Dear stalwarts, thank you

2014-03-16 14:00

South African politics this week bade farewell to stalwarts of the liberation struggle and architects of our democratic state.

The phrase “end of an era” is one that gets bandied about way too easily these days. But

it is one that fits the exit from the scene of Andrew Mlangeni, Ben Turok, Sophie de Bruyn, Kgalema Motlanthe and Trevor Manuel.

These leaders have more than a century of jail time between them, time served in the service of the people of this country. Between them, they have more than two centuries of dedication to the betterment of the lives of South Africans.

Having sacrificed their younger lives to the struggle, they spent their senior years building a new republic.

After 1994, Mlangeni, Turok and De Bruyn toiled tirelessly on the benches of Parliament. They asked for no reward and no glory.

Motlanthe and Manuel rose to high office but neither exhibited arrogance nor did he succumb to bad temptations.

To these leaders, the nation says “thank you”. To those who take the baton forward, the nation says “serve as they did”.

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