The year 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the untimely death of Chief Albert Luthuli after a suspect accident on the railway bridge in Groutville, KwaZulu-Natal on 21 July 1967. Hundreds of participants from KwaZulu-Natal and other provinces will descend on Groutville for the Chief Albert Luthuli Legacy Walk and Half Marathon on Saturday, 22 July 2017, to commemorate the occasion and trace the final steps of this inimitable son of the soil.
Chief Albert Luthuli was a devout Christian, chief of the Groutville Amakholwa Tribe, one of the longest serving presidents of the African National Congress, and the first African winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
The event in his honour is spearheaded by Groutville community leader Zakhele Gumede and supported by the Ilembe District Municipality, the KwaDukuza Municipality, Enterprise iLembe and the Luthuli Museum. There will also be a charity golf day for corporate participants and other interested parties at Prince’s Grant Golf Estate Friday 21 July, ahead of the walk and half marathon.
Gumede said the walk made its debut in July 2016 when over 500 people of all ages participated.
“This year is particularly significant given the 50th anniversary of Chief Albert Luthuli’s death and the main purpose of these events is to acknowledge and celebrate his life, but also to highlight the rich history and heritage of this area and grow its socio-economic and tourism potential,” he said.
While the routes differ for the 11.5 kilometer Chief Albert Luthuli Legacy Walk and the 21 km Chief Albert Luthuli Legacy Half Marathon, the highlight of both will be the opportunity for participants to set foot on the railway bridge where Luthuli was allegedly hit by a train and to visit his memorial site situated in close proximity.
The route passes several iconic sites that contribute to the prolific history of the area. These include the Mahatma Gandhi memorial and statue of Chief Luthuli on Chief Albert Luthuli Street, the King Shaka Visitor’s Centre which houses Shaka’s grave, the Observation Rock upon which King Shaka used to sit and watch his impis according to Zulu history, the soccer field where then New York senator Robert F Kennedy’s helicopter landed when he visited Chief Luthuli in 1966, and Luthuli’s final resting place at the Groutville Congregational Church Graveyard. The town’s Luthuli Museum has also been proclaimed a national monument and includes the original 1927 home of Chief Luthuli situated at 3233 Nokukhanya Luthuli Street.
In addition, Groutville has the little-known distinction of being the birth-place of one of South Africa’s literary pioneers and the first professor of Zulu at Wits University, the poet and author, B. W. Vilakazi. The village’s B W Vilakazi Primary School is named after him. Interestingly, the street that is home to two Noel Peace Prize winners in Soweto is named after Vilakazi, who grew up in Groutville, the home of the first winner! One of South Africa’s most legendary boxers, Elijah “Tap Tap” Makhathini, also lived in the area.
“In KwaDukuza we have a rich legacy and we hope these events will help us use our heritage to build a tourism economy,” said Gumede.
Pre-registration for the Chief Albert Luthuli Legacy Walk and Half Marathon and the charity golf event is essential. For more information or to register, visit www.luthuliwalk.org.za.
The entry fee for the race and half marathon is R100.00 per person which includes a T-shirt and a badge. Registration for the charity golf day is R3000.00 per four-ball or R750.00 for singles, with overnight accommodation at Prince’s Grant Golf Estate available if required and for the guest’s own account.
All proceeds will go towards Groutville Intuthuko Yethu NPO formed by the Groutville community.
For all enquiries, contact organizer Zakhele Gumede on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 082-8044488.
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