The statue of the late freedom fighter John Beaver “JB” Marks should benefit the economy of Ventersdorp through tourism. This is the view of Bokone Bophirima Premier, Supra Mahumapelo, who unveiled the six metre bronze statue of JB Marks last weekend.
“The Local Municipality of NW 405 … please make sure that you develop a programme that will ensure that South Africans and the world know about this heritage site.
When the people come here please tell them about the struggles of South Africa led by freedom fighters such as uncle JB Marks,” Mahumapelo said during the unveiling ceremony of the JB Marks statue. The history of the Tshing township and the Ventersdorp town should form part of the history lessons shared with the tourists, he said.
The Premier said for the country to successfully preserve its history, the current generation must package it accordingly and tell it like it is to the coming generations and the world.
“As the current generation we must make sure that we get older and younger people to work together in packaging our history and culture in a creative and interesting way.
We need to get on board young people into the tourism sector, arts and culture to do book writing, singing and acting more about our freedom fighter who has sacrificed a lot for this country,” he said, emphasizing that this work alone would create jobs for the locals.
Executive Mayor of Ventersdorp/Tlokwe NW 405 Local Municipality, Kgotso Khumalo, said his municipality will indeed use the statue to promote tourism in the municipality.
“I believe that this statue will create opportunities for many of our people in the municipality because of the tourists from different parts of the world.
The hospitality industry will get even better because of this magnificent statue of uncle JB Marks,” he said. Khumalo said the statue will even play a huge part in uniting the people of different colour in an area previously characterized by racism.
Asked about proposals to rename the merged Ventersdorp/Tlokwe NW 405 Local Municipality the JB Marks Local Municipality, Khumalo said the process that involves public participation was still underway and should be given a chance.
“The process of changing the name of the municipality is a sensitive matter and it must therefore be treated with care in consultation with the masses of our people in this municipality. We are currently in the consultation process and our people are throwing in different names. Once the process is done we will be able to tell the public our final name before July this year,” he said.
Moipone Tomeletso, a resident of Tshing Township, said her biggest wish is for the statue to create the much needed employment for local young people.
“We welcome the statue in our area. It is encouraging and making us understand the importance of this democracy and that great people like uncle JB Marks came out of our dusty small town.
“My hope is that this heritage site will create more opportunities for the majority of us young people because unemployment and poverty is unacceptably high here,” she said.
She urged the municipality to create hype about the statue so that investors can also be attracted to build big infrastructure projects such as hotels and malls in their area.