Madiba’s Mthatha memorial heaps praise on ANC

2013-12-12 16:23

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Mthatha paid its respects to Nelson Mandela at a religious, traditional and politically charged memorial service today.

The service, held at the FSD Further Education and Training College, started off with traditional leaders escorting Madiba’s spirit home to his ancestors. Imphepho (incense) was burnt on the stage where a healer sung out Madiba’s clan names and bade him farewell.

The service was organised by the OR Tambo District Municipality in collaboration with the regional ANC branch.

The overflowing hall was packed with green, yellow and black ANC memorabilia.

Many people were wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Vote for ANC. Do it for Madiba.”

ANC T-shirts and other branded clothes were handed out during the proceedings. The service was disrupted as people walked out of the hall to get the freebies.

When opposition parties were called on to pay homage, only the UDM was available.

Wandile Tsipa spoke briefly on behalf of the UDM, then thanked the ANC for sharing Mandela.

“To the ANC we say that you were brave for giving this country and the world Madiba and not keeping him to yourself,” he said.

Cosatu representative Comrade Zoko said the only way Madiba could rest was if the alliance was kept sacrosanct.

“Madiba has already opened a branch in heaven. He will only rest in peace if we hold the alliance together,” he said.

The SA National Civic Organisation’s Zukile Luyenge said the only way to honour Mandela’s memory was to be behind the ANC all the way.

“We need to make sure that the ANC receives the two-thirds majority next year. Today we are sad but we’ll be celebrating next year. The death of Madiba has meant the revival of the alliance,” he said as the crowd shouted “Viva!”

Keynote speaker, ANC general secretary Gwede Mantashe, took the podium after the Luyanda Spiritual Group’s heartfelt performance dedicated to the ANC.

Mantashe spoke about Madiba’s upbringing and his disciplined childhood.

“There’s no way you can be an icon if you’re not disciplined. You can come to the ANC, we’ll try our best to instil it in you, but if you weren’t brought up well there’s very little we can do.”

He added that Mandela was a stalwart of the ANC and no matter how people tried to take him away from the party, they would not succeed.

“The ANC shaped Mandela and he has gone [on] to shape other leaders. He has always refused to take credit for the liberation that came with the ANC.

It’s not about him but about his work.”

Mantashe closed off the service saying that everyone should mourn as they wish but should never sit down and become hopeless.

“Cry if you want to cry, dance and sing if you want to but don’t sit and channel the pain of losing Mandela or you’ll become hopeless. You can’t be hopeless just because Mandela died,” he said.

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