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Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY 15 JUNE

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UPDATED: 15/06/2017

While something important undoubtedly happened this very day in Kimberley’s history, it has not yet been found in the archives. Research, as usual, is ongoing.

DID YOU KNOW

The Convention Centre at the Big Hole complex adjacent to the Kimberley Mine Museum is more often than not referred to as the MSCC, which, unless you know what the acronym stands for, is quite pointless to visitors and residents alike.

MSCC stands for Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre which then begs the question: Who is Mittah Seperepere?

Mittah Seperepere (nee Goeieman) was born on 28 December 1929 at Riverton, roughly 30 kilometres from Kimberley, and died after a long illness on 30 October 2010.

PT-Mittah_Seperepere-1929

Ma Mittah Seperepere

Mama (Ma) Mittah participated in the struggle, particularly for women emancipation and actively resisted the anti-pass laws by mobilizing women in the anti-pass laws campaigns. Inspired by the Programme of Action of 1949 of the ANC Youth League, she joined the League and got actively involved in the underground structures. Her involvement gained her the attention of the SAP, culminating in her imprisonment in 1965. Upon her release she was incorporated into the structures of the ANC’s military wing Umkhonto We Sizwe.

She lived most of her adult life in exile, having been forced to leave the country of her birth. Together with her husband Maruping Seperepere, they left the country for Botswana in 1966. It was from Botswana that they later relocated to Tanzania, from where she served on the Regional Political Committee of the ANC. She became the welfare officer and started a primary school at SOMAFCO (the ANC School in Tanzania).

After her husband’s death in 1981, Mama Mittah relocated to Lusaka (Zambia) where she joined the ANC’s Women’s Section. From 1983 until 1989, she served as a representative of the ANC Women’s Section at the Women’s International Democratic Federation based in the then German Democratic Republic (East Germany).

Mama Mittah also represented Women’s liberation movements in the frontline countries, the English speaking African countries and the Portuguese speaking countries of Angola and Mozambique. In 1989, she was appointed ANC Chief Representative to Madagascar, La Reunion, Seychelles, Mauritius and the Comores.

In 1990, with the unbanning of the ANC she returned to South Africa and fully participated in the ANC structures and mobilized the community of Majeng and surrounding areas. From 1994 until 1999, she served as a Member of the National Assembly and in 1999 declined to return to parliament because she believed younger people should be given the responsibility. From then onwards, she became deeply involved with community development projects.

She also moved into tourism and hospitality by opening a guesthouse, Mannye’s, in the West End suburb.

In 2014 she was posthumously awarded the Order of Luthuli (Bronze). The Order of Luthuli is awarded to South Africans who made meaningful contributions to the struggle for democracy, human rights, nation-building, justice, peace and conflict resolution.

(From a variety of sources too numerous to mention).

Pictured is the Convention Centre and Mittah Seperepere.

Nothing has yet been found that happened this very day in Kimberley’s history. Research continues….

DID YOU KNOW

Seventy years a member, and 28 years as President of the Kimberley Club is the longest period any person has ever been a member and as President held the honour. Harry Oppenheimer, who became a member in 1930, was President of the Kimberley Club from 1972 until his death on 19 August 2000. He once said, quoting his father Sir Ernest that “The Kimberley Club is not just a Club in the ordinary sense – it has a tradition all on its own. The memory of the men who made a new and greater South Africa is enshrined in this building”. Harry Oppenheimer added that “one has only to enter the Club to be reminded of the part it, and its members, have played in shaping Southern Africa’s destiny.” The support of Harry Oppenheimer, and his wife Bridget, meant the Kimberley Club would always remain a shrine to the history of Kimberley, diamonds, and the many personalities that passed through the front doors.

32 years a Life Member meant that Harry Oppenheimer was the longest serving Honorary Life Member of the Kimberley Golf Club. Elected to the position in 1968, Mr Oppenheimer opened the new Golf Club and course in its present position on the Johannesburg road on 19 November 1960. Lisle McNamara, at the opening, said that “I must thank Mr Oppenheimer and the De Beers Company, for without their generous financial and practical assistance this project could not have been contemplated.” Mr Oppenheimer played with Lisle McNamara as his partner in that inaugural contest and holed out from across the first green. He also sponsored Kimberley’s first professional tournament since the 1913 South African Open Championship, the Kimberley 4000 in 1966, and also sponsored the trophy – shared by Harold Henning and Tony Jacklin. His own memories of the golf club went back many years prior to the grass course when he used to “derive great pleasure from playing on the old course with its blue ground gravel ‘greens’.”

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

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