Mandela’s long walk is over, but ours is ongoing – Ramaphosa

2014-12-05 13:25

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The spirit of former president Nelson Mandela lives on and inspires the nation, says acting President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“Though we no longer feel his physical presence, his spirit continues to inspire us. It continues to fortify us,” Ramphosa said today in Pretoria, at a commemoration of Mandela’s death.

“His spirit enjoins us to continue to strive for peace, freedom and justice.”

Mandela’s walk to freedom was over and he could rest, he said.

“His long walk is over, but ours is ongoing. He has passed the baton to us and every day we need to prove ourselves equal to the task of liberating ourselves and others from hunger, poverty, hopelessness, inequality and unemployment.”

Ramaphosa said Mandela had taught everyone that the human spirit was capable of triumphing over adversity.

The statesman had taught humility and honesty.

“He taught us that leaders must see themselves as, and behave like, servants of the people.”

Mandela had followed the advice of his fellow African revolutionary Amílcar Cabral, who wrote: “Hide nothing from the masses of our people. Tell no lies, mask no difficulties, mistakes, failures. Claim no easy victories.”

South Africa faced many problems, Ramaphosa said.

“There are many who would despair ...

“There are many who would abandon entirely the effort to build a new nation, and retreat to an insular and sheltered existence, but not us, not the people of South Africa, for we are the children of Mandela.

“We are the sons and daughters of [Albert] Luthuli, [Walter] Sisulu, [OR] Tambo, [Lilian] Ngoyi, [Yusuf] Dadoo, [Moses] Mabhida, Charlotte Maxeke, [Chris] Hani, and [Joe] Slovo,” he said to applause.

“We have learnt valuable nationbuilding lessons at their feet.”

Corruption should be defeated, he said.

“We must treat corruption for what it is – an assault on the poor and an affront to our liberty. We must build the kind of society to which Nelson Mandela dedicated his life.”

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