Horison — For many family members of Dobsonville residents, Heritage Day was a big day after years of frustration and struggle.
In celebrating Heritage Day, the City of Johannesburg (CoJ) turned the anger of these residents into joy, with the unveiling of a plaque at the Juliwe Cemetery in Horizon View.
The memorial was attended by the Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Community Development, councillor Nonhlanhla Sifumba, members of the Historic Juliwe, the Greater Dobsonville Heritage Foundation, the councillor for Ward 84, Gert Niemand, and a number of local residents.
The Juliwe memorial plaque was installed to serve as a reminder to those who had to abandon the graves of their loved ones during the forced removals in the apartheid era. “It was also a way to restore a sense of dignity to Juliwe residents after they were evicted from their homes more than 50 years ago,” the MMC said.
The wording on the plaque reads as follow: “In this cemetery lie the remains of residents of Juliwe Location, established in the early 1900s. By 1959, the Juliwe cemetery contained the graves of approximately 3 000 adults and 2 635 infants. African residents of Roodepoort West were removed to Dobsonville, and they resisted the removal of the cemetery, which they insisted should remain as a sacred memorial.”
While addressing residents at the unveiling, the MMC said she was honoured to have members of the Sophiatown community also joining them in solidarity.
“Today, we mark Heritage Month by taking the opportunity to recognise the community that was evicted from its homes in Roodepoort West. This plaque serves as a mark of respect, to help keep alive a memory which will endure for all generations, to help us remember our ancestors with pride and admiration for their sacrifices,” the MMC concluded.
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