9 October 2003
The Eastern Cape government has welcomed plans by the Makana Municipality to erect a R20-million monument in honour of Nxele Makana, a Xhosa warrior renowned for leading resistance against British invaders during the territorial wars in the Cape in the 19th century.
The Makana Municipality includes Grahamstown, famous for hosting the annual National Arts Festival, where the proposed statue will be erected.
Makana, one of Robben Island’s first political prisoners, is closely associated with Grahamstown due to his role in the Fifth Frontier War between the British garrisons and amaXhosa warriors in 1819.
Eastern Cape Local Government and Traditional Affairs MEC Gugile Nkwinti has urged the municipality and other stakeholders to fast-track the process. “We need to have the Makana Monument in Grahamstown just opposite the Settlers Monument,” he said.
“We need to recognise warriors such as Makana who died for their people,” Nkwinti said, adding that historical sites should become museums and sources of information on amaXhosa history.
It is also expected that the monument will consist of isiXhosa literature and related artefacts.
Makana Municipality’s mayor, Vumile Lweni, said his council needs R10-million to get the project off the ground. “The total estimated amount to erect the monument is in excess of R20-million,” Lweni said.
He said consultations with stakeholders concerning the monument were ongoing and that traditional leaders supported the proposals.