What better way to celebrate South Africa’s Heritage Month than by visiting famous cultural sites? In KwaZulu-Natal, for example, you will find the historic Ohlange Institute.
Durban may well be famous for its warm beaches, beautiful hotels and tourist attractions but it also has a rich cultural heritage.
Ohlange Institute, for example, is significant due to its links with the life and work of the late Dr John Langalibalele Dube.
Dube’s connection to Ohlange
Dube was a founder member and first president of the South African Native National Congress (SANNC), which became the African National Congress (ANC) in 1923.
Dube and his wife, Nokutela Dube, founded Ohlange, the first school built by Africans for Africans, in 1900. AmaQadi Chief Mqhawe donated the land.
On 27 April 1994, South Africa’s late President Nelson Mandela cast his vote at the Ohlange Institute. It is said that after he cast his vote in the school’s chapel, Mandela visited Dube’s grave.
“Mr President, I have come to report to you that South Africa is free today,” Mandela reportedly said.
Rich history of Inanda
Site curator Mandla Nxumalo describes Ohlange and the rest of Inanda as very rich in history, saying the region has produced great leaders.
“Inanda is the cradle of democracy and the valley route because this is where heroes and heroines were born,” said Nxumalo.
“This is where the leaders of the struggle movement such as Pixley Seme and many others would meet to form the-then African Native Congress founded in 1912.”
On the site, you can visit the Dube Monument and House, Old School Hall, Ohlange High School and other attractions that have a rich political history.
Other Dube facts
- Dr John Langalibalele Dube founded the newspaper Ilanga lase Natali which is still published today as Ilanga Newspaper.
- Mafukuzela, as Dube was affectionately known, was laid to rest with his wife and children. His grandchildren also have a plot of land reserved for their graves.
- Dr Dube and Pixley Ka Isaka Seme were cousins involved in forming the-then South African Native National Congress (SANNC) in Bloemfontein on 8 January 1912.
- The school has produced some of South Africa’s great leaders such as former Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, former IFP Leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, human rights lawyer and theologian Barney Pityana and football legend Sugar Ray Xulu, among others.
- The Department of Arts and Culture declared the institute a National Heritage Site on 20 September 2019.
Tourist attractions near Ohlange
Inanda may have more history per square centimetre than anywhere else in South Africa. The dam is in the eThekwini Outer West Municipality in the Valley of 1000 Hills.
Inanda Dam and Resort are in an area known as Kwangcolosi, just 24km from Hillcrest and 42km from Durban.
Mzinyathi Falls, which translates in English to “Home of the Buffalo” is a scenic viewsite which is ideal for canoeing and hiking. The natural sound of the falling water has a soothing and calming effect.
The waterfall is considered sacred and used for religious rituals such as baptisms for the Nazareth Baptist Church. A Rastafarian community which lives in a cliffside cave below the view site also uses the falls and surrounding area.
Ebuhleni Shembe Village
The Nazareth Baptist Church members consider Ebuhleni to be sacred land. Shembe is the largest African church in Kwa-Zulu-Natal with more than two million members. Prophet Isaiah Shembe founded the church in the early years of the 20th century.
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