When Nelson Mandela said in 1999 - “the day should not be far off, when we shall have a people’s shrine, a freedom park, where we shall honour with all the dignity they deserve, those who endured pain so we should experience the joy of freedom.” - he was describing the Freedom Park, which today stands on 52 hectares on Salvokop in Pretoria; a monument to democracy.
Freedom Park is the creation of a memorial that narrates the story of South Africa’s pre-colonial, colonial, apartheid, and post-apartheid history and heritage, to acknowledge those that contributed to the freedom of the country.
"Frontier War" (from The People's History of England, Cassell Petter & Galpin, c 1890)
Recently Freedom Park invited Inkcubeko Nendalo to contribute to its growing collection of exhibits and displays in its newly built Museum. Their request was for materials that showed the importance of plants in the struggle for freedom in South Africa.
We prepared dried pressed plant specimens, photographs and artefacts showing plant materials used to make weapons of war and magical charms used in warfare. These reflect both historical and contemporary uses. We also sourced live plants to be grown as living exhibits.
Examples include the use of the resin from the roots of utywina (Pterocelastrus tricuspidatus) to fasten a metal spear blade to a wooden shaft and charm plants used by the Xhosa prophet Mlanjeni in the 8th Frontier War of 1850 – 1853.
Utywina (Pterocelastrus tricuspidatus)