Help to build the South Africa you want

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

A child born in the next 100 years should not experience the same challenges that South Africans face today, says Nelson Mandela Foundation CEO Sello Hatang.

Participating in a radio panel discussion on the centenary of Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu, Hatang encouraged all South Africans to contribute to building a better nation.

“If we are to live the legacies [of Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu], we must start today in order to reimagine the century that’s coming. Let’s help to build the country and the world that Madiba thought was in our hands to help build. The baton has been passed to us. It is upon us to ensure that we build [the nation],” Hatang said.

This year, South Africa is marking two important centenaries – that of Nelson Rholihlahla Mandela, the first President of a democratic South Africa. Mandela would have turned 100 years this year. He passed away in 2013 at the age of 95. Of equal importance is the centenary of Sisulu, a struggle heroine in her own right.

On Tuesday, SABC Radio celebrated the 50 days countdown to the Nelson Mandela Centenary.  The speakers included Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, Minister of Energy Jeff Radebe as well MaSisulu’s granddaughter Ntsiki Sisulu.

Mokonyane described MaSisulu as someone who did not have an easy life but had the strength to inspire hope and play a pivotal role in the liberation movement.

“Her strength came from her own life experience: a woman who had to look after her family at a tender age whilst pursuing a professional career in nursing; somebody who identified with the young militant ANC Youth League, as the only one who attended the founding of the ANC Youth League, invited by Nelson Mandela.

“Post the banning of the African National Congress (ANC) and other liberation movements, the emergence of a mass organisation in South Africa, she was also identified by South Africans to become the President of the United Democratic Front,” Mokonyane said.

She said the late struggle heroine encouraged women to be confident during meetings and express their opinions.

“Never make these men to make you feel inferior. When you go to a meeting, prepare, read, understand the topic. Don’t allow them to conclude on an item that you can resolve better,” Mokonyane recounted the advice MaSisuli gave to women.

Inspiring greatness

She said Albertina loved children and was concerned about access to education, particularly for the girl child.

Nstiki Sisulu said her grandmother stood up for women empowerment at a time when patriarchy reigned supreme.

“We want to encourage the youth to awaken to their greatness so that this nation can be better because they have freedom and democracy. What is that we are going to create to make this South Africa better?” she said.

Radebe said the SABC will be doing a documentary that will depict the love story of Albertina and Walter Sisulu.

“Albertina Sisulu and Walter Sisulu’s love story was the most outstanding of our times. As I understand it, Walter was a real feminist in the sense that he was empowering his wife, who was a woman of fortitude, who took the struggle in her own stride to liberate our people and even becoming the President of the United Democratic Front,” he said.

He said Mandela and Sisulu dedicated their lives to the people of South Africa and the nation needs to remember the values that they cherished during their lifetime. 

"We need to recommit ourselves to the values that they cherished, the values of integrity, passion and respect," the Minister said. –