We must live the legacy of Mandela – Thabo Mbeki

2018-07-18 17:48
Thabo Mbeki celebrates Madiba's 100 centenary at the late statesman's Houghton home, with friends and family. (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

Thabo Mbeki celebrates Madiba's 100 centenary at the late statesman's Houghton home, with friends and family. (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

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Former president Thabo Mbeki says, in order to achieve the legacy of Nelson Mandela, we need to move forward as a country. 

"To be the legacy must mean that we really have a look at what have we done that has not worked, and therefore what is it that we need to do to make sure that this perspective is actually achieved," Mbeki said. 

Mbeki was speaking on the sidelines of an event at the late Mandela's primary residence in Houghton, Johannesburg. 

On Wednesday, Mandela would have turned 100 years old. 

His centenary is being celebrated across the world. 

The event at his Houghton home was also attended by, among others, human rights lawyer George Bizos, Thebe Tourism Group (TTG) CEO Jerry Mabena and Nelson Mandela Foundation CEO Sello Hatang.  

Mbeki said the main challenge was to live Mandela's legacy.

READ: Obama warns of 'strange and uncertain times' in Mandela tribute  

"After all of these years of democracy, our country still has all of these major problems and I think, to be the legacy of Mandela, it must mean that we actually achieve actual movement forward.

"We are so glad that everybody responded to the call to celebrate this centenary, but I am saying the principle thing is the need to respond to that challenges, to be the legacy in very practical ways."

Taking to the podium on a chilly Wednesday morning, Mandela's former chef, Xoliswa Ndoyiya, reminisced about what it was like making sure he had his daily meals on time. 

The day Mandela requested Frosties

"It was in this house that we had sleepless nights when Codesa [negotiations to end apartheid] started. We had to wake up at 03:00 to make sure he is well fed at the time. It was in this house where I experienced uncle Bizos embrace our own home food."  

"Tata had no superior complex. He used to tell us that to share with people is not a sin. Even with the little you have, you have to share," she said.

Ndoyiya shared other fond memories of the days when Mandela disciplined his grandchildren, and on the hosting of presidents across the world. 

WATCH: Was Mandela a hero or a 'sell-out'?

She jokingly said that Mandela had eaten the same porridge with nuts, sultanas and raisins for over 19 years, but had asked for Frosties once.

When she asked Mandela the reasons for the sudden change, he told her: "Sit down here darling, listen here and listen to me carefully, I have honoured my mother enough."

"When I looked at him, I thought to myself, I have represented the old lady who made him eat the same porridge every day," she said. 

Mabena announced that, together with the foundation, TTG would help restore the home. 

He said the home would be "a place of scholarship and reflection", adding that it must provide visitors with additional insights into the Mandela heritage. 

Read more on:    nelson mandela  |  thabo mbeki  |  johannesburg  |  mandela 100

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