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Dali Tambo admiring a sculpture of struggle hero Sefako Makgatho by TUT lecturer,
Malose Pete (standing next to Tambo).
Fourteen Fine and Applied Art students of the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) are part of one of the biggest projects of its kind to commemorate South Africa’s struggle heroes. The project, which is the brainchild of Dali Tambo, son of the late struggle stalwart, Oliver Tambo, will culminate in 400 life-sized bronze sculptures (one of which will be sculpted by a TUT student) of men and women who contributed to the liberation of the country. 

The sculpture that will be selected eventually will join 56 other sculptures that already stand tall at the Fountains Valley Nature Reserve in the capital where a cultural theme park is busy taking shape.

Speaking at a symbolic signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the TUT Arts Campus to formalise the collaboration with TUT, Tambo, CEO of the National Heritage Project Company (NHPC), said the theme park will be a mixture of nature, history and recreation. “There is no point in making heritage that stands unvisited,” he stressed.
He added that he is not in favour of the destruction of statues of historical figures the country has witnessed lately, but that he encourages a varied historical landscape in this regard. “I hope this project will unite, transform and educate people.”

As part of a National Heritage Monument Mentorship Programme, the fourteen TUT Arts students have already researched and made maquettes (small preliminary models of sculptures) of six struggle heroes, proposed by the NHPC. One of these will be selected by the end of May, sculpted, cast and ultimately join its cadres in the theme park by the end of the year.

“The historical knowledge, experience, skills sets and sense of accomplishment that students stand to gain is of primary importance. They will take up their position in the history of our young democracy,” said Runette Kruger, Head of TUT’s Department of Fine and Applied Arts. Carol Kuhn, Lecturer at the Department, facilitates the project on behalf of staff, leaders in the field of the bronze casting industry and third-year students, to provide real world learning.

“This project is part of an even larger vision than that of the birth of a democracy on a continent that continues to carry the burden of colonial expansionism, and even beyond the scope of a 400-strong crowd of individual heroes who could otherwise easily slip into the oblivion. It carries with it the promise of an ongoing engagement with what it means to be human,” Kruger added.

In giving an overview of the University, in particularly the TUT Faculty of the Arts, Dr Nalini Moodley, Associate Dean, said “an essential aspect of transformation is the imperative for Africanisation of the curriculum.”

“The term Africanisation is loaded and has at times been interpreted to signify the dismissal of global trends in favour of African paradigms,” she added. However, she stressed that for Africa to take its rightful place in the global development of intellectual achievement across the sciences and humanities, two things are essential: “Firstly, a conscious striving to undo the legacy of regarding what is African as inferior. Secondly, such a reappraisal of African paradigms, by and for Africans, she added, needs to be embedded in an awareness of global developments.

“Our students, in engaging with and contributing to this historical cultural project, will be empowered to learn about and, in turn, contribute to their discipline, to their respective communities, and ultimately to their broader society, nationally and internationally.”

  • The National Heritage Monument Project (NHMP) is being developed by the National Heritage Project Company (NHPC) – a non-profit company under the custodianship of the National Department of Arts and Culture, who is the main funder of the project. Additional funders include the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Tourism, and the Lottery Commission.

Photographed at a symbolic signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
between TUT and the National Heritage Project Company (NHPC) are Beverley
Penny (NHPC), Runette Kruger (TUT), Sarah Haines (NHPC), Carol Kuhn (TUT),
Dali Tambo (NHPC) and Dr Nalini Moodley (TUT).

For more information on the Tshwane University of Technology please contact Willa de Ruyter on tel: 012 382 5352 or send an email to