Century City is to become the new home of The Long March to Freedom statues. The 100 life-sized bronze likenesses of South Africa’s most prominent figures in history, will be moving from the Maropeng Visitor Centre in the Cradle of Humankind in Gauteng to Century City in Cape Town, with its official opening on 15 November 2019.
The Long March to Freedom exhibition, which currently consists of 100 figures that will grow into a procession of more than 400 bronze statues over time, is known as the world’s largest representational collection of bronzes. The heroes of the liberation struggle are being honoured – individuals who struggled against oppression in South Africa from the early 1700s to Freedom Day in April 1994.
From the rebel chiefs and revered kings to the more well-known activists of the 1980s and 1990s, each figure is poised in walking motion, symbolically fighting for the liberation of South Africa while marching forward to the inevitable advent of democracy.
“It is a great honour to call Century City the new home of The Long March to Freedom statues”, says Chris Blackshaw, CEO of Century City Property Owners’ Association. “We are able to give this exhibition exceptional prominence along the N1, opposite entrance 4 of Canal Walk. Together with our existing natural heritage site, Intaka Island, we are very excited to contribute so richly to the education of our children in the Western Cape.”
The collection starts out with the leader of the Goringhaikonas – also known as Herry die Strandloper – Autshumato (1625 – 1663), who was the first political prisoner sent to Robben Island for defying a European power before it moves its way through rebel chiefs and revered kings to the more well-known activists.
The idea came when television personality Dali Tambo, visited the grave of his late father, anti-apartheid politician Oliver Tambo, and told him, “There isn’t a statue of you in this country and I’m planning to do one.” From the grave his father spoke to him and said, “Don’t do it for me, do it for all of them.”
When you stand face to face with the likes of Nelson Mandela, Joe Slovo, Helen Joseph, Annie Silinga, Ida Fiye Mntwana, King Moshoeshoe I and many more, Tambo’s words ring loudly in your ear, “We want these freedom fighters to be remembered as real people, not just faces in history books. Our dead are never dead to us until we have forgotten them. Let’s keep them alive by remembering them.”
And that’s exactly what the Long March to Freedom did and is continuing to do. It gives life to those who fought heart and soul and often with their own lives for the freedom of South Africa. Every statue has a unique presence and representation of the individual, with details meticulously sculpted and engraved into South Africa’s past, present and future.
“Our core vision of creating more than just bricks and mortar is underpinned by the importance of adding beautiful green spaces and art to our developments” says John Chapman, Director at Rabie Property Group and Chairman of the Century City Arts Foundation. “Receiving this exceptional collection of art, which is so multi-faceted – from cultural, historical and national points of view – is a great moment for us. We believe that Century City is the ideal home for the collection and we’re enthusiastic about our long-term relationship as the procession grows.”
Tickets for the exhibition will be available from Computicket.