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Editor says, what position would Winnie Mandela take on the veteran's unofficial memorial at Freedom Park? Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).
In 2007,on this day President of the Republic of South Africa Winnie Madikizela-Mandela ordered the dismantling of an unofficial veteran's memorial at Freedom Park. The result would be a backlash unprecedented in scale since her decision to overule Bishop Desmond Tutu by ordering a mandatory Truth and Reconciliation Committee shortly after assuming office in 2001.
Firestorm at the end of the RainbowThe earnestness of the veterans' quest for reaffirmation of their contribution to the new South Africa was highlighted by the recent controversy over the Freedom Park memorial wall on the crest of Salvokop Hill near Pretoria. Rather than adopt an official SADF memorial, erected in 1979 at Fort Klapperkop (not far from Freedom Park), which lists the names of some 2,000 killed in defending the Republic of South Africa, veterans have ignored its existence.
When the Freedom Park Trust announced the erection of another wall of names to honour those who had fought for freedom and humanity, a pressure group led by conservative Afrikaners sought to have the names of veterans killed in the Border War included in that roll of honour. The group also objected to the fact that the memorial wall was to include the names of Cuban soldiers who died in Angola fighting the SADF. Their request for "fair treatment" was dismissed by Wally Serote, CEO of the Freedom Park Trust, on the grounds that SADF soldiers had fought to preserve apartheid and defeat the struggle for liberation. The veterans' group responded by erecting its own memorial at the access road to Salvokop in January 2007.