BACKGROUND ON THE
Declaration of Freedom Square
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.