Kaunda gives Blue Train a miss

2012-01-06 15:26

Former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda did not take the train ride aboard the Blue Train to Bloemfontein as expected, opting instead to fly to the City of Roses to join in the ANC’s centenary celebrations.

Kaunda was expected to join other international dignitaries invited to experience the world-class status of the six-star train as part of the organisation’s one hundredth celebrations.

Before the train’s departure, Public Enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba urged all those attending the centenary celebrations to use the event as an opportunity to reflect on the past and where they would like to see the party in future.

“This is no bash or party but a time to remind ourselves why the ANC was established and to think about the kind of future and foundation we would like to build for future generations,” Gigaba said in Pretoria this morning.

Other dignitaries who joined Gigaba on the train – dubbed the “revolutionary Blue Train” by sponsors who wished to remain anonymous, according to chief executive of Transnet, Brian Molefe – included the former first lady of Angola, Maria Neto, who said it was an interesting idea for the party to bring people together on a train.

“Even though not everybody could be here, those who came are here to show solidarity and support for the party as we have done in the past when it was much more difficult to support the organisation,” said Neto.

She called on leaders to pay attention to the youth and to also use the gathering to reflect on what is happening on the continent.

 “It’s time leaders looked at how they can bridge the gap that exists between those at the top and other structures,” said Neto, who brought books as gifts for the occasion.

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