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Mayibuye Uprising Commemoration Ceremony being held

Address by the Acting Premier of the Northern Cape Province, Ms Grizelda Cjiekella, on the Mayibuye Uprising Commemoration ceremony held on 08 November 2011 at the Mayibuye centre in Kimberley, Northern Cape Province

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Members of the Executive Council
Members of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature
Veterans of the Struggle for Liberation
Members of the Community of Galeshewe and the broader Community of Frances Baard District Municipality
Political organisations, Youth Formations and Students
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

We have converged here this fine November morning to pay homage to one of the watershed moments in our fight and collective struggle for the liberation of our Motherland. It is on this day, exactly 59 years ago, on the 8th of November 1952, that the Mayibuye Uprising took place in the immediate vicinity from where I am addressing you.

Ladies and Gentlemen, 59 years ago Black South Africans, especially the indigenous African people of our country, were treated no better than animals; 59 years ago we were outcasts in our own Motherland; 59 years ago we did not have the vote and 59 years ago we stood up, united as a community, right here in Galeshewe, to face the military might of the apartheid junta.

59 years later, I stand at that very spot, where our forebears were slaughtered – not for any criminal or associated misdemeanour – but for their quest for freedom, for human rights and to be recognised as full citizens in their own Motherland.

Ladies and Gentlemen, 59 years later, we as the leadership of the Northern Cape Provincial Government, are here today to pay a fitting tribute to the women and men who lost their lives on that fateful day on 8 November 1952.

Much good has happened in our country since that fateful day on 8 November 1952:

* The Father of our Nation, in the form and stature of Nelson Rohlihlala Mandela was released in February 1990.
* In April 1994 we held our first democratic elections, which were universally declared to be free and fair.
* Today we enjoy the fruits of our constitutional democracy largely through the sacrifices of the valiant women and men who converged in Royal Street, Galeshewe, under the principled leadership of the ANC, to clearly show their discontent against apartheid policies and practices.

Ladies and Gentlemen, these stalwarts of our struggle were exemplary in their conduct and the manner they went about to make the apartheid junta see and feel their deep sense of misery in the country of their and their ancestors birth. What they did was indeed heroic. What they did shall and will not be erased from our memories and our collective psyche as a united nation.

I am certain that I speak for each one of us gathered here today: we are here to declare our homage to the life and vision of all those who lost their lives on 8 November 1952. Their deeds, their vision and their tenacity will forever serve as an inspiration to us.

Ladies and Gentlemen, our people have for hundreds of years suffered under the authoritarian rule of both colonialism and apartheid, which oppressed millions of our people. Organised protest was met by brute force.

Therefore the Mayibuye Uprising is of special significance in that it was one of the earliest massacres of our people under the apartheid junta led by the so called “National Party”.

On this day in 1952 besides scores of our people being injured, many of them were brutally and mercilessly killed by apartheid bullets. Indeed their heroic deeds served both as an impetus and as a trajectory for future campaigns that were waged against the cruel, evil and morally bankrupt apartheid regime.

As a province and indeed as a country, we are hugely indebted to the men and women of the Mayibuye Uprising who paid the ultimate price for our liberation and in the realisation of our constitutional democracy.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are surely inheritors of their spirit and their endless determination. As free citizens of this great country, we are obliged to embody and sing the praises of our rich culture of a principled and just struggle.

In conclusion, Ladies and Gentlemen, we as a united province within the unitary state of South Africa, have the onus of further advancing the cause of non-racialism, non-sexism and a vibrant constitutional democracy. We should also solemnly swear to further advance the spirit of the noble people who were involved in the Mayibuye Uprising – not only for a better South Africa, but also for a better and more just world.

I Thank You


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