Neelam Rahim | firstname.lastname@example.org
24 September 2023 | 18:17 CAT
The ground you walk on in Avalon Cemetery in Soweto is rooted in history. It is the final resting place of many who fought undaunted for the liberation of people living under the oppressive apartheid system. These men and women were justice warriors during the height of apartheid’s rule and divide, even in death. The historic Avalon cemetery opened in 1972, marking its 50th anniversary in 2022.
“This is the land where our ancestors rest. Ancestors who got us to a point where we are able to enjoy the liberty of today. Anyone who is buried on this land must earn their right to be buried on this land,” said JOBURG Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda.
Speaking during the unveiling of a prestigious blue plaque at Avalon Cemetery on Tuesday, 19 September, Gwamanda said the reason behind his proposal is that Avalon is a land that defines history.
The Avalon cemetery has been linked to many well-known people associated with South Africa’s culture and freedom struggle.
“Avalon cemetery is very iconic in a sense that important lie there. Namely Helen Joseph and Lillian Ngoyi, these two women, one black and one white lie in the same grave having fought the same struggle,” said senior manager of Cemeteries and Crematoria, Johannesburg City and Parks and Zoo, Reggie Moloi.
The blue plaques stand as badges of honour, recognition and sites of significance of remarkable individuals and places where history lies. These sites are protected under the City of Joburg, promoting cultural awareness and preserving historical landmarks.
Avalon is the second cemetery in Johannesburg to be awarded a blue heritage plaque. In 2017, a heritage plaque was unveiled at Juliwe cemetery in Roodeport.
Listen to the full I interview on the Daily Round-Up with Moulana Junaid Kharsany.