Monday, March 21, 2011

Freedom Park Part 2 - Isivivane

The part of Freedom Park that touched me the most was the sacred place of Isivivane.  Isivivane is an isiZulu and isiXhosa word and is the spiritual resting place for all those who played a part in the freedom and liberation of South Africa.  It is inclusive of all religions and faiths and invites all South Africans to come and celebrate their shared spirituality and heritage.

At the centre of Isivivane is Lesaka and its circle of 11 stones.  The circle is the symbolic resting place for the spirits of those who played a part in the the struggles that the history of South Africa has seen.  Soil was brought to this spot from areas all over South Africa where conflict has occurred and it was deemed sacred ground after representatives all off faiths and church denominations took part in a Cleansing, Healing and Return of the Spirits ceremony.  A stone was brought here from each of the 9 provinces of South Africa, while the other two stones represents South Africa as a country as well as the international community.  A fine mist spray adds to the atmosphere of the stone circle and all visitor are asked to please remove their shoes before entering the area.
To the one side of the stone circle (in the background of the first photo) is Lekgotla.  Lekgotla is a semi-circle seating structure built around an Umlahlankosi Tree (Buffalo Thorn Tree) and it allows visitors to meet and hold discussions in the same way as many has done in various African traditions.

There are another nine smaller Umlahlankosi trees surrounding the stone circle, each donated by one of South Africa's nine provinces.  The trees symbolise one of the mediums through which the spirits of South Africa's fallen heroes and heroines has been brought to Isivivane.  Water also plays a big role at Isivivane through water features and water points to wash your hands when leaving as water represents cleaning and healing in many believes.

In my humble opinion I truly feel that each of the provinces should develop a site similar to Isivivane that is spiritually linked to the one at Freedom Park as it would become a great place to remember the past and celebrate the future.

Today is 21 March which is Human Rights Day in South Africa and I hope that the posts of the last two days have also played its part in celebrating human rights..

3 comments:

  1. Another beautiful place to immortalize history.

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  2. Fascinating. I would love to visit it. Must put it on my list of things to do when I go up to Jhb to see my eldest.

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  3. Riveting! Thank you for this! Freedom.. we all take so much for granted!

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