News: Building the Legacy: 20 YEARS OF FREEDOM Exhibition

Traffic came to a standstill in Mangaung Metro on Monday 17 March 2014 when a fleet of heavy-duty trucks with its 24 shipping containers arrived in Mangaung. The trucks are hauling tons of equipment for the ‘Building the Legacy: 20 Years of Freedom’ interactive exhibition that will take place at the Free State Stadium from 21 – 30 March, 2014.

The trucks are carrying exhibition props, giant screens and AV equipment and did a drive past through the City Centre, Mangaung and then ended at the Legislature at around 11am (detailed route below).

The biggest exhibition of its kind ever undertaken in the country, it is unique in that it offers the general public an interactive view of South African history as well as the progress made since 1994.

In addition to the 24 shipping containers of artefacts, expo material and props that make up the exhibition, the public will be informed and educated by a team of professional actors and performers who bring the past alive – with anecdotes of forced removals, injustice and despair – while also highlighting the progress made in recent years and providing hope for our future of our land.

According to the Director-General for the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform Mr Mduduzi Shabane, the exhibition is aimed at creating awareness especially among the Youth, about the journey travelled thus far and the progress made by the government of the day towards reversing the negative legacy of the 1913 Natives’ Land Act and related racially motivated laws.

A journey of injustice, despair leading to freedom and hope

When the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) originally embarked on a project for the Centenary event for the Reversing the Legacy of the 1913 Natives’ Land Act, the plan was to have an exhibition that was unique as well as innovative and would be presented in a manner that was memorable and impressive.

The outcome was 13 sets of epic proportions with over 50 actors and performers bringing history to life.  Every person who experiences the exhibition is drawn into the fantasy-world of history as the actors and performers bring the set to life through their performance, costumes and the music.

It starts with the Khoisan, then a traditional kraal, followed by the wars (spear-on-spear and thereafter spear-on-guns), the colonialists and the huge stone walls depicting the 1913 Natives Land Act, the policemen and the magistrate that assess the dompas.  The might of legislation in SA is illustrated by these massive monoliths of stone.

Passing through this one is grated by 1950’s placard wielding youth protesting, and further behind them the final party takes place in the remaining tavern in Sophiatown, with a jovial mood that belies the impending forced removals.

Just opposite Marabastad and Sophiatown lies the ruins of District 6, the broken bricks bearing testimony to the destruction.  And in the last scene within this era is a family being evicted, with all their meagre possessions packed onto the infamous Bedford truck, the pain and sorrow etched into the faces.  The defiance campaign is captured and leads one onto the resistance with a Casspir, a police van and struggle posters.

A transition curtain allows one to move into democratic South Africa, greeted by the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, depicted on cinema-size large screens with a portrait of the first democratically elected leader of South Africa taking the oath of office.

The mealie fields, marked by claims the department of Rural Development and Land Reform has settled, illustrates a department moving in the right direction in delivering more than land and  giving people their dignity back.

Every person is greeted by a unique rainbow coloured tree which has been dubbed the Freedom Tree, a place where the oral stories of South Africa are shared,.

Truck Drive-by Details:

Date: 17 March 2014.

The procession was lead and assisted by a fleet of vehicles from the Metro Police Department.

 Issued by:

MMM Communications on behalf of the

Department of Rural Development and Land Reform