Arts, Culture & Heritage

Vuyani Mabaxa Memorial

Last Updated: September 26, 2023
Artist

ANC Youth League, Diepkloof Branch.

A Brief History

Vuyani Mabaxa (born 1967) was a respected youth leader in Diepkloof. He was shot dead by the South African Police on October 13 1991.

Mabaxa became an active member of the Congress of the South African Students (COSAS) in the mid 80-s, campaigning in the schools for democratic student representative councils and an end to corporal punishment. He also participated in local civic campaigns such as rent boycotts and national campaigns for the release of political prisoners.

He was one of the 200 youth from Diepkloof who were brutally assaulted and detained in 1985 and 1986 after the declaration of the state of Emergency, which led to the banning of COSAS.

In 1990, the ANC and other anti-apartheid organisations were unbanned, leading to the start of negotiations for a political settlement. On the 4th of February 1991, the Diepkloof ANC Youth League Branch (ANCYL) was launched.

The killing of Vuyani, months after the beginning of peace negotiations, angered the youth so much that they felt that a memorial should be made to commemorate his death, his role in the community and the struggle for liberation.

After so many years, the circumstances surrounding his killing remain a mystery. In a research workshop held on the 18th of July 2003 at Council offices, it was clear that community members hold the opinion that Mabaxa’s killing was planned and orchestrated.

The matter was taken to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but the process failed to unearth new evidence that could help bring his killers to book.

Although Vuyani was shot nearby, this park was chosen because of its visibility from the main road through Diepkloof. The monument was developed by the ANCYL and funds donated by members of the community. Beginning around 2003, the City Department of Arts, Culture and Heritage services further developed the memorial and commissioned research on its history.

Description

A concrete cast monument placed at the centre of a paved circle.

The centrepiece of the monument consists of a lantern mounted on a red plinth, made from standard items which were easily and cheaply available, as befits a peoples’ monument. A garden lantern was placed on top of what may be a section of pipe or an upturned dustbin. The monument is painted with different colours — including red, grey, green, brown, orange and sky blue. Surrounding the monument is circular paving, making it more visible from the streets and to park users.

Artwork Signage

Vuyani Mabaxa (born 1967) was a respected youth leader in Diepkloof. He was shot dead by the South African Police on October 13 1991.

Mabaxa became an active member of the Congress of the South African Students (COSAS) in the mid 80-s, campaigning in the schools for democratic student representative councils and an end to corporal punishment. He also participated in local civic campaigns such as rent boycotts and national campaigns for the release of political prisoners.

He was one of the 200 youth from Diepkloof who were brutally assaulted and detained in 1985 and 1986 after the declaration of the state of Emergency, which led to the banning of COSAS.

In 1990, the ANC and other anti-apartheid organisations were unbanned, leading to the start of negotiations for a political settlement. On the 4th of February 1991, the Diepkloof ANC Youth League Branch (ANCYL) was launched.

The killing of Vuyani, months after the beginning of peace negotiations, angered the youth so much that they felt that a memorial should be made to commemorate his death, his role in the community and the struggle for liberation.

After so many years, the circumstances surrounding his killing remain a mystery. In a research workshop held on the 18th of July 2003 at Council offices, it was clear that community members hold the opinion that Mabaxa’s killing was planned and orchestrated.

The matter was taken to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but the process failed to unearth new evidence that could help bring his killers to book.

Although Vuyani was shot nearby, this park was chosen because of its visibility from the main road through Diepkloof. The monument was developed by the ANCYL and funds donated by members of the community. Beginning around 2003, the City Department of Arts, Culture and Heritage services further developed the memorial and commissioned research on its history.

Location & Address

12257 Immink St, Diepkloof Zone 5, Johannesburg, 1864