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LIMPOPO NELSON MANDELA LECTURE, 10 JULY 2012

President Jacob Zuma delivers the Lecture

Departure for Vhembe
A colleague and I left Polokwane some two hours before midday to beat the scheduled midday deadline for accreditation. We were in good spirits and spoke in animated tones all the way to Thohoyandou in the Vhembe district of the Limpopo province.

There was no way we couldn’t be excited. This was the day President Jacob Zuma was to deliver the Centinnial Commemorative Lecture on Nelson Mandela. Only 4,000 places were available at the venue of the lecture, Worship House Church Centre in the Shayandima Township, Thohoyandou. My colleague and I fell among the luck 4,000 – hence our uncontrollable excitement.

The Media was equally excited, and had for almost a month hedged bets that President Jacob Zuma would not enter his no go area of Limpopo. The ANC Youth League in the province added fuel to these rumours of possible annarchy by hosting their expelled president Julius Malema and making beligerent statements against President Zuma.

Accreditation

On arrival in Thohoyandou, we reported to the Accreditation Centre for screening and issuance of the tags and the wristbands coloured to suit your category of guests. Without both the tag and the band entry to the venue of the lecture would be denied.

Security was tight at the centre too. Our accreditation as special guests went smoothly. Two hours remained before the lecture. We resorted to go for a bite before leaving for the lecture.

At The Venue

At the venue security was even tighter with the police, MK veterans and ANC Marshalls complementing one another to ensure that guests are safe and secure. There was lso a razor-wire belt around the church centre.

Thanks to our tags, arm-bands and early arrival, our entrance was with ease and without incident. We were ushered to prime seats not far from the exquisitely decorated stage. This gave me a good vantage point to take photographs as I had brought along a  to immortalise the day.
Confrontation

Over time the massive arena-like hall started to fill up as guests started to arrive. There was however concern that accreditation was slow and would see many still being processed when the lecture starts.

Whilst waiting for President Jacob Zuma and other leaders, the Church Choir and Band kept us entertained.

It was in the midst of the musical interludes that the ANC Youth League provincial secretary Jacob Lebogo walked in with his provincial chairperson Rudzani Ludere and Jossi Butane. They arrogantly made the rolling hands gesture of change in leadership. Lebogo was joined by Ludere and Bhutane in these provocative gestures. Their dance and song didn’t go very far as the Umkhonto-we-Sizwe Veterans Association (MKVA) were soon on them boots and all.

In this melee pepper spray was released, throwing everyone  within inhaling distance to cough and have itchy eyes.

Nelson Mandela Memorial Lecture

It was after an hour that the President of the ANC and the Republic of South Africa took to the podium to deliver a moving lecture that put the icon of the country’s struggle for freedom, Nelson Mandela, into the context of the struggle for liberation in the country and elsewhere in the world.

I was mightily enriched and motivated when I left the venue at the end of the lecture.

Happy Birthday Ahmed Kathrada

August 21, 2009 Leave a comment
Ahmed Kathrada

Ahmed Kathrada

One of the two surving treason trialists Ahmed Kathrada turned 80 today, the other being Dr Nelson Mandela who celebrated his 91st birthday recently.

Through out his life Kathrada served the people of South Africa with distinction, more especially during the difficult days of the struggle for liberation. His name will always have a place of pride in the hearts of his country men and women.

After Mandela had been elected president of South Africa he appointed Kathrada as his parliamentary counsellor in recognition and celebration of  his immense contribution to the leberation of the country and its people.

It is sad that many who bore the brunt of apartheid repression during the era of Kathrada are no more and with them went a part of the institutional memory of our struggle.

Let us celebrate by learning as much as we can from  stalwarts like Kathrada while they are still alive for tomorrow they will no longer with us.