Key note address by Minister Paul Mashatile on the occasion to celebrate the 94th Birthday of Former President Nelson Mandela

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18 Jul 2012

Programme Director
Acting Premier of the North West Province
Kgosi Moiloa and other traditional leaders here present
Ba Ruti badiphutheho ka kgafarulugana
Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, Dr. Joe Phaahla
Ministers and Deputy Ministers here present
Members of the Provincial Legislature
Mayors and Councillors here present
Leaders of political parties
Chief Whip of the Majority Party in the National Assembly, Dr Mathole Motshega
Ladies and Gentlemen:


Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Minister of Home Affairs, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma on being elected as the new Chair of the African Union Commission.

We wish her well in her new role and we have no doubt that she will serve our Continent with distinction.

Malibongwe igama lamakhosikazi!
Let me also take this opportunity to thank all of you for joining us today to celebrate the birthday of the Father our nation Tata Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

Lets all say Happy birthday Tata Happy birthday!

Today we mark Tata Madiba’s 94th birthday.
The 18th of July was declared in 2009 by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Nelson Mandela Day.

The celebration of Mandela Day recognizes and honours our former President’s commitment to the objective of building a National Democratic Society; that is united, non racial, non sexist, democratic and prosperous. 

It also honours his contribution to the reconstruction and development of our country and to the equally important task of building a Better Africa and a Better World. 
On this day, and indeed during the entire month of July, citizens of the world and in particular all South Africans, are encouraged to dedicate at least 67 minutes of their time to do community work in celebration of the values and principles that our first democratic President stood for.

The 67 minutes symbolize Madiba’s 67 years of selfless service to the people of South Africa and the world in the course of his extraordinary life.

Nelson Mandela Day is an opportunity for all South Africans to set aside time to be of service to fellow human beings.

In honoring Madiba since yesterday we have been in Lehuruste to celebrate with you the life of this icon, by visiting and painting schools, donating books, hoisting the South African Flag in schools and doing various other community service activities.

Together with the Municipality we have also handed over two houses to the needy and facilitated the renovation of two other houses in this area.

We have done all of this because of the inspiration and lessons we draw from the life of Tata Madiba.

We have also done this because as this government, the government that Tata Madiba once led as its first democratically elected President, is about making a change in the lives of our people!

I would like to thank each and everyone of you for taking time for making a change in the lives of our people.

Tata Madiba, today we want to once more make a commitment to continue to emulate the values of Ubuntu, humility, respect, caring for others, which we have learned through your exemplary life.

From you we once more leant that; Motho, ke motho ka batho.
Inspired by the life of Tata Madiba, as the People of South Africa we must continue to work together to change the lives of our people for the better.

We must work together to continue to provide quality education and health care, to build safer communities, to create more job opportunities, ensure rural development and to build sustainable livelihoods for all.

Programme Director, on the 4th and 5th of this month, more than a thousand delegates from across the length and breadth our country, representing all racial groups converged in Kliptown for the National Summit on Social Cohesion.

Inspired by the generation of 1955 that come together in Kliptown and adopted the Freedom Charter, those who attended the National Summit on Social Cohesion recommitted themselves to the vision of a united, non racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

Together they pledged to do everything necessary to build a caring, humble and dignified nation.

Delegates to the Social Cohesion Summit agreed on a progranmme of action that will be implemented jointly by government, civil society, labour, business and all other stakeholders.

This programme of action is aimed at assisting us as South Africans to make new and decisive advances towards the noble goal of one nation, one country, one people and a shared destiny that belongs to all who live in it, Black and White, united in our diversity.

Delegates to that historic Summit also resolved to work together to build a society where there is respect, equality and human dignity for all. 

They resolved to promote freedom, the rule of law and democracy, improve the material well being of all citizens and ensure economic justice.

They further committed themselves to enhance sound family and community values; uphold honesty, integrity and loyalty; ensure harmony in culture, belief and conscience; show respect and concern for all people; strive for justice, fairness and peaceful coexistence and to protect the environment.

These values are not only articulated in the Charter of Positive Values which as the Department of Arts and Culture we will continue to promote, but these values are what Tata Mandela’s life is about.

Equally these values are about the kind of society we seek to build; a society reflective of our shared and non-racial destiny.

This is a society that acknowledges that our future is linked and that our prosperity depends on all of us working together.

Programme Director as we celebrate the life of Tata Madiba, we must continue to work hard to address the socio-economic needs of our people.

While massive progress has been made over the past 18 years of freedom and democracy to build a better life for all, the majority of our people continue to grapple on a daily basis with challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

We must therefore continue to work together to find comprehensive responses to these challenges.

This we must do because it is not possible to talk about the total emancipation of the people of South Africa, without ensuring that there is a visible difference in the lives of South Africans.

In particular, we must work together to expand access to employment and other economic opportunities, especially to our young people, women and people with disabilities.

Equally we must work hard to provide our young people with the skills required for them to be absorbed in the economy. 

Programme Director, on this day we recall the words of Tata Madiba who in 2009 said,

“We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference”.

It is in this context that we call on South Africans to take action now and “Make Every Day a Mandela Day”.  

Let us all individually and collectively strive to become agents for building a better and caring society; this is the kind of society that Tata Madiba will be proud of.

I wish you all a Happy Nelson Mandela Day/

Thank you.