Johannesburg – The newly elected ANC's national executive committee, led by party president Cyril Ramaphosa, has paid a courtesy visit to the family of former ANC president and founding father of South Africa's democracy, Nelson Mandela.
The visit comes ahead of the ANC's 106th birthday celebrations, which are taking place throughout the week in East London.
Last week the party leadership paid homage to its former presidents in KwaZulu-Natal, visiting their families and laying wreaths at their graves.
Madiba's grandson, Nkosi Mandla Mandela, welcomed the leaders to the global icon's Qunu home and told journalists after the meeting that the family was honoured by the courtesy.
"This is the home of the ANC. When they come to our house we are overjoyed. They are paying tribute to the father of our young democracy," he said.
Mandela said the leaders expressed a desire to go to his grandfather's grave but would have to wait for the family to perform rituals ahead of the visit.
"There are necessary steps which must be taken to visit the grave, traditional things which must be adhered to," he said.
These included telling the family and going to Madiba's resting place and informing him of the ANC's intentions.
He added that a cow also needed to be slaughtered in order to cleanse the leaders following their visit.
The family has agreed for the ANC to return on February 11.
Shaking the bones of our forebears
Ramaphosa also addressed community members in Qunu, telling them that the members of the ANC have forced leaders of different persuasions to work together at the ANC's 54th elective congress, which took place in December.
"In the top 6 some were linked to this and that faction and some didn't speak to each other. The NEC's the same story, but membership said we will unite,” he said.
He said branches of the party brought together different views, thought processes and orientations.
"Each one brings a particular strength to the ANC, something new and fresh to the ANC. We can be proud that we have top class leadership," said Ramaphosa.
The ANC president told community members that the new leadership intended on visiting the graves of past leaders of the 106-year-old liberation movement throughout the country.
"We are shaking the bones of our forebears so those bones can come alive and their spirit and flesh can rejuvenate the ANC," said Ramaphosa.
He added that there was a need for the party to reconnect with its constituency.
"We are celebrating our birthday in a different style. We are going to go back to our roots to reconnect with our people," said Ramaphosa.