Famous Laing’s Nek Monument in Northern KZN, now in ruins

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Laing’s Nek Monument lays ruins following a lack of maintenance and care over the years. 

The Laing’s Nek Monument is situated in Laing’s Nek Pass, which slopes from mount Majuba (Amajuba) down to the Buffalo River. To learn about the history of Laing’s Nek and the battle fought there, be sure to click on BritishBattles.comBBC or sahistory.org.za.

Due to the rich history the area holds, Laing’s Nek featured in a movie showcasing the humiliating defeat for the British. 

Click here to for more:  Majuba: Heuwel van Duiwe.

Speaking with a local history buff, Louis Eksteen of the Fort Amiel Museum in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal. Eksteen stresses that he believes that the fall of the Laing’s Nek Monument is due to natural events, such as the sinking of the foundation.

As the monument now lays to waste, Eksteen explains, “For me, the focus is rather on the continuous maintenance that is not done by the authorities.”

The lack of maintenance, Eksteen says, is because there is no clarity as to whom this task is assigned. Further asking, “Is it the SA Defence Force who owns some historical sites and monuments such as the KZN Amafa/Heritage and Research Institute, SA Heritage Resources Agency, the British Commonwealth Grave Commission in SA, or do private landowners?”

Moreover, Eksteen highlights that the lack of resources, budgets, and funding are significant problems. “This is why more and more private heritage organisations are intervening. Local Heritage committees should be formed, source funding locally, otherwise, it will affect local tourism which is a major source of income and local economic development.”

But how do monuments affect tourism? 

As Eksteen points out, it is due to their essential links to Britain. “The sites are visited by tourists, some of which are descendants of those who died in the respective battles.”

Because of this, when historical sites such as the Laing’s Nek Monument fall to wreck and ruin, it impacts the site’s significance. “It takes away the dignity of our combined history,” Eksteen affirms.

In addition, he says monuments such as this play another vital role. Eksteen stresses that these monuments are remnants of our colonial history, which creates an understanding of the Freedom Fighters who fought for the South Africans right to equality.

As the monument now lays in pieces, what are your thoughts on the matter? 

Share your views in the comment section below.

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