Robert Sobukwe's home town honours his legacy
"My grandfather was not a God, he was a person who believed in himself - that is why he was able to accomplish so much"
The family of PAC struggle icon Robert Sobukwe say they are thankful for a government project that will bring hope to the young people in his home town, Graaff-Reinet, and that government has finally started to honour his legacy.
"Government should have done more for our grandfather Robert Sobukwe. But then, we appreciate what they have done, even though it took them years to honour him. At least now there is something named after him in his home town,” said Nelisa Sobukwe, Robert Sobukwe's granddaughter.
She was speaking at a ceremony organised by the Department of Transport, Roads and Public Works where a piece of land was donated to the Robert Sobukwe Trust for a Memorial Museum and an educational centre.
This was coupled with the announcement of an outreach programme by the Eastern Cape government — an initiative that the young people in Graaff-Reinet welcomed enthusiastically.
The MEC of Transport, Roads and Public Works, Thandiswa Marawu yesterday announced more projects aimed at alleviating poverty in Graaff Reinet.
The mayor of the Camdeboo municipality Hanna Makhoba said she was confident that the programme will help the youth rise above unemployment and poverty.
"In 2010 we had 42% of people who depended on welfare and 50% depended on pension and government grants for survival. This outreach programme will assist the municipality in reducing unemployment which is a great concern,” she said.
So far, seven traffic officers were trained during the programme. Two car wash projects were identified and yesterday received more equipment and detergents.
The construction of the museum will also benefit the community with nine students from the National Youth Services who have been trained as carpenters, brick layers and electricians and others who are given a chance to work on the landscaping.
Sobukwe’’s grandson Tshepo thanked the Eastern Cape government for honouring his grandfather and also empowering the people from Graaff Reinet.
"My grandfather was not a God, he was a person who believed in himself - that is why he was able to accomplish so much. The youth of today can actually learn a lot from him.
"My grandmother Veronica Sobukwe, 85, has kept the legacy of my grandfather alive. She has also served and suffered for this country, it's just sad that she has not received the same recognition as my grandfather,” he said, to the applause of those who attended the event at Alex Laing Community Hall in Kroonvale, Graaff Reinet.
Sobukwe’’s wife Veronica said she was very grateful that the government still remembered her husband’’s work in South Africa.
“My husband was respected by all those who knew him because he also respected and listened to people, something that the youth of today should also learn to do. I am glad that there is also going to be an educational centre which will ensure that the youth of this town are also educated so that one day they can develop their small town,” she said.
The MEC for Transport, Roads and Public Works, Thandiswa Marawu said that her department decided to donate a piece of land to the Camdeboo municipality to the Sobukwe Trust for the museum and educational centre.
"By donating the land we want to give the people of this municipality hope and also to make sure that Sobukwe’’s achievements and legacy does not go down the drain.
"The youth should be able to go to the museum and see what kind of a person Sobukwe was and they should also be able to pursue their studies — something that Sobukwe strongly believed in ,” she said.