Source: KwaZulu Natal Provincial Government
Title: Ndebele: Nhlangwini Shembe Fountain launch
Address by KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sbu Ndebele during the launch of the Nhlangwini Shembe Fountain, KwaZulu-Natal
Last year as the government of KwaZulu-Natal we made a solemn promise to the people of Nhlangwini, Inkosi Melizwe Dlamini and the Shembe Church that we would be partners in the restoration of an important part of our culture and heritage.
We undertook to give the Fountain of Nhlangwini its rightful place in the symbols of our province which add value to all our lives.
This particular undertaking forms part of provincial government's plans to accord our people and their history their rightful recognition.
In so doing we are emphasising our belief that KwaZulu-Natal is the bedrock of our history and culture as a people in South Africa. To assume any value to outsiders, a culture and heritage must first be recognised by the very people who are its developers and agents.
This is what we are doing today, taking pride in ourselves and our own stories. In this way we will become the tour guides to our own places of importance, witnesses to our own history and experts on the puzzle that forms the patterns of our collective past.
For this place to assume its rightful place in the history of our country we realise it will not take just the government to realise that dream, but that the successful implementation of that plan depends on the collaboration of all those involved. In that way this Fountain will be owned by all the people of our province.
Many countries have heritage routes. These routes serve as a living history of the country, province and its peoples. In the 21st century we believe it is not enough merely to identify spots which served as the theatres of history such as Isandalwana, the mountain which witnessed the first ever defeat of the famed British Army on African soil.
The reality is that even after hundreds of years a mountain is a mountain, is a mountain! The challenge of this new millennium therefore is to examine ways and means through which these historic sites can be brought to life. This will ensure that 100 years from now, visitors to the sites are also able to truly experience those events as close as possible to the way in which the people who made that history experienced them.
We are fortunate that developments in science and technology have enabled us to do exactly that. It is comforting to know that we are not talking about reinventing the wheel here because those in front of us have already opened the way.
On a recent visit led by His Majesty King Zwelithini to Belgium this year we saw how the Battle of Waterloo has been enacted to such realistic effect that as tourists we felt we had also been there. The Battle of Waterloo which saw the defeat of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte started in June 1815. Through a combination of science and technology we are today able to see this historic event as if it took place in 2007.
As part of provincial government's grand plan for the economic growth we are looking at how we can use science and technology in various areas. In particular we are looking at science and technology to aid us in telling the true story of the Zulu people and the people of KwaZulu-Natal.
Collaboration between the Office of the Premier, Department of Transport, Agriculture, and the Department of Arts and Culture has ensured the progress we have made so far on this project. We have done the sod-turning and the Fountain has now been fenced. There is still a lot more work to be done.
We are here to reconfirm our commitment to the grand project of unearthing our heritage and history. We are also here to restate our readiness to do everything in our power to bring to bear our partnership with the Shembe Church and the people of Nhlangwini.
We believe that only through partnership can we fully develop this province. Only through partnerships will we see the improvement in the quality of life for our people. Only through partnership will we make this province truly a non-sexist, non-racial and united KwaZulu-Natal.
Masisukume Sakhe iKwaZulu-Natal!
Issued by: Office of the Premier, KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government
22 April 2007