This past weekend saw the unveiling of a commemorative tombstone for the late Nokutela Dube, wife of Rev. John Langalibalele Dube, the first President General of the South African Native National Congress (now ANC). Nokutela was an ardent supporter of the liberation movement and fought tirelessly alongside her husband to help raise funds in the USA to fight the cause back home. Together with her husband, Nokutela is credited with helping to establish the Ohlange Institute (the first black-directed school), the newspaper Ilanga Lase Natal, and a number of other ground-breaking institutions that have contributed to the advancement of a multiracial democracy in South Africa. Interestingly, Nokutela had a special interest in music and was the co-author of Amagama Abantu (A Zulu Song Book), a book that stands as a landmark in the development of Zulu Choral music. It is through Nokutela’s passion for music that we have Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika as part of our national anthem – the song became popular after being performed for years by the Ohlange Choir as “A Prayer For the Children at Ohlange”.
The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), together with the Office of the Premier, unveiled the tombstone on the 31st of August 2013 at the Brixton Cemetery in Johannesburg. The tombstone forms part of the National Liberation Heritage Route, meant to honour the women and men who fought against apartheid.
Read more about Nokutela Dube here.