Unveiling of Dulcie September mural in Athlone
11 March 2022
An iconic mural celebrating the life of anti-apartheid activist, Dulcie September who was murdered in Paris in the late 80’s, was unveiled in a moving ceremony at the Athlone Civic Centre on Tuesday, 22 February 2022.
In her keynote speech, Karen Dudley, who heads the Western Cape Education Department's Curriculum Directorate for Grades R – 9, recounted her personal connection to September, a former teacher.
September grew up in Athlone, attended Athlone High School and, after obtaining a teaching diploma in 1955, taught at City Mission in Maitland and Bridgetown East Primary School in Athlone.
“To me she was Aunty Dulcie. She is the one who left such an impression on my life that I followed in her footsteps and went to Wesley Training College and pursued a career in teaching.”
Dudley said September believed education was a good vehicle or tool to navigate a path to democracy. “She was vibrant, energetic, passionate and had a strong sense of self-worth and equality of all genders. In the classroom she exposed the learners to a variety of viewpoints and gave them a platform to have a voice and to script their beliefs and thoughts.”
The mural was commissioned by Enver Samuel, director of the award-winning and much-acclaimed documentary ‘Murder in Paris’. He said the mural was part of a campaign to bring her story and name to life.
Other interventions include the publicity campaign around the documentary, a schools’ screening campaign combined with an educational guide and the 'Justice for Dulcie' campaign, designed to assist the family with getting the case re-opened in France.
Samuel approached well-known Cape Town based arts organisation Baz Art that specialises in street art, for assistance. They commissioned one of South Africa's best and prolific street artists, Dbongz Mahlathi, to carry out the work.
Mahlathi did extensive research to get a sense of who Dulcie was and worked off a photograph of her. He used spray paint and completed the mural in two days.
September was forced into exile in 1972. Her path led her to France where she was assassinated in Paris on 29 March 1988 while she was the chief representative for the ANC in that city.
“To a certain extent Dulcie’s legacy has been erased, and the reason for her murder has never been uncovered,” said Samuel.
“And it is our hope through the documentary and various impact activations like this, that we can counteract that erasure, and finally gain recognition for her valuable contribution to her struggle against apartheid.”