Strong ties bind Eastern Cape to journey to freedom

Enoch Sontonga – born in UitenhageIT IS no small feat that Enoch Sontonga – born in Uitenhage in 1872 – composed South Africa’s national anthem, Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika.

And that the designer of South Africa’s iconic flag – said to be the world’s third-best known – attributes his success in heraldry to the nurturing of the Eastern Cape when he was a student at Rhodes University.

Sontonga’s descendants still live in Uitenhage and Frederick Brownell, now in his 70s, lives in Pretoria. Brownell also designed the Eastern Cape coat of arms.

“The powerful impact the Eastern Cape has on people is evident in the immense contributions of Enoch Sontonga and Frederick Brownell,” said Nomfundo wakwa Luphondwana, general manager of provincial communication in the Eastern Cape Office of the Premier.

“Today we celebrate 16 years of freedom and democracy. It marks a milestone in the history of our nation – and a time to reflect and celebrate the journey that we travelled to achieve our freedom and democracy.

“These two national heroes must be commended for the massive role they have played in shaping the symbolic backdrop of South African freedom.”

Sontonga’s beautiful hymn brought comfort and joy to millions of people during the struggle years.

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