Never forget our history

FEBRUARY saw us going into a frenzy as we celebrated the 20th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's release from prison.

Something else happened 20 years ago and its anniversary is about to come and go unnoticed. On March 6 1990 Katlehong witnessed the killing of six people in what was one of the deadliest political wars in our country. In describing it, Sowetan could only come up with one word - SIES!

The president of the South African Black Taxi Association at the time, James Ngcoya, did his bit to stop the violence, but the seed was planted and it germinated in a big way. For three and a half years Katlehong and neighbouring Thokoza were war zones. Children of 14 and younger became members of self-defence units.

The damage to lives and property were such that rebuilding them fell directly into the hands of the first president of a democratic South Africa. The Katlehong and Thokoza renewal was one of the first presidential projects.

Today a memorial reminds the people of Thokoza of what happened in those dark days. Our children and their children can learn about their history at the Sam Ntuli Memorial.

On the other hand, Katlehong seems to have forgotten completely about it. Nothing there reminds us of those dark days. Instead, taverns are the landmarks of the area.

Our children are enjoying the fruit of our liberation but for how long? A nation that forgets its history is likely to repeat its mistakes. Heaven forbid that it happens again to Katlehong!

Banele Poti Kunene, Katlehong