Statement at the unveiling of the Thokoza monument, Thokoza – 1999/10/16

Thokoza 16 October 1999

Master of Ceremonies,
President of the IFP and Minister of Home Affaris, Nkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi,
Deputy President of the ANC and the Republic, Comrade Jacob Zuma
Ms. Maseko, Mayor of Alberton,
Premier of Gauteng, Comrade Mbbazima Shilowa,
Premier of KwaZulu-Natal and Chairperson of the IFP, Comrade Lionel Mtshali,
Your Grace, Bishop Mvume Dandala and ot religious leaders,
Comrades leaders of the IFP and the ANC,
Ministers, MEC’s and Members of the Diplmatic Corps,
Mayors, Councillors and Community Leaders,
People of Thokoza, East Gauteng and the rest of the country,
Members amd Representatives of the mass media,
Ladies and Gentleman, Comrades and friends.

Let us rise and honour the memory of a great African patriot, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.

We pay tribute to him because.

  • he fought for the liberation of all Africans; he fought for the unity of our Continent;
  • he struggled so that all Africans should live in conditions of peace; ignorance and disease;
  • he did everything he could to ensure that South Africa becomes a democratic, non-racial,nonsexist and prosperous country;
  • he did everything he could to ensure that Africa takes her rightful place among the nations of the world.

We meet here today to pay tribute to all the people of Thokoza and others in our country who lost their lives during the violence that engulfed not only this township but also many other areas of our county in the early 1990’s and other periods of our hist ory.

We thank Dr. Mojapelo and other organisers of the Thokoza Monument for the work they have done. They have reminded everyone of us in these townships and beyond that we belong together.

We may support different political parties, worship at different churches and belong to seperate cultural and social groupings. and yet, we are all Africans. We are faced with the same problems of poverty, unemployment and homelessness.

In the early 1990s we know that Thokoza was a place of terrible violence and hardships for the people who lived here.

Many of our sons and daughters, mothers, fathers and relatives died when one African fought another, when relatives turned on their own kith and kin, when it seemed as though we had, embarked on a path of self-destruction.

When we did all these terrible things to ourselves, we took a position which said that if I belong to the ANC then any member of Inkatha is my enemy and vice versa.

For some time we lost our focus. We forgot what the real problem was and targeted those with whom we should have been walking towards freedom.

Happily, we have refocused our attention on the fact that as members of Inkatha and ANC we come from the same constituency. We are products of the same conditions. We are shaped by one history and one tradition.

Our fears, aspirations and daily challenges are the same. Our destiny is inextricably interwoven. The freedom that we enjoy today, with its challenges and opportunities, belongs to all of us.

If anyone were to suggest that this freedom that we fought so hard to ahieve belongs to the ANC or to Inkatha alone, we would all agree that such a person was either mad or very ignorant.

Therefore, today we remember all our people who died here in Thokoza as well as in many other places, not as people belonging to Inbkatha or to the ANC, but as our people, as South Africans who died in the course of our common struggle for liberation.

We must once more pledge ourselves that we will never allow a situation where one South African treats another as an enemy.

We must refuse to allow for thesituation to return where our people do not see themselves as brothers and sisters of one South African nation.

We must deny our common enemy the possibility to drive us into seperate battles for separate solutions to our country’s problems.

We must agree that we will never allow the ideology of aparthied and its separate mentalities to play its sinister part in fuelling animosity, hatred and violence amongst our people.

As we look back with anger at those times of apartheid oppression, we must pledge ourselves that he violence of that period will never return to haunt us.

The people of Thokoza, the people of South Africa, must live and work in peace, to build a prosperous country of which we can all be proud.

We commit ourselves to national values of peace, reconciliation and unity. these are the essential conditions that must define us as a people.

You, the people of thokoza and East Gauteng sacrificed everything so that we could be free. You endured much suffereing so that we should end the system of apartheid.

Through your struggles, you brought us where we are today. Because of your determination, we have won.

That victory also ensured that all humanity triumphs against a system that offended everything which ordinary men and woman everywhere in the world considered just and humane.

Our suffering has born fruit and we have performed great deeds together and still wish to do more. We have been our own liberators and will continue to work together towards for our total liberation from the shackles of the past, for an end to poverty and joblessness, for a better life for all.

As we remember our past, we must also be aware that this rich history of struggle and commitment to the cause of the people contributed to make us who and what we are today. But we must also ensure that it also contributes to ensuring that we remain dedica ted to the goal of freedom and a better life for all our people.

We are here not only to remember he tragedies in our past, but also to build the future. The Thokoza Monument must symbolise a new begining. It must be a sign of healing and hope for the people of this area and for the whole of our country. With this monum ent, with this place of rememberance, we say that our future is one of mutual care, of sharing, of co-operation, of common efforts, of a common life as one people.

In the planning and preparation for the erection of this monument, the people of Thokoza have demonstrated to us that they can work together in peace, that there is a community at work with the common will to build a great nation.

I believe that there there are men and women of commitment, people who belive in our common humanity, who have worked long and hard hours and months to put this dream together, which has culminated in the official unveiling of the Thokoza Monument.

From today let us all work together to make the Katorus area a model which the whole of our country will follow.

Let us together rebuild communities that care for one another, where civic responsibility reigns supreme, where we all work hard to make our area habitable and where our youth enjoy the pleasures of youth, of playing sport together, of debating ideas and h elping their elders.

Let us together create a peaceful, prosperous and better future for all our people.

Those who died for our freedom will not be satisfied with anything less than our own commitment to a free and peaceful South Africa, a South Africa in which we shall banish poverty and underdevelopment.

To achieve these goals, we must draw on the spirit which made it possible for us here, in an area of our country where so many died, (for us) to make peace among ourselves and to begin the difficult work of building a better life for all.

We have embarked on the road to success for all the people of our country. There is no turning back!

Amandla ngawethu!

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