Opening address by Honourable Premier R.M. Mtshweni-Tsipane on the occasion of the 35th commemmoration of the Mbuzini tragedy

19 October 2021

Programme Director;
Your Excellency, President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr. Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa;
Your Excellency, President of the Republic of Mozambique, Mr. Filipe Nyusi;
Honourable Minister of Arts and Culture in the Republic of Mozambique, Mr. Silva Armando Dunduro and other senior Government officials;
Honourable Minister of Arts and Culture in South Africa, Mr Nathi Mthethwa;
Ministers and Deputy Ministers from the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Mozambique present;
Members of the Executive Council from the Mpumalanga Provincial Government present;
The leadership of Ehlanzeni District Municipality led by the Acting Mayor, Cllr Shongwe;
Our host, the Executive Mayor of Nkomazi Local Municipality, Cllr Johan Mkhatshwa;
All Executive Mayors in our midst;
uMama Graca Machel and the Machel family;
The Chairperson of the Mpumalanga Provincial House of Traditional Leaders, Inkhosi SG Ngomane;
Inkhosi Mlambo II of the Mlambo Traditional Authority;
Members of the Diplomatic Corps;
The Leadership of the African National Congress in Mpumalanga, led by the Acting Chairperson Mandla Ndlovu;
The leadership of the Tripartite alliance;
Senior Government officials led by Director General, Mr. Makhukhu Mampuru;
Distinguished guests;
Fellow Mozambicans and fellow South Africans;
Good morning;
Bom Dia;

  1. Programme Director, it is my singular honour and privilege to welcome you all to the beautiful Province of the rising sun on this auspicious day for the people of the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Mozambique.

  2. It was on this day 35 years ago that an incomprehensible tragedy befell not only Southern Africa, but the African continent, when one of the foremost freedom fighters, met his untimely death, on this day and at this site.

  3. That fatal plane crash on the 19th of October 1986 robbed not only the people of Mozambique of their first President, but also the oppressed people of South Africa of a committed liberator. It robbed not only FRELIMO a progressive leader, but also the ANC of an ally in the quest to liberate the marginalised majority under the inhumane system of apartheid.

  4. The significance of this commemoration was aptly captured in the words of the late Nelson Mandela during the 10th anniversary of this tragedy in 1996, when he said: "We are gathered here on the soil of a liberated South Africa to pay homage to a universal hero, a son of Mozambique and indeed a son of Africa, who dedicated his life to the freedom of us all.”

  5. Programme Director, true to the adage that “a revolutionary spirit does not perish, it serves as a constant catalyst for the sustainable development of all who subscribed to it”, the tragic events of 1986 have strengthened the strong diplomatic ties between the Republic of South Africa and Mozambique.

  6. In honour of President Machel, South Africa and Mozambique now pursue shared objectives as partners for peace and economic prosperity. The bond between our two nations informed the decision of the Mpumalanga Province to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Province of Maputo to collaborate on mutually beneficial economic and poverty alleviation programmes.

  7. The construction of the Mbuzini Memorial and Museum where we are gathered today, which was declared a national monument, signifies the commitment of the South African Government to honour him for his indomitable legacy. It is a permanent pledge of commitment to the ideals President Machel stood for.

  8. Future generations will learn about the sacrifices that led to democracy and social liberties they enjoy today. We commit ourselves, as the Mpumalanga Province, to preserve the integrity of this sacred site in accordance with our African traditions and in remembrance of the heroes that lost their lives here.

  9. Let me conclude with words of wisdom shared by President Machel himself, who once stated that “solidarity is not charity, but mutual aid in pursuit of shared objectives”.

  10. With this, I implore all of us to advance the sustainable development of our people with vigour. Let our work be informed by the desire to restore the dignity of our people in honour of President Machel.

  11. With that being said, allow me to welcome you all to the beautiful province of Mpumalanga, a province with a rich heritage, unity in diversity and the cultural heartbeat of the Republic of South Africa.

  12. Obrigado.

  13. I thank you.

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