South Africa unveils monument to honour freedom fighters

South Africa has unveiled 96 life-sized bronze sculptures at the National Heritage Monument in Pretoria to honour hundreds of activist involved in the fight for freedom and independence.

The Long March to Freedom is a story of history and courage, dating back to the 17th century.

South Africa’s four-century battle against colonialism and oppression brought forth many heroes.

A field of marching bronze statues pays tribute to these brave souls who relentlessly fought to defend their country and people.

“This is the long march to freedom. It is the cornerstone of a bigger development which is called the National Heritage Monument,” said Sarah Haines, the Director for National Heritage Project said.  “It is a linear procession. It’s chronological procession. It starts in the 1600s and ends in 1994 with Nelson Mandela as you can see behind me which is regarded as the dawn of South Africa’s new democracy.”

The field is peppered with kings and queens of old, powerful chiefs, international stalwarts and the more recognisable faces who eventually led South Africa from the clutches of apartheid.

Each figure is masterfully crafted in a walking motion, by South African artists

“We started with well-known artists and asked that they come on board and do some of the work but also to help us. The idea with the development of this project was always that we would be mentoring and assisting young artists.” Haines said.

“The first time when I came here, I fell in love. But it was feelings of happy and sad, and angry at the same time, ” said tour guide Moroesi Tsatsi. “When I went at the back. When I saw the kings, it was a feeling of greatness. I saw the kings of Shaka Zulu. I’m one of the descendants of the Zulus, then I was like I want to know more about it.”

There are just 96 heroes represented at the moment. At least 300 more will be added.