Ohlange, JL Dube House, 21 March 2011
Sbongiseni Dladla (SD): How did you feel in hearing the street would be named after you Gogo?
Lulu Dube (LD): I did not know that this street would be named after me while I’m still alive, I thought such things happen to people only after their death.
SD: So Gogo, are you telling us that you did not know that this street would be named after you?
LD: Yes my child, because 2 years back in 2009 a man came to my house asking me if I wouldagree to be honoured to have my name used for the name of the street.
SD: Gogo this has taken two years to be done?
LD: Yes, in fact I even forgot that a man came to my house to tell me such thing. It is the second time I’m hearing about this.
SD: Who broke the news to you Gogo?
LD: My grandson Sobantu, came to me and told me that the street that is opposite our house has been named after me and I was shocked to hear such news. I must say that I still feel a bit let down hoping that someone from the Municipality would come and tell me about the procedure to use my name for this street.
SD: Gogo, you seem a bit surprised?
LD: I am surprised because this is such a big street here at Ohlange!
A lot of events happened in this street during and after the apartheid regime.
SD: If you don’t mind sharing some of the moments in the past which happened in this street that you still remember?
LD: One of the biggest moments was when Dr Nelson Mandela walked in here to cast his election vote. That was a special day in the history of Ohlange and this street. I remember that day very well: big cars were passing by this very street and helicopters were flying above to capture that moment and people from the area came in numbers chanting Nelson Mandela’s name, singing praises, thanking him for what he had done for the country.
There were so many events which took place in this street. I remember in the late 1980’s to early 90’s when the fight between IFP(Inkatha Freedom Party) and ANC( African National Congress) broke out a lot of people lost their lives in this street; that was the tragedy faced by the street, countless people! But the one which stands out the most in my life was when the mother of a baby came running upthis street to JL Dube’s house because then the house had been turned into a clinic, she came in screaming so loud with the baby, not realising that the baby had been shot dead. She cried so loud: it was the most painful moment in the area especially in that road where the situation was tense between the two parties. On the far side of the main road (Inanda Highway) was the IFP area known as Mshayazafe, which means beat a person to death. And here (Ohlange) the place was occupied by the ANC. It was even difficult to send a kid to buy bread or for the kids to go out and play.
SD: Continue Gogo!
LD: I remember people and political leaders came in to seek refuge in JL Dube’s house; and the crèche (Thuthukani Creche) just above the street became a home to many people of Ohlange, fearing for their lives. They stayed at the crèche till the situation could calm down a bit.
SD: How did people entertain themselves during those trying times?
LD: Oh yeah! We did a lot of things in this street. We played a lot of games. I watch my grandchildren playing all sort of indigenous games here, like omagalobhe, tins, ushumpu umlabalaba and many more! Apart from the harassment from the police and teargas and all sorts of pain we somehow managed to keep ourselves happy.
SD: Gogo can you remember the year in which exactly the street was changed from gravel to concrete?
LD: I can’t exactly remember, mzukulu! But it was in the early nineties if I’m not mistaken, just after the release of political leaders from Robben Island.
SD: Gogo what can you say in conclusion about the people of Ohlange and the impact the street had on the people?
LD: Mzukulu I really think people of Ohlange should embrace the legacy left by all the people that have walked this beautiful township of ours. We are the Zebras, We Dubes believe in humanity and we will always live by the rules of our heroes and heroines like Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Luthuli, JL Dube Dr Nelson Mandela, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Angelina Sithebe and many more who have graced our beautiful land.
SD: Thank You Gogo for your time!
LD: My pleasure mzukulu!