The importance of knowing the past to understand the present and plan for the future was emphasised in Langa last week.
Cape Town’s oldest black township is marking its centenary this year, and last Thursday and Friday, staff from the provincial Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport’s Archives and Records Service spoke to school pupils and residents about the important role of the archives in preserving history.
The archive service had been invited to take part in a two-day exhibition of the township’s history by Langa Centenary, which according to its chairman, Alfred Magwaca, is helping to coordinate a series of events and projects to promote the rich history of the community.
The exhibition was held at the Guga S’thebe Arts and Culture Centre.
Mr Magwaca said the aim of the two-day programme was to take the archives to the community.
“These are people that have everything, even the establishment of Langa. We therefore want people to be informed about their township. There is a lot that is with the archives,” he said, adding that Langa had special historical, cultural, and socio-political significance as Cape Town’s oldest black township.
“We have invited the schools to be part of this so that our children can learn,” he said.
Mr Magwaca challenged pupils to dream big, study hard and lead a healthy and productive life so they could uplift their communities and find solutions to the problems confronting the nation.
“I sometimes take visitors for tours in Langa and most times, it gives me hard times because of the language barrier. So you must make it a habit to learn other languages. As old as I am, I have to learn Chinese. I realised the importance of education,” he said.
Senior archivist Thando Bukwana said the department was always willing to help those who wanted to know their history, and he encouraged students to contact him if they need assistance with research.
“Students and members of the public can come conduct research and learn,” he said, adding that the records stretched back to the days of the Cape Colony.
“People should know their history. The site is the brain of the people from all walks of life. We have primary information.”
Teachers and pupils from Khulani High School who visited the exhibition said they were impressed with what they had learned.