Reconciliation did not die with Madiba, says Thabo Mbeki

2013-12-12 16:58

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Former president Thabo Mbeki says the death of Nelson Mandela does not spell the end of national reconciliation.

Speaking at a ceremony dedicated to Mandela’s memory at the Calvary Methodist Church in Midrand last night, Mbeki said he was worried about a story he had been hearing that some South Africans were asking what would happen to them now that Mandela had passed away.

“This has come across to some people as a Mandela project. The matter of the unity of our people, both black and white, our reconciliation, our capacity to build a new future together despite what happened in the past – that that vision belonged only to Nelson Mandela and when he departs this vision will depart with him.

“When I hear this story, I say to myself it’s clear there’s some explanation that needs to be made. It is even necessary to say to the people who are worried, who are concerned and panicking, it is necessary to say to them, ‘but the rest of us are here’.

“The rest of us surely are not going to allow that something disastrous happens to other South Africans because Madiba has died,” Mbeki said.

He said Madiba was an “outstanding representative” of a vision of reconciliation, which had been advanced by past liberation struggle leaders such as Albert Luthuli. That is what should be taught about Mandela, he said, who represented “an equally outstanding generation”.

Mbeki quoted a letter Luthuli wrote to then Prime Minister JG Strijdom in 1958 calling for a negotiated settlement as an example of this:

“... Never has my congress preached hatred of any racial group in the country. On the contrary, it has stretched out its hand of friendship to South Africans of all races, emphasising that there is sufficient room for all of us in this beautiful country in which we can and must live in peace and friendship.

“I would, for emphasis, reiterate that it is our ardent desire in congress to see human conduct and relations motivated by an overriding passion for peace and friendship in South Africa and the world in general. And so we would be as strongly opposed to black domination or any other kind of domination from whatever source as we are uncompromisingly opposed to white domination. We regard domination, exploitation and racialism as arch-enemies of mankind...”

Mbeki said it was wrong to say this vision Luthuli outlined belonged only to Mandela, and for anyone to be fearful in 2013.

He lauded Mandela and his generation for calling for freedom in their lifetime and fighting to achieve that goal. He said South Africans owed this generation for all the positive outcomes it had achieved to end oppression.

More still needed to be done to achieve reconciliation, as well as to reduce poverty in South Africa.

“It can’t be that national reconciliation consists in our ability to drink tea together,” he said

Mbeki lamented the quality of leadership in South Africa, saying that the country needed to raise the bar to deal with its complex problems.

When Mbeki finished his speech, the mourners sang, “Thabo Mbeki, Buya Thabo” (Thabo Mbeki, come back Thabo).

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.