After school on Friday, September 13th we were picked up by Xolani Makhalima, who was born in Port Elizabeth, is responsible for driving volunteers to and from their project sites and currently training as a tour guide for Calabas Tours.
Xolani took us to tour the Red Location Museum, which is an Apartheid museum in New Brighton township of Port Elizabeth.
RED LOCATION is one of the oldest settled Black Townships of Port Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa. It derives its name from a series of corrugated iron barrack buildings, which are rusted a deep red color. Building materials for these sheds stem from the First South Africa War (1899-1902) structures – the Boer concentration camp at Uitenhage as well as the Imperial Yeomanry Hospital at De Aar.
It became a site of struggle during the years of Apartheid. Many prominent political and cultural leaders were either born or lived in Red Location and a number of significant “struggle” events occurred here.
For example, the first MK (umKonto we Sizwe – former military wing of the African National Congress) cell in South Africa was established in Red Location and the first arrest after the passive resistance campaign (Defiance Campaign, 1952) against the notorious pass laws occurred at the Railway Station in the area. Red Location offers the opportunity to draw together the strands of struggle that mark the attempts by different groups in South Africa to free themselves.
It is ironic that the activists of Red Location occupied the same sets of spaces that their so-called enemy, “the Boers,” occupied as spaces of incarceration during the First South African War.
Exhibitions at the Red Location Museum include the Hall of Columns, dedicated to heroes of the struggle.
Struggle and Music
Vuyisile Mini was a unionist, Umkhonto we Sizwe activist, singer and one of the first Africa National Congress members to be executed by apartheid South Africa.
Langa Massacre – The incident happened when marchers gathered in Langa, a township on the outskirts of Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape, preparing to move on to Kwanobuhle, 10 km away, where the commemorative service observing the 25th anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre of 21 March 1960. Unbeknownst to the Langa demonstrators, however, the government had banned the event. Police opened fire on the crowd, killing between 20 and 43 people (sources vary).