Liv­ing up to Man­dela’s legacy

Public Sector Manager - - MESSAGE FROM THE MINISTER -

This year’s Man­dela Month is par­tic­u­larly spe­cial, be­cause it serves as the fo­cal point of the Nel­son Man­dela Cen­te­nary Year. On 18 July,Tata Madiba would have turned 100 years old. For most of us South Africans, the mem­ory of his pass­ing in 2013 still burns as bright as if it hap­pened yes­ter­day.

We all have an op­por­tu­nity to use this mem­ory to hon­our Madiba’s legacy. This is the per­fect time to ex­plore what the Man­dela Cen­te­nary Year stands for and to en­sure that we con­tinue up­hold­ing all the ideals that Man­dela lived by.

The cen­te­nary theme of “Be the Legacy” en­cour­ages all South Africans to hon­our Pres­i­dent Man­dela’s spirit of gen­eros­ity, in­tegrity, hu­mil­ity and per­se­ver­ance. The in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity has also been in­vited to share in this year-long cel­e­bra­tion of a re­mark­able man whose ac­tions echoed around the world.

What were these ac­tions, and why should we be cel­e­brat­ing the life and legacy of Tata Madiba?

The most re­mark­able as­pect of Madiba’s life was his fear­less and self­less pur­suit of free­dom, not for him­self, but for the peo­ple of South Africa. Few of us can say that we would be will­ing to risk ar­rest, years of im­pris­on­ment and in­deed our lives, to fight for the free­dom of oth­ers. We must our­selves be brave enough to stand against in­jus­tice and in­equal­ity.

This year is also the cen­te­nary year of Mama Al­bertina Nontsikelelo Sisulu who would have turned 100 on 21 Oc­to­ber.

The Al­bertina Sisulu Cen­te­nary is be­ing held un­der the theme “A Woman of For­ti­tude”.

Mama Sisulu was a coura­geous woman who fought against apartheid in­jus­tice.

It was Mama Sisulu who nom­i­nated Tata Madiba for the high­est of­fice in 1994.

Twenty-four years later the two are not only cel­e­brat­ing their cen­te­nar­ies, but are be­ing cel­e­brated for their im­mea­sur­able sac­ri­fices in the strug­gle for free­dom.

Man­dela lived his life with the ut­most in­tegrity. He never strayed from the val­ues he be­lieved in. Even af­ter 27 years of im­pris­on­ment, he was not bit­ter or re­sent­ful. He man­aged to for­give the ap­palling ac­tions of his op­pres­sors, and more than this, called for a peace­ful har­mony be­tween all South Africans. Through these ac­tions, we avoided what could have been a vi­o­lent tran­si­tion to democ­racy, and gained world­wide ad­mi­ra­tion for the way such a com­plex and ex­plo­sive sit­u­a­tion was dealt with. We too must seek to be for­giv­ing and live our lives with in­tegrity.

Man­dela valued ser­vice to the peo­ple above all else. He spoke of this ideal through­out his life, and when he passed on in 2013, he had fully lived up to one of the many quotes he had made about be­ing self­less.

He said:“When a man has done what he con­sid­ers to be his duty to his peo­ple and his coun­try, he can rest in peace. I be­lieve I have made that ef­fort and that is, there­fore, why I will sleep for the eter­nity.”

And this is what Man­dela Day is truly about. Al­though he lived a life that can be ad­mired in many ways, Man­dela first and fore­most wanted to see a South Africa where we all serve one another. Let us strive to live this phi­los­o­phy ev­ery day.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­ter Nomvula Mokonyane.

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