FREEDOM ISNT FREE AND NEITHER IS DEMOCRACY
When Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (Aah, Dalibhunga) stepped out of the precincts of Victor Verster Prison as a free man it was a triumphal moment in our march to freedom and democracy.
This day marks his release with the full gravity of the meaning of the word release. More than a release this day marks the victory of international solidarity over oppression, brutality and the inhumanity of apartheid.
It was the collective efforts of all our people in the internal resistance led by the mass democratic movement, those incarcerated, our leadership and cadres in exile, the military formations of the liberation movement and the global Anti-Apartheid Movement that coalesced to secure our global icon’s liberation from 27 years of incarceration.
11th February 1990 was a glorious day in our march to freedom and democracy but that journey is far from over in South Africa and the world as he reminded us that ‘as long as there is one human being suffering anywhere in the world our struggle is far from over’.
The day of President Mandela’s liberation is therefore a day of reflection and introspection. Not the kind of reflection that merely fills newspaper columns, academic journals and decorates social media; we need to be brutally be honest with ourselves and be true to our longstanding tradition of self-correction and taking remedial action. We must take action that advances our strategic goals and addresses the concerns and needs of our people.
Madiba’s liberation on this day must be a renewed commitment to the values of the founding fathers of our liberation and our democracy.
We have come a long way since that day that uTatomkhulu triumphantly raised his fist signalling that people’s power had triumphed. This image must be etched in our minds as we pursue our daily quest to rid our country of poverty, hunger and inequality. It must drive us to be relentless in its pursuit.
Let this day forever be a celebration of the power of the people to liberate and change the course of destiny. We salute the memory of President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and call on all in leadership to commit to serve the people and eschew the pervasive culture of self-serving myopia.
Let us all walk tall with our heads held high like he did on this triumphal day. Tomorrow a new dawn awaits because the people are their own best liberators and we either serve them or they will choose others who will serve and lead them like Madiba did.
Nkosi Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela, chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council and grandson of famed South African President Nelson Mandela. Member of Parliament (MP) South Africa National Assembly. All articles by Nkosi Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela