LION OF MIDLANDS REMEMBERED
By: Menelisi Ndwandwe
The EThekwini Municipality held the lecture of Pietermaritzburg-born struggle hero, Harry Gwala at Moses Mabhida on Wednesday evening.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Gwala’s death.
Thembinkosi Ngcobo, head of parks, recreation and culture in the municipality opposed the claims that say Gwala wasn’t a Durbanite.
“I have read in some publication that Comrade Gwala wasn’t from Durban and the city can’t remember him. In fact most underground deals he was involved in were happening between Durban and Pietermaritzburg,” said Gwala.
He added that memory is key; if the individual lacks memory that individual lacks an important element.
Acting Mayor of EThekwini, Logie Naidoo, remembered Gwala as a brave leader.
“I met him once when the ANC had lost the province in the first democratic election in 1994. Gwala stood up and challenged President Mandela’s order that said ANC mustn’t challenge the results. He challenged him in principle, no one had that courage but he did it,” said Naidoo.
According to Baba Mhlongo who spoke on behalf of the family, Gwala was full of jokes; he always created a jovial mood in the family.
“He taught us to welcome everyone who was coming to our home in KwaSwayimane because he valued his people,” said Mhlongo.
He added that two decades later they still feel the space left by the communist in the family.
ANC veteran, George Mashamba, who was on Robben Island with Gwala described him as a teacher, mentor, role model and a principled leader.
He further said that there are few books that really give a clear picture of who Gwala was.
“I want to say I have read the literature on Gwala, only I can say is that writers that don’t struck the balance,” said Mashamba.
Ngcobo announced that on the 17th of October 2015, the Office of the Premier under heritage division they will unveil the statue of Harry Gwala in the place that will be announced in due course.