Matanzima: Booing incident poured dirty water on Mandela’s struggle

2013-12-15 10:00

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Chief Ngangomhlaba Matanzima says the behaviour of the people – who booed President Jacob Zuma at the Nelson Mandela’s memorial – should not be repeated.

Speaking on behalf of the Madibas in isiXhosa at the funeral of former president Nelson Mandela, Matanzima suggested that the mourners abused the freedom Mandela had fought for by behaving the way they did.

“What happened at the stadium was a shame ... It poured dirty water on what Dalibhunga (Nelson Mandela) served time on the (Robben) Island for,” he said.

This had also embarrassed the country in front of other nations, he said.

“May the people of South Africa, the ANC and abaThembu learn from his example from what has been said about Dalibhunga’s life,” Matanzima said.

He also paid tribute to the Mase, Madikizela and Machel families for the women who had cared for Mandela. He said it was doubtful if anyone could have taken care of Mandela in his last years the way Graça Machel had done.

He also thanked his doctors for helping prolong his life.

Mandela’s friend and comrade Ahmed Kathrada, who served part of his 26 years in jail with Madiba, spoke movingly about seeing his friend in hospital looking like a “shadow” of himself.

He said Mandela tightly held his hand in hospital, and that flooded him with emotion. He reminisced about the boxer who trained vigorously in jail and wielded the pick and shovel when others could not (in the quarries).

Kathrada said Mandela had gone to join the ANC A-team that had fought for a nonsexist and nonracial South Africa. He said this team included Govan Mbeki, Joe Slovo, Monty Naicker, Braam Fischer, Lilian Ngoyi, Albertina Sisulu and others.

He said he wished this generation would take up cudgels to face the country’s many challenges, and said it would be guided by Mandela’s vision as it does so.

“In your lifetime and death, you united South Africa on a scale never seen before in history,” Kathrada said.

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