GDF seeks to collect Gugs’ history

Senior citizens and members of Gugulethu Development Forum in cheerful mood at lunch the organisation held for them.

In an effort to collect and document Gugulethu’s untold stories, the Gugulethu Development Forum (GDF)held a luncheon for senior citizens at JL Zwane Centre, on Friday March 9.

The seniors’ stories will be shared with youth and used for an exhibition about the neighbourhood, as part of Gugulethu’s 60th anniversary celebrations.

The forum said it was important to give ordinary people a chance to talk about their community and their upbringing in the area, rather than relying on information sourced elsewhere.

The forum said the move also showed that the seniors were still loved and appreciated for the role they played in the development of the area and for their involvement in the fight against apartheid.

Forum secretary Vincent Domingo said that, among other things, they also wanted to learn who had been the first people to move into Gugulethu and where they had come from; which had been the first schools in the area and who their principals had been; and the history and meaning behind place names in the area. They wanted to record the information for future generations of people living both within the community and outside it.

He said the area had produced many great leaders, and it was hoped that some of them would also share their own unique stories.

Mr Domingo said the forum wanted to hold monthly events, each with a different theme, as part of the celebrations.

“It is important that the stories of the area are told. We are celebrating the existence of this area. We want these people who started the area to take us through the journey of Gugulethu and how it was started. We are hoping to have space during the month of September to showcase all the stories that we will capture and show to everyone,” he said. The forum held a prayer service recently against all the social ills and challenges facing the area. Resident Jane Mzongwana, who was among those who moved from Kensington to Gugulethu in the early 1950s, applauded the initiative and said she had her own stories to share.

Lumkile Mzukwa, coordinator of Gugulethu’s 60th anniversary celebration programme, said the forum would visit many of Gugulethu’s unsung heroes to record their stories. The anniversary, he said, was an ideal opportunity to learn more about the community’s history. But as much the occasion was cause for celebration, Gugulethu still faced countless challenges, including poor infrastructure, a housing backlog and a high crime rate.