dream of the formal commemoration of the Cradock Four had been realised, but the day also brought back memories of the pain and loss they endured in 1985.
“Today marks a momentous occasion for our families. We are happy that the heroes we fondly knew as spouses and the fathers of our children have been formally recognised, and yet we are overcome with sadness as the monument is a reminder of the brutality we all endured in 1985.”
“This monument is aptly built on a hill and can be seen from the far ends of the town of Cradock. We hope that this monument and the history of the Cradock Four will inspire hope for a better future for our community, and the rest of the country,” said Goniwe.
As the country prepares to commemorate 25 years of freedom, Tourism is part of an inter-ministerial process that looking into the establishment of liberation heritage routes in every province that will facilitate the celebrations of our history.