MK Activities at Ingwavuma During Apartheid Highlighted
uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) activities at Ingwavuma during the apartheid era were outlined by Senior Lecturer and Academic Leader (IPA Cluster), Dr Bheki Mngomezulu, at the recent Southern African Historical Society (SAHS) Conference in Stellenbosch.
Said Mngomezulu: ‘The history of the liberation struggle in South Africa has deep roots. However, some local histories have been wittingly or unwittingly left out of the grand narrative thus resulting in glaring gaps in the historiography. Ingwavuma, which shares borders with Swaziland and Mozambique, fits neatly in this context.
‘The area remains largely underdeveloped with no electricity, poor road infrastructure and no running water. In the public eye, the Jozini Local Municipality is to blame for this state of affairs but municipal officials shift the blame elsewhere. Some doubt the area’s historical significance. Indeed, politically, very little is known about Ingwavuma.’
Mngomezulu said the reality was that given its strategic geographical location on the borders of Swaziland and Mozambique, Ingwavuma was central in the liberation struggle in general and that of uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) in particular.
Drawing from empirical data collected through interviews conducted at Nkunwini in 2014 and 2015, Mngomezulu explained the important role played by Ingwavuma in the struggle.
He identified past and present legends who, he said, had not been accorded their respective place in South African liberation historiography, calling for their recognition.
Implicit in this presentation was a salient call to write history “from below” by giving a voice to those who were directly involved in the liberation struggle, suggesting former MK cadres become writers of their own histories. This, he believes, could be achieved by providing activists with a platform where they could recount their experiences and present their arguments about present concerns.
‘Through such efforts we could get a better sense of MK activities in rural areas which do not always find a place in South African political historiography.
‘If informants speak about their own history there’s a better chance the information could be preserved for future generations. South Africa as a nation has a responsibility to care for its former cadres some of whom now live in abject poverty as well as in oblivion or obscurity,’ added Mngomezulu.