Second Chief Albert Luthuli Legacy Event a Success

Second Chief Albert Luthuli Legacy Event a Success:

Photo: Khaya Ngwenya

Three generations of Albert Luthuli’s family walked alongside hundreds of athletes, industry leaders and the general public at the second annual Chief Albert Luthuli Legacy Walk and Half Marathon on Saturday, 22 July 2017 in Groutville, KwaZulu-Natal.

The event followed a week-long commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Luthuli’s untimely death. Its route closely followed the final path he took before he was allegedly struck by a train on the railway bridge in Groutville on 21 July 1967.

Thandi Luthuli Gcabashe, Chief Albert Luthuli’s daughter, led a group of participants that included the grandchildren and great grandchildren of Africa’s first Nobel Peace Laureate

“I admired the happy, jolly spirit everyone exhibited to create a beautiful Luthuli ambience. We were lucky to have him as a father,” she said. “Special thanks to Zakhele Gumede, the originator of the walk and half marathon and all those involved. We look forward to growing the number of participants in years to come.”

Another highlight of the week was President Jacob Zuma’s unveiling of a new memorial stone at the grave of Luthuli and his wife at Groutville’s United Congregational Church.

Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC, Sihle Zikalala pledged his department’s support for the walk and half marathon in future. He said he hoped this would help it grow into a major sports and community event for the province. He described Luthuli as a liberation struggle giant who was recognised internationally for his efforts to end racial segregation in South Africa.

The commemorative walk and half marathon was initiated last year by Groutville community member Zakhele Gumede and enjoys the support of the Ilembe District Municipality, the KwaDukuza Municipality, Enterprise iLembe and the Luthuli Museum. Transnet was also a primary sponsor this year.

KwaDukuza Municipality Mayor, Ricardo Mthembu said: “This day is very important to us as people of KwaDukuza because as you know Chief Albert Luthuli was a unifier.”

Participants in the 11.5 km walk and 21 km half marathon were able to experience several iconic sites that contribute to the prolific history of the area. These included 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, the railway bridge where he was killed, his memorial site nearby and his final resting place at the Groutville United Congregational Church graveyard.

“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. All proceeds from the event will go towards the Groutville Intuthuko Yethu NPO formed by the Groutville community.

Follow the Chief Albert Luthuli Walk and Half Marathon on social media: Facebook: Instagram & Twitter: @luthuliwalk

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