Don’t elevate my name only, says Madiba

2011-08-05 13:13

Former President Nelson Mandela has urged South Africans not to forget those involved in the struggle against apartheid, his grandson Mandla Mandela has said.

“I spoke to him today and he said you must insist that not only my name is elevated, because there are many people who played a huge role in the struggle.”

He was speaking during the launch of an R8-million museum and memorial along the R103 near Howick, outside Pietermaritzburg, where Mandela was arrested 49 years ago.

“That is the message my grandfather told me to convey to you today,” Mandla Mandela said.

His grandfather had made mention of the late Govan Mbeki and Raymond Mhlaba, who lived in Port Elizabeth. Despite this the municipality, which incorporates the city of Port Elizabeth, had been named after the former president.

He said the former president described Howick as a land rich in heritage and history.

“We are happy that you have taken this initiative, but I also urge you not to forget others who also walked the same journey with him,” he said.

The project was funded by the KwaZulu-Natal department of cooperative governance. It would include a museum and a Nelson Mandela statue. The farm near the site had already been purchased. Its farm house was currently being used for an exhibit on Mandela’s journey.

Cooperative governance MEC Nomusa Dube said of the site: “It allows us an opportunity to follow the footprints of a man whose long walk to freedom suffered a temporary setback in these hills when he was detained, and marked the last day of his freedom for many years.”

Mandela was driving an Austin Westminster from Groutville, with his friend and comrade Cecil Williams.

They were going to meet former ANC president Albert Luthuli when they were stopped and Mandela was arrested on August 5, 1962. Mandela was posing as Williams’ chauffeur.

Williams had fetched Mandela from Botswana and taken him to Groutville after his visit to various African countries.

When Mandela was given the freedom of Howick in 1993, he visited the site where he was arrested and gave an account of what happened that day.

When he was approached by Pietermaritzburg police he told them his name was David. They told him he was Nelson Mandela and arrested him.

He was released from captivity 27 years later.

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