“The vision of Chief Albert Luthuli was of a united nation where we celebrate our identity irrespective of gender, race or sexual orientation.” These were the words of Basic Education Deputy Minister, Mr Enver Surty, during the finals of the iNkosi Albert Luthuli Oral History Competition that was held at Freedom Park in Pretoria on 29 September 2018. Organised by the DBE in collaboration with the iNkosi Albert Luthuli Foundation, Freedom Park and the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the 13th edition of the Competition celebrated the centenaries of South Africa’s struggle heroes, former President Nelson Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu.
Provincial elimination rounds, during which learners from Grade 8 to 11 submitted research papers and made oral presentations of their work, were held throughout the year, and resulted in 135 semi-finalists vying for the six top spots. After two days of deliberations, the adjudicators announced the following learners as the winners for 2018: Anoxolo Khonkhwana from the Western Cape Province won the Young Historian award; Zinzi Bonga from the Eastern Cape Province won the Best Poet award and Emile Hedricks from the Northern Cape Province won the Best Letter Writing award. The Best Storyteller award went to a learner from the KwaZulu-Natal Province for a submission titled, “In beauty of a good person’s head”, a story based on true events. The winner in the Educator Category was Ms Leonie Vitti from the Northern Cape Province.
Freedom Park’s CEO, Ms Jane Mofamadi, commended parents and teachers for supporting learners in their journey on expanding their knowledge on heritage and culture. “It is important that we acknowledge figures that played a significant role in the struggle against Apartheid,” said Mr Tsematse Tsematse from the Luthuli Museum whilst delivering a message of support on behalf of the museum’s council.
In his closing remarks Mr Surty expressed his pride at the learners for having not merely participated in this programme for the purpose of winning, but for also being “a genuine inspiration” to their communities and schools. “We should not only celebrate our struggle heroes, but also strive to understand the values and attitudes of these giants,” concluded Mr Surty.