Be a selfless leader like Mandela was – Jacob Zuma

2014-07-18 18:53

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President Jacob Zuma has urged South Africans to emulate the late former president Nelson Mandela through selfless leadership.

He was speaking at the Mvezo great place in the Eastern Cape this afternoon.

Zuma spent his 67 minutes to mark International Mandela Day cleaning at the Mandela School of Science and Technology in Mvezo.

The school is named after Madiba’s grandfather, Prince Mandela, the son of king Ngubengcuka of the Thembu nation.

Zuma unveiled a giant statue of Prince Mandela at the Mandela school.

The president also opened the Mvezo Komkhulu Museum in Mvezo Great Place before unveiling a life-sized statue of Madiba.

Zuma called on South Africans to make every day a Mandela Day by doing good.

“Madiba did all he could. It is in our hands now. Let us emulate Madiba’s exemplary life because he was a man of action. No one will ever be like him. If we don’t emulate him by doing what is good for others, we would have neglected Madiba’s ideals and what he fought for,” Zuma said.

The president paid tribute to Madiba on the first commemoration of the icon’s birthday after his death in December last year.

“He had so much dignity. He stood for peace and unity and even as he is gone. We will never forget him. He provided hope in hopelessness.

“He was [the] epitome of unity, selflessness, courage and nobility. He will never be forgotten. Just the thought of his memory inspires us to do better and good to others. He was among us but above us,” Zuma said.

This year’s Mandela Day theme was “operation clean-up for Mandela”, which the president said was designed to encourage cooperation, to enhance nation building and cohesion while also creating awareness about the importance of a clean environment.

Zuma decried violent crime and lawlessness and told traditional and religious leaders that citizens needed to be taught about love, peace and ubuntu.

“As a nation we must work together, treat each other with care and respect and live in harmony where there is peace. In this way we would have honoured Madiba,” Zuma said.

He said it was up to those left behind to fight poverty as Madiba had fought for freedom and delivered it.

“We still have a very long walk to walk. Let us unite and build our nation,” Zuma said.

Mandla Mandela, grandson of the late former president and chief of Mvezo, said his famous grandfather had taught them as a family that he did not belong to them but to the rest of the world.

He said the museum had been a dream of the family and the people of AbaThembu so that they could document their culture and heritage.

“We are very proud to have done cleaning this Mandela Day and hope that such actions are not one-day events. This museum will also help us as Thembus to tell our tradition and we will also learn of other nations’ cultures in this museum,” he said.

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