Grandsons talk about the legacies left by their political grandfathers

2014-02-12 00:00

MANDLA Mandela yesterday said the legacy of his grandfather, Nelson Mandela, rested upon the shoulders of all South Africans.

His grandfather, Mandla said, regarded the country’s citizens as real heroes and heroines as they had sacrificed more than he did. “As you are seated take a moment to look to your right and left, and ask yourself what your contribution is,” Mandla said. He was speaking at the inaugural memorial lecture of ANC founding president John Langalibalele Dube at Ohlange High in Inanda, where Madiba cast his vote in 1994.

The dignitaries at the lecture included Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, Premier Senzo Mchunu, Tourism’s deputy minister Thokozile Xasa, first lady Bongi Ngema-Zuma, eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo and the families of Dube and Mandela as well as those of Albert Luthuli and Pixley Isaka kaSeme.

Mandela also said: “The baton has been handed over not only to us as descendants of Dube and Mandela, it has been handed to yourselves.”

He told of Madiba’s commitment to education and told of his personal experience when Madiba sent him back to school in Swaziland.

Three days after his release from prison, Madiba asked his grandson if he was not supposed to be at school when they met in the kitchen in his Soweto home.

“I said you are free man and I decided to be a free student. He said ‘nonsense, you must go to school’.

“Such was his commitment to education and building a strong foundation for the future generations of our country.

“He believed education is the weapon that can be utilised to change the world,” Mandela said.

Mchunu said the inaugural lecture should serve as a foundation for great things to come.

“There is no doubt generations and generations will learn from this rich history we are writing today,” he said.

Referring to voter apathy among the youth, he said both Mandela and Dube would have insisted on voting for the ANC, unlike those who show no interest.

“Regardless of whatever you think, you need to vote for the ANC, just doing what exactly Dube would have done and what Mandela would do,” Mchunu said.

Langa Dube, J.L. Dube’s grandson, said the ANC would still govern and a vote for another party would be wasted. He said Dube had not spent much time with his family, but was always there for the benefit of black children and black men.

Radede said both Mandela and Dube had risen to their leadership roles in order to provide solutions to extraordinary challenges.

“This inspires confidence to overcome challenges that may be there,”he said.

“In their time they discharged huge responsibility to free our people from political bondage. They remained humble servants of the people until their demise,” Radebe said, adding that Dube had obliged by leading the ANC after he was elected in absentia.

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