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Enoch Sontonga Memorial Park Map

About Enoch Sontonga Memorial Park

Like so many artists, poets and musicians, Enoch Sontonga only became a household name long after his death. And in case you’re wondering, he's the guy responsible for the writing of the first passage of the South African National Anthem.

Enoch Santonga was born in Uitenhage,... read more

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More info about Enoch Sontonga Memorial Park

Like so many artists, poets and musicians, Enoch Sontonga only became a household name long after his death. And in case you’re wondering, he's the guy responsible for the writing of the first passage of the South African National Anthem.

Enoch Santonga was born in Uitenhage, Eastern Cape in the early 1870s and after finishing his schooling, he went on to train as a teacher. An active person, he delved into photography and wrote poems when he wasn’t teaching or preaching to his converts. One of his poems was titled Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika or Lord bless Africa, which became extremely popular and was later adopted by the African National Congress (the country’s ruling party) as their struggle anthem. The first verse was later incorporated into the South African anthem. Santonga died at a young age in 1905 and was buried in the Braamfontein cemetery in Johannesburg, however, his burial place was only discovered in 1994 by the National Monuments Council in a quest to locate and declare his gravesite as a national monument. On the day of declaration, Nelson Mandela unveiled the memorial park and bestowed the Order of Meritorious Service on him. The award was accepted by his granddaughter.

The Enoch Sontonga Memorial Park is a leafy, pleasant section of the Braamfontein cemetery that holds much history and is regarded as a cultural hotspot. Students use the route to reach the university alongside and the place appears more as a park than a sombre place of remembrance. Perhaps this is a good thing, Enoch Santonga’s work needs to be celebrated, after all, his words are sung everyday somewhere in South Africa.