Cyril re­lives Man­dela

The Citizen (KZN) - - News - Eric Naki

Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa is go­ing back where he was on 11 Fe­bru­ary 1990: on the bal­cony of the Cape Town City Hall where he stood next to Nel­son Man­dela, pic­tured, as he ad­dressed the crowd on his re­lease from prison.

Ramaphosa will that day de­liver The Speech that birthed A Na­tion, 30 years on to com­mem­o­rate Man­dela’s re­lease from Victor Ver­ster Prison.

Af­ter a long walk from the prison near Paarl, ac­com­pa­nied by his then wife, Win­nie Madik­izela-Man­dela, Madiba was trans­ported to the Marine Pa­rade to talk to the peo­ple for the first time in 27 years.

The Nel­son Man­dela Foun­da­tion, which or­gan­ised the com­mem­o­ra­tion, will host three events in the West­ern Cape.

The day will be­gin with a re­union of the orig­i­nal re­cep­tion com­mit­tee that fa­cil­i­tated Madiba’s re­turn to Victor Vester at 8am; a lec­ture by No­bel Peace Prize Lau­re­ate Leymah Gbowee and a panel dis­cus­sion with Danai Mupotsa, au­thor of Feel­ing and Ugly, and Opal Tometi, co-founder of Black Lives Mat­ter at noon at the City Hall, be­fore the ad­dress by Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa was part of the re­cep­tion com­mit­tee and a pop­u­lar face around Madiba dur­ing the re­lease, sport­ing a beard and long hair.

The foun­da­tion said this year’s com­mem­o­ra­tion will con­sider the “new pris­ons of Africa” that have come to de­fine life for many and fo­cus on how to achieve sub­stan­tive lib­er­a­tion.

“These ‘pris­ons’ range from the phys­i­cal pris­ons that have led to high lev­els of in­car­cer­a­tion and the fail­ures of restora­tive jus­tice, to the ef­fec­tive pris­ons that de­fine our lives, such as the vi­o­lence that keeps peo­ple in their homes, to the pris­ons of the mind that keep peo­ple within a par­tic­u­lar un­der­stand­ing of them­selves,” it said yes­ter­day.

The com­mem­o­ra­tions, hap­pen­ing shortly be­fore Ramaphosa’s State of the Na­tion ad­dress in par­lia­ment, are “a time for re­flec­tion, plan­ning and to bring the his­tor­i­cal nar­ra­tive of the coun­try into fo­cus while as­sess­ing the state of South Africa look­ing at where we have come from and where we are go­ing”.

“It is an im­mensely his­tor­i­cal oc­ca­sion that cel­e­brates the legacy of Man­dela and the hard-won free­doms we en­joy to­day,” the foun­da­tion said.

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