South African’s National Liberation Movement
ANC OBSERVES THE 9th ANNIVERSARY OF PRESIDENT NELSON MANDELA’S PASSING
Today marks the 9th anniversary of the passing of one of the great revolutionaries our continent has ever produced, Isithwalandwe Nelson Mandela. His death marked the end of an era. He belonged to the generations of great revolutionaries like Dr Kenneth Kaunda, Robert Mugabe and Oliver Tambo. On this revered day, we call on all South Africans and global citizens to embrace the legacy of this distinguished son of the soil.
Nelson Mandela cut his political teeth in the ANC Youth League together with other stalwarts like Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo and Anton Lembede.
He was a key figure and Volunteer-In-Chief during the Defiance Campaign of the 1950s. Nelson Mandela was a fearless revolutionary who never cowed or wavered in the face of state repression.
During the height of the struggle following the Sharpeville Massacre, the ANC resorted to armed struggle after realising that all doors to peaceful struggle were closed by the regime. The ANC established uMkhonto we Sizwe, the people’s army. Nelson Mandela became its first Commander-in-Chief.
As a result of his role in the struggle, Nelson Mandela and his family were targeted for harassment. He spent 27 years in prison. After his release, he was elected Deputy President of the ANC and later its President.
This giant of our liberation struggle served as the first democratically elected President of South Africa following the National Democratic Elections of 1994.
As the African National Congress (ANC), we remain inspired by Tata Nelson Mandela’s dedication and personal sacrifices for the liberation of our country. We remain grateful to the United Nations for declaring the 18th of July, his birthday, as Nelson Mandela International Day in November 2009.
Nelson Mandela dedicated his entire life to the struggle for freedom and justice. In keeping with his ideals, and as part of taking forward his legacy, the ANC challenges all South Africans to stay true to his principles, especially his unwavering commitment to freedom, democracy, non-racialism and economic justice.
Nelson Mandela’s exemplary life invites all people across the globe to take responsibility to transform the world into a free, just and equal place for all.
As we mark this anniversary, South Africans and the international community remain encouraged by Mandela’s dedication to the struggle against apartheid. Madiba remains a bench-mark for principled and moral leadership. His determined quest to change the world for the better and his relentless pursuit of freedom will remain indelible in the memories of all freedom-loving people of the world.
His famous speech from the dock during the Rivonia Trial on the 20th of April 1964 has become one of Madiba’s trademarks as a courageous freedom fighter who was ready to sacrifice his life in the struggle to end apartheid rule:
“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I’m prepared to die.”
As we seek to defend and promote the legacy of this great revolutionary, we must use this day to reaffirm our commitment to promote socio-economic justice, freedom and democracy. As part of honouring the values and principles that Madiba stood for, the ANC calls on South Africans to dedicate their time and resources towards alleviating the plight of the poor and restoring their dignity. Consistent with the spirit of Madiba, we all have a moral responsibility to transform the lives of all citizens so that they too can taste the fruits of our freedom and democracy.
As the ANC approaches its 55th National Conference, we call on all cadres of our movement to evoke the spirit of Madiba and ensure that collectively we use this important milestone in our revolutionary calendar to deepen the renewal and unity of our movement. Like our icon himself, those who aspire to serve in the leadership strictures of our movement must be inspired by the need to serve and not to pursue personal ambitions or material rewards.
Long live the spirit of Nelson Mandela, Long live!
ISSUED BY THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS
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