With our history of apartheid many public holidays in South Africa are ‘commemorated’ rather than ‘celebrated’, but tomorrow, the 27th April, is a day that all South Africans can truly celebrate as we remember the first democratic elections held on this day, twenty-four years ago. It was a long and treacherous road, but the elections of 1994 marked a significant turning point for South Africa and its citizens.
One of the people who showed the strength to stand up for what he believed to be right, in the face of massive opposition from the government, was Archbishop Denis Hurley, after whom the Denis Hurley Centre is named. The centre, which caters for people of all faiths, is committed to serving the memory of the Archbishop, who despite physical threats to his safety – Hurley’s house was attacked with gasoline bombs in 1976 – memorably stood in silent protest outside the central Durban Post Office during the 1970s. He held a placard that read “Remove apartheid, not people”.
In celebration of the 27th April, a day that the Archbishop and many other men and women fought so hard for, the Denis Hurley Centre has partnered with the Raise Your Voice Foundation to present ‘Songs of Hope and Freedom’. The concert serves as a reminder “of our common struggles and the role that music has played and can play in achieving shared victories. It will be a celebration of what unites us – of our shared humanity and hopes for the future”. Guests will be wowed by performances by Junior Mambazo (the off-spring of Ladysmith Black Mambazo), the Durban Gospel Choir and Mhayise dancers, amongst others, and for those interested in the work of the centre, guided tours of the Denis Hurley Centre will take place every half hour.
Tickets are free, but people are asked to donate what monies they can afford, withe the proceeds going towards the costs of the concert as well as the Cathedral Bell Tower fund.
For more information please make contact with the Denis Hurley Centre: firstname.lastname@example.org/031 301 2240
Image of Archbishop Denis Hurley courtesy of durbanhistorymuseums.org.za