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SSouth Africa’s rich biodiversity and pieces of the country’s history during its fight for freedom come together in the latest unveiling of a monument in memory of an iconic struggle hero, Walter Sisulu.

The official opening of Sisulu Circle in honour of the struggle stalwart took place on Tuesday, 10 July at the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden in Roodepoort, Gauteng. The launch is particularly significant together with Nelson Mandela Centenary celebrations set to take place throughout 2018, as it places emphasis on remembering struggle heroes and following in their footsteps. The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and the National Department of Tourism (NDT) have partnered to launch the new attraction at the Botanical Garden.

Funded by the Department of Tourism through its tourism incentive programme, the Sisulu Circle includes a statue of Walter Sisulu, a water feature with aquatic plants, and information and interpretation points.

This Botanical Garden was founded in 1982 but has been a popular venue for outings since the 1800’s. The Garden has been voted the best place to get back to nature in Gauteng for 9 years in a row.

Did You Know?
WWalter Max Ulyate Sisulu (18 May 1912 – 5 May 2003) was a brave South African activist and politician. He fought against apartheid

TThe natural vegetation of the area is known as the ‘Rocky Highveld Grassland’ and consists of a mosaic of grassland and savanna, with dense bush in kloofs and along streams. The variety of habitats accommodates over 600 naturally occurring plant species.

Explore SA’s natural heritage and history at Gauteng’s new Sisulu Circle

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TThe Albertina Sisulu Orchid
In addition to unveiling Sisulu Circle, an orchid discovered in 1918 has been named after Albertina Sisulu in honour of her centenary in 2018.

It will be called the Albertina Sisulu Orchid, and a painting of this rare orchid was given to the Sisulu family by Wild Orchid South Africa.

“Mama Albertina Sisulu loved gardening and it's so appropriate that as we celebrate her centenary, we're here unveiling the Sisulu Circle. She would've loved this garden as much as we love it,” says writer and activist Elinor Sisulu, who is married to Max Sisulu – son of Walter and Albertina.

Elinor Sisulu urges people to visit the garden to learn more about SA’s rich biodiversity, saying that she hopes the biodiversity awareness programmes offered by SANBI will be accessible to all communities.

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