BACKGROUND ON THE
CHIEF TYALI GRAVE
Declaration of Chief Tyali Grave
National Heritage Site declaration: 21 September 2018
The granting of land by Chief Tyali for establishing a place of learning for Africans as early as the 1800s was unprecedented on the sub-continent. During this period South Africa was still in the throes of colonial expansion and British annexation of parts of the Eastern Cape during the Frontier Wars. Chief Tyali’s donation of land to Scottish missionaries came between these Frontier Wars, the primary purpose of which was land dispossession. Given the prevailing circumstances, this would have been unpopular with many African chiefs at the time. Yet it is precisely this unconventionality that made Chief Tyali a visionary leader. In addition to education, part of the reasoning in granting the land was an attempt to gain knowledge into the workings of the colonial system.
The establishment of Lovedale and later the University of Fort Hare on land granted by Chief Tyali in turn produced some of South Africa’s and Africa’s leading stalwarts in the struggle against colonial rule and apartheid. Therefore, the legacy of Chief Tyali and the history of these two institutions and their contribution to South Africa are intertwined. The grave site of dChief Tyali is a tangible representation of the contribution he has made to the education of
Africans and great African leaders through his own insightful and visionary leadership.