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Getting to know Project Gateway

Getting to know Project Gateway

The N3 Gateway Tourism Association not only houses scintillating scenery, plentiful accommodation options, freshly packed farm stalls and exciting activities for all; one can also learn an incredible amount of rich history from all destinations visited.

South Africa’s heritage is certainly diverse and on the N3 Gateway we celebrate this rich diversity through places such as the Project Gateway.

Project Gateway, is now housed in The Old Prison, Pietermaritzburg.  The prison dates back to Voortrekker times with more than 150 years of history including the Colonial times, Apartheid, Liberation Struggle, Political Struggle, and ultimately  to  the dawn of  democratic South Africa in 1994.

This site was commissioned in 1862, with the Monument Block being the first structure built on the site. Other buildings were constructed later, including the gallows, ‘whites only’ section, hospital, and gibbet.
There were many nationally and internationally known freedom fighters held in this medium security prison during the struggles in South Africa, including Mandela, Gandhi and others  that are legends and heroes who have made a great impact on our lives today.  Some of the detainees include Kasturba Gandhi, Peter Brown, Derrick Marsh, A.S. Chetty, King Dinuzulu, Moses Mabhida and Harry Gwala.

The Old Prison is also home to a ‘Time Capsule’ which was created to commemorate 150 years of Indian indenture in Pietermaritzburg, and the Gandhi Exhibition is on display in the new ‘state of the art’ museum.

The Freedom Route was initiated in October 2007.  The suffering of many people from the late 1860s through to the late 1980s is depicted in The Old Prison buildings. The National Monument building together with other isolation cells are a ‘must see’, and give an idea of the torture and horror of imprisonment.

Research has also revealed that a number of people were executed at this prison.  Not much is known about those executed, as many of the records have been destroyed.

The Old Prison was closed in 1989 due to overcrowding.  In 1992 it was given to a group of churches that wanted to use the prison as a base from which to serve the local communities.  As a result, Project Gateway (NPO) was born.


Lori Voss

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