CEAD and partners host a conference on (re)writing history

All the delegates and presenters that attended the conference at MUT, while others connected online

The University, together with its partners, has taken a giant step to change the history of Umlazi Township and other parts of the KwaZulu-Natal Province. From 6-9 December 2022, the  Community Engagement and Development Directorate (CEAD), with partners from Umlazi Township, Engonyameni Tribal Authority, Durban University of Technology (DUT), University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) and Non-Governmental Organisations in and around Durban held a conference to write and rewrite the history of places like Umlazi Township, Clermont and KwaDabeka, Edendale, and Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) itself.

Delivering opening remarks on the second day of the conference, when MUT was the conference host for the day and presented to the hybrid audience, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation, and Engagement (DVC:RIE), Professor Nokuthula Sibiya, said that the conference came at the right time “when MUT, according to its Strategic Plan 2020-2025, presents a shared vision to establish itself as an anchor institution for Umlazi that will be bearing fruits”. Professor Sibiya described the conference as a “memorable event in the history of MUT”.

The objectives of the conference laid bare the intentions of its organisers, which Professor Sibiya acknowledged. The conference aimed at building a network of collaboration with all relevant local, provincial, continental and international communities. This objective was highlighted by several presenters, from all the participating sites.

The presenters highlighted the centrality of local communities, from whose perspective their history should be told. That is the reason the CEAD lined up a group of locals and recorded their perspectives on the various segments of the history of Umlazi Township. For instance, the 69-year-old Musa Dumisa talked about the general history of Umlazi Township, while 81-year-old Monica Mkhize’s presentation was on the role played by the church in the history of Umlazi Township. The 72-year-old Mpisikayihlangulwa Nombela, an induna in the Cele Tribal Authority, told conference delegates about the history of the Cele tribe, on whose land the township and the University are built. The Cele tribe is now on the western outskirts of the township.