Mdantsane, stand up - Bid to uplift one of SA'S oldest kasis

16 April 2016 - 15:45
By Zisanda Nkonkobe

The history of Mdantsane, the second biggest township in the country, is being told through a newly established Facebook page called Phakama Mdantsane Kasi Lam.

Started by Mdantsane activist Thabang Maseko last month, the aim of the page is to educate people on the history of the township, celebrate struggle stalwarts who hail from the area, promote sporting stars and discuss current and future development projects.

Maseko said he realised very few people know the history of the Eastern Cape township.

"There are a lot of great people coming from this area, people who had a hand in making Mdantsane what it is today.

Others are famous leaders now like our defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula or famous sports stars like Vuyani Bhungu while others have passed on and need to be commemorated."

According to Maseko, Mdantsane was established in 1958 on a farm called Umdanzana.

It had 300 residents occupying houses built on the neighbourhood concept of a garden city with a central CBD, with neighbourhoods clustered around it, constructed by the National Party government.

Each neighbourhood, later called native units, had areas for housing, shops, churches and educational facilities.

From 1964 to 1970, thousands of families were moved to the area which was later declared part of the Ciskei.

Despite the area's rich history, Maseko said development had all but stopped, which was the second phase of his project.

"We have some beautiful places here, like the Buffalo River, which has a unique view. A resort could be built there. We also need another mall, Mdantsane City can't be the only one. Look at our swimming pool, which is Olympic-sized. We need to get this revamped so our children stand a chance of becoming Olympic swimmers one day," he said.

The township, Maseko added, is turning 53 this year .

"With the project I hope not only to tell the story of this great township but to build the general morale which will hopefully stop this migration of people to other areas.

"I want all of us to be proud of our kasi and to say Mdantsane, stand up!"