Lwandle’s young English visitors learn about the area’s history

Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum remains a source of attraction especially for overseas visitors.

Wednesday 8 August saw youngsters from England touring Lwandle to learn more about the rich history this place has.

The boys, from Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire, have been in the country for a few days and will remain until next week.

They toured Lwandle, gaining insight into how men had to live in apartheid days.

Masa Soko, museum manager, told the boys about living in the hostels, the difficult conditions endured and being separated from their families.

“The men, mostly from the Eastern Cape, previously known as Transkei and Ciskei, were barred from staying with their families,” she related. “The hostels were strictly built for men, and their wives or children were not welcome.”

Soko also told the young visitors about the restrictions African people had to face, where they had to produce a “dompass” for authorities, failing which they were either jailed or fined. She also referred to the changes that later came as Lwandle grew in the 1970s and ’80s, as other townships across the country grew.

The English boys also visited hostel 33, the only hostel that remains in its original form, having been in operation since the 1960s. The other hostels in the area were changed to communal homes.

Soko says the hostel was kept so the history of the area can live on, the changes since its founding being self-evident in its state.

Ben Mhoney, head of rugby at Berhamsted, said the boys found Lwandle very interesting, as it was different from what they were used to.

“I hope the boys will learn a lot from this, so they can understand how other people lived,” he said.

“This tour will give them an idea of why townships exist and how they came to be.”