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Change the world


Well-Known South African freedom fighter, activist, actor, storyteller, playwright, director and author Dr Gcina Mhlope, will be delivering a public lecture titled Bones of Memory: In pursuit of Cultural Heritage at the Nelson Mandela University in Heritage Month, in the centenary year of Nelson Mandela.

The lecture is in celebration of the rich tapestry of heritage and its questions that play out in society. The deep interrogation of both the tangible and intangible pieces of culture make for interesting dialogue and debate within groups and individuals. This constant inquiry across generations and spaces of critique allow for other heritages to be created and (re)imagined. Mhlope tackles the intersection between culture and heritage through the stories of lived experiences.

Dr Mhlophe, who was awarded a Doctor of Literature (honoris causa) in April 2018 from Nelson Mandela University, does her most important work through charismatic performances, working to preserve storytelling as a means of keeping history alive and encouraging South African children to read. She tells her stories in four of South Africa’s languages: English, Afrikaans, isiZulu and isiXhosa.

Dr Mhlophe’s lecture will be preceded by the Nelson Mandela University Heritage and Liberation Book Launch and Exhibition at 6pm on Wednesday, 19 September, at the Athenaeum in Port Elizabeth. The launch and exhibition is a collaboration between the Arts Faculty and the National Lotteries Commission.

A group of fellow travellers and narrators from arts and humanities at Nelson Mandela University, harnessed this global icon’s name and values as they traversed the length and breadth of the Eastern Cape to uncover its rich histories, stories of resilience, retained cultural practices, cherished sayings and remembered songs into three travel guides. The guides titled, The Frontier Country and Amatole Mountain Escape, The Karroo Heartland, Baviaans and Tsitsikama, and The Wild Coast and The Friendly N2, showcase the rich diversity of tangible and intangible cultural heritage in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Given that we are living in a post-apartheid country, these three volumes necessarily speak to the overarching theme of liberation.

Mandela University academics Prof Rose Boswell, Ryan Pillay, Ongama Mtimka, Jessica Thornton and their research team, share the insider view of the heritage of this province. Of key interest to them was how people in the Eastern Cape experience the province’s heritages; that is, its colonial, natural, and cultural heritages to be found in almost every town in the province. Exquisite, touching, emotional, inspirational, informative, tear-jerking, and amusing, are just some of the descriptors that best capture what a journey through the cities and small towns in this province can be.

You are invited to join Nelson Mandela University for both events.

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777