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City exhibition celebrates life of Dulcie September

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The Dulcie September Travelling Exhibition, in conjunction with the Provincial Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, opened at the Wolfgat Environmental Education Multipurpose Centre in Tafelsig where learners from the Chris Hani High School in Khayelitsha and Cedar High School in Mitchells Plain had the first opportunity to peruse it.

The learners’ visit to the exhibition coincides with a programme aimed at raising awareness around issues of local history through workshops and exhibitions.

The exhibition commemorates September’s life through her family’s personal archives, police records, records from her Paris office and newspaper clippings. It will be open to the public today and tomorrow, before moving to the Athlone Civic Centre.

“History helps us to understand who we are, how we got here and shines a light on past mistakes we should work on so that we do not repeat them. The opening of the exhibition coincides with National Heritage Week which is significant. Despite what some may believe, history is interesting, meaningful and provides insight into the people who helped shape our country,” said the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety, Security and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith.

The Dulcie September exhibition is part of a broader heritage programme that aims to create platforms for dialogue on issues of preservation, conservation and building civic pride.

The programme is rolled out in partnership with the City’s Biodiversity Management Branch, Environmental Management Department and the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport; in line with the aim of the City’s Organisational Development and Transformation Plan to enhance partnerships with communities.

Dulcie September was the ANC’s representative in France. On 29 March 1988 she was shot five times from behind with a 22 calibre rifle, which had a silencer, in front of the ANC office in Paris. She posthumously received South Africa’s highest honour, the Order of Luthuli, in 2009.

Born in Gleemore, Athlone, she received her teacher’s diploma from the Battswood Teachers Training School in Salt River in 1955.

She subsequently became involved in a students’ union and a militant study group before she was arrested in 1964, tried for sabotage and subversion, and sentenced to five years in prison.

After her release, she left the country on an exit visa and headed for London where she joined the ANC and its Women’s League.

She was appointed ANC head of research in France, Switzerland and Luxembourg. In France, a school, street and a square were named after her in 1998.

The Athlone Civic Centre was renamed the Dulcie September Civic Centre in 2013.

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