Zille honours Mandela legacy to mark Heritage Day

2009-09-25 00:00

DEMOCRATIC Alliance Leader Helen Zille commemorated Nelson Mandela’s legacy of non-racism on Heritage Day — a legacy she said many people are betraying these days.

Speaking at the site in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands where Mandela was captured 37 years ago, Zille said it has become easy for people running out of argument to turn around and accuse their detractors of being racist. When this happens, remember Mandela’s legacy, she said.

The DA leader quoted Mandela’s words, spoken from the dock at the Rivonia trial, and pledged that her party would read these words every Heritage Day.

Mandela had said: “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 with equal opportunities.

“It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to see realised. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Zille added that if Mandela had been sentenced to death in that trial it would have been impossible for South Africa to have a peaceful transition to democracy that celebrates one nation with one future. She thanked him for that vision.

DA provincial chairman Greg Krumbock said it was appropriate the meeting was held at the Nelson Mandela capture site because Madiba is an icon who belongs to all South Africans.On Heritage Day, he added, the party will also celebrate the lives of men and women from the diverse communities whose lives epitomise the ideals of a united South Africa.

Zille was joined yesterday by the former premier of KZN, Frank Mdlalose, former Chatsworth Woman of the Year Kanagie Pillay and anti-apartheid activist and Black Sash member Rita Easton.

Mdlalose told the gathering that Heritage Day is to remember the past, but not dwell on it. He said there is a need to use the foundation laid by leaders like Mandela to move to a better future.

“I know that the future belongs to the democratic forces in South Africa,” Mdlalose said.

 

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