Speech by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma in Manzini, Swaziland at the Cleansing, Healing and Symbolic Reparations, 26th June 2004

Master of Ceremonies,

Your Royal Highnesses

Mntswanenkosi Masitsela, Regional Administrator for the Manzini Region

President of the Senate

Mayor of Manzini

Families of fallen Heroes and Heroines

Your Excellencies Ambassadors and High Commissioners

Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers

Chief of the Defence Force, General Siphiwe Nyanda

Dr Wally Serote, representative of the Freedom Park Trust

Distinguished guests

Comrades and Friends

Ladies and Gentlemen

I bring you warm and fraternal greetings from President Thabo Mbeki, the government and peoples of South Africa. I am happy to be back here in Swaziland, that part of Africa, that has for many years been home to many of us who were forced into exile.

Our condolences to the Royal family, for the loss of Inkosikati Lamgunundvu, nabo Lomzimba, who recently passed away.

Apologies for the families of the fallen heroes and heroines for all the inconvenience caused in the course of the preparations for this occasion.

We, who King Sobhuza II fondly referred to as the "children of Tambo" are greatly honored to be amongst you, the Swazi people, who in our hour of need received us as your own and by so doing gave concrete expression to our common belief that we are indeed of one people. It is also a time full of emotions as we remember those who died so that South Africa should be free. Ngicela kubonga iNkhosi Mswati III ne Ndlovukazi kanye nesive sonke sa KaNgwane natotonkhe tiphatsi mandla ta kaNgwane.

In keeping with this belief, the ANC in its NEC statement of 15 July 1982 stated profoundly that:

"Over the decades, the leaders of the peoples of Swaziland and South Africa have worked strenuously to teach their peoples about the fact that they were in actuality one people who had been forcibly divided by the colonial powers. When the founding fathers, including the distinguished Royal House of Swaziland (Queen Mgwamile Dlamini), voted in January 1912 'to strive to bury the demon of tribalism' they cherished the ideal not of the separation of the peoples of Southern Africa, but of their unification, emphasizing the common African bonds that unite us and pointing to the grave harm done to our welfare by the stress on ethnic divisions."

Pursuant to this belief the late ANC President Oliver Tambo at the funeral of 42 South Africans killed in 1982 during the raid on Maseru, Lesotho by members of the South African Defence Force (SADF):

"The ANC was formed by our people, it is the people. It was formed by the people of this region, by the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Kingdom of Swaziland, by the leaders of Botswana. It is an organisation of this whole region"

Accordingly, those of us who are the beneficiaries of this regional heritage, that President Tambo spoke of, recall with a profound sense of gratitude that, Swaziland under the leadership of King Sobhuza II and true to that great African tradition of solidarity, opened up its homes, schools, universities, and their borders to feed, house, educate, and clothe many of us in the liberation movement who had found refuge in this country.

Indeed as President Nelson Mandela said at the OAU meeting in Tunis 1994:

"When the history of our struggle is written, it will tell a glorious tale of African solidarity, of African's adherence to principles. It will tell a moving story of the sacrifices that the peoples of our continent made to ensure that, that intolerable insult to human dignity, the apartheid crime against humanity, became a thing of the past. It will speak of the contributions of freedom-whose value is as measureless as the gold beneath the soil of our country-the contribution which all of Africa made from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea in the north, to the confluence of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans in the South.

Africa shed her blood and surrendered the lives of her children so that all her children could be free. She gave of her limited wealth and resources so that all of Africa should be liberated. She opened her heart of hospitality and her head so full of wise counsel, so that we should emerge victorious. A million times, she put her hand to the plough that has now dug up the encrusted burden of oppression accumulated for centuries"

Accordingly, it is only correct that we assert today as did King Sobhuza II, Queen Mgwamile Dlamini, President Tambo, President Mandela, President Thabo Mbeki, Moses Mabhida and Stan Mabizela all asserted, that ours is a common destiny tied together by the same history, culture, tradition and language.

