Keeping Madiba’s legacy alive

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Government is committed to upholding the legacy of South Africa’s first democratically elected President, Nelson Mandela.

“As the government of South Africa, we are deeply committed to upholding the legacy, the principles and values that President Mandela cherished as the founding father of our democratic society,” said Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe on Tuesday.

Speaking at the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s event to mark the fourth anniversary of the death of the man affectionately known by his clan name Madiba, Minister Radebe said the former President’s selflessness ought to be emulated.

The former statesman passed away on 5 December 2013. The father of the nation died at the age of 95 after battling a recurring lung infection.

Minister Radebe, who delivered his message via video link, is also chairperson of government’s Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Nelson Mandela’s centenary.

Minister Radebe, who has served as a Cabinet Minister since the birth of a democratic South Africa in 1994, said the country’s first democratically elected President’s legacy must be celebrated.

“When we celebrate his legacy, we must reflect on his different dimensions as truthfully as possible.  I was privileged to serve in the first Cabinet that President Mandela appointed in 1994. Under his stewardship, our country adopted one of the best Constitutions in the history of humanity. We owe it to President Mandela's visionary leadership that today our country is a constitutional democracy,” he told a packed auditorium on a rainy night in Houghton.

The Minister said Madiba has left an indelible legacy of selflessness, resilience and of devotion.

The former President would have turned 100 on 18 July 2018. The Mandela centenary IMC will be responsible for planning and coordinating the centenary programme befitting the legacy and heritage of Mandela.

The IMC comprises Ministers from departments such as Arts and Culture, Communications and Public Works, among others.

Reflecting on Mandela’s legacy

Minister Radebe said the centenary presents the country with an opportunity to reflect on the legacy of Nelson Mandela.

“We will use this opportunity to promote peace, deepen democracy and to fight and protect human rights as some of the deep values that Madiba espoused.”

The IMC, which has already begun engagements with the Mandela Foundation, will work in close collaboration with the foundation to ensure that a programme appropriate for someone of Madiba's stature is developed.

“We've quite a comprehensive plan for the centenary of Mandela, who belonged to all of us. It is our objective to ensure that the national project is as inclusive as possible,” said the Minister.

Mandela’s widow Graça Machel, who admitted to feeling shaken on this day, said it is necessary to celebrate the legacies left by those who have passed on.

“More importantly, we have to take this nation to the highest level. They've done what they could have done,” said Machel.

Leader of the United Democratic Movement (UDM), General Bantu Holomisa, said the loss of Mandela was a personal loss of a mentor and friend.

The Mandela Foundation’s chairman, Professor Njabulo Ndebele, said on 5 December, South Africa pauses to remember the life and times of a man who occupies a unique space.

Prominent human rights lawyer and Rivonia trialist, George Bizos and Sophie Williams De Bruyn, who played a crucial role leading to a democratic South Africa, were among those who attended the event.

The foundation also unveiled the first Nelson Mandela Centenary project – the Unthreading Mandela Exhibition. -

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