Madiba 20

'Our collective spirit soared'

2010-02-10 14:39

Special Report

Obama calls Mandela
Obama calls Mandela

US President Barack Obama has called former president Nelson Mandela to mark the 20th anniversary of his release from prison.

Statement by Archbishop Desmond Tutu on the 20th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison...

“While politicians dwell on the political significance of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, it is fitting on this momentous 20th anniversary of the event for all South Africans to remember where we come from.

“For the victory belonged not just to his beloved political organisation, the ANC, but to all the people of our dear land.

“Apartheid created a nation of victims and survivors: The indignity and brutality of the system affected us all, and the fact that South Africa has one of the widest gaps in the world between its rich and poor citizens is a painful and enduring legacy.

“This gap between rich and poor does not relate solely to income. It is a gap that was systemically levered through the deliberate creation of inferior and degrading social conditions for black people.

“It touched all aspects of our lives, from the dumbed down so-called Bantu education to non-existent health care and the building of dormitory townships with crummy houses and no recreational facilities. When there were deemed to be too many black people in any particular area, the people were simply trucked away, like cattle.

“The day Nelson Mandela walked free from Victor Verster Prison our collective spirit soared. It was a day that promised the beginning of the end of indignity. Four years later we voted for the first time. Some termed the new South Africa a miracle, the Rainbow Nation of God.

“Now, 20 years and four national elections down the line, our infant democracy is learning to walk. So much has been achieved, and there is so much yet to achieve.

“When we look around us and see the number of our compatriots still living in squalor, attending under-equipped schools, crammed like sardines into unsafe minibus taxis… we wonder when the fruit of democracy will reach the tables of all of our people.

“If we really want to make a difference we must recapture the spirit of that day of Nelson Mandela’s release. We must recapture the spirit of pride once articulated by Steve Biko.

“We must not forget the past.”

 

Read more on:    nelson mandela  |  desmond tutu

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