Tsate heritage festival fever

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

Preparations for the annual Tsate Heritage Festival, to be held in the Greater Sekhukhune district municipality (GSDM), are well on track.

The festival, scheduled for Saturday in Ntswaneng village, is one of the most revered heritage celebrations in Sekhukhune since it also honours King Sekhukhune I's heroic resistance against colonialism.

This year's event marks 130 years of King Sekhukhune I's Wars of Resistance. It will be celebrated under the theme "130 years - Sekhukhune Kingdom Comes to Life".

The fact that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) declared Tsate a heritage site two years ago has elevated the status of the event.

The festival will take place at the hill where King Sekhukhune I gallantly confronted British and Boer colonialists in the 1800s.

The municipality has allocated R1,5million for the development of the site into a tourist attraction. At present the king's bronze statue stands there.

Eexecutive mayor Namane Masemola said the festival would also seek to encourage Sekhukhune people to till the land as part of the "back to the fields campaign" in view of the skyrocketing food prices.

He said the campaign would also highlight that September was, according to the African calendar, the beginning of the New Year.

"Besides, the municipality has joined forces with various institutions to revive and preserve other events that are of historical importance," Masemola said.

In May the municipality partnered with the Freedom Park Trust to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Sekhukhune Revolts. The revolts were precursors of all rural uprisings against discriminatory laws.

It also partnered with the Anglican Church in August to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of Saint Manche Masemola - a martyr who died at the hands of her parents for converting to Christianity.