Yet our common history also speaks of pain especially just after the death of King Sobhuza II, when the Apartheid regime and its secret agents took advantage of loss of the father of the Swazi nation and actively sought to create a divide between our two peoples.

Accordingly, the apartheid regime would spare nothing in its relentless effort to destroy the ANC wherever it was found, including here in Swaziland.

Consequently and sadly, our common history speaks in pain of a time in which we endured assassinations of so many of our dearest comrades that saw the blood of heroic and brave Africans spilt on this land- Cassius Maake, Lennie Naidoo, Zweli Nyanda, Jabu, Nzima, Nyawose, Keith MacFadden, to mention but a few!

This history also speaks of midnight cross-border raids on refugee camps, police stations and private homes that saw many of our compatriots kidnapped only to resurface in apartheid jails and detention across South Africa.

It speaks of daylight shootouts between cadres of our movement and elements of South African security forces that saw many of people lay down their lives in the noble struggle to free our country.

Yet we know all too well that during this very hour of darkness, this history also speak of the heroic determination of ordinary Swazis, including those who paid the supreme sacrifice like Mr. Nyoga, who continued to assist the people of South Africa in their endeavour to help bring about an end of apartheid.

As we celebrate our 10th year anniversary of freedom, our common destiny demands of us that we confront with honesty and openness our common suffering of the past. Accordingly, we must welcome this effort of traditional cleansing, healing and symbolic reparations as a focused response to what we have to do as Africans to heal our motherland.

It is our hope that through the work of the Freedom Park Trust under the able leadership of Dr. Serote we shall create here, as President Thabo Mbeki said yet another "... place of peace and quiet contemplation, of the silent remembering of the heroes and heroines who have departed from the land of the living, but to whom we owe the gift of liberty.

"… a place to which all our people of all colours, cultures, ages and beliefs, men and women, will come to pay their quiet tribute to those whose memory will never be extinguished, who will live on in every generation that lives, summoning each to be the standard bearers of the cause of the freedom of all humanity.

"It will therefore not be a place of grief and mourning, but of celebration that we and all humanity have such as they whose names will be inscribed in our memories, etched forever in our consciousness, to light our way to the genuine emancipation from oppression, from hunger, and from the tyranny of ignorance, that is due to all human beings."

The ceremony is a reclamation of our collective history, in its true and complete form and a tribute to all those who forged ahead with us in realizing freedom.

Although the days shall pass, each year giving birth to its successor. What has passed becomes the past as time erodes the memory of what was living experience. In their recalling, old joys expand into enlarged pleasure.

Old wounds fade away into forgotten scars or linger on as quiet pain without a minder. Not anymore, today we are saying our old wounds will not fade away into forgotten scars.

This symbolic ceremony is a step further in efforts to work together, to produce a full account of what the people of this region did to contribute to the liberation of South Africa.

I am certain that this initiative will tell a story to generations to come of outstanding courage, heroism, solidarity and commitment to principle, demonstrated by the people of South Africa and the ordinary people of Swaziland during a difficult period of our common history.

It is these bonds of friendship and solidarity forged in the trenches of the struggle against apartheid that demands of a democratic and free South Africa today, as part of the regional African collective leadership, to assist the people of Swaziland to help find a solution to the political and economic challenges that face their country. It is those bonds that will strengthen the spirit of solidarity and friendship and spare us on regional integration, in the implementation of New Partnership for Africa's Development, Nepad. It is those bonds that will see the renewal of our Continent, African Renaissance.

We will do so, in the context of that people's contract, adopted exactly 49 years ago today- The Freedom Charter, which compels us to do so in a manner that respects the rights and sovereignty of all nations; to strive to maintain world peace and the settlement of all international disputes through negotiations. We have to do this in the context of the freedom charter which demands good neighbourliness.

I thank you!

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