Kikwete credits Mandela for strong South Africa-Tanzania relations

Qunu, South Africa (PANA) – Tanzanians and South Africans need to stay dedicated to the ideals of the founding fathers of their nations who built a strong foundation of relations between the two countries, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete said Sunday at the funeral of South Africa’s first democratically elected President Nelson Mandela.

Addressing an international gathering of mourners in a marquee at Qunu, Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, Kikwete said that it was not by accident that Tanzania and South Africa enjoyed excellent bilateral relations.

He said: “Mandela and Julius Nyerere (first president of Tanzania) built a very strong foundation for our relations.

“As we mourn this man let us recommit ourselves to strengthen these relations. Let us advance his ideals for a strong Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).

“Mandela was our leader, our hero, our icon and our father as much as he was yours. Mandela’s charisma is unmatched in modern time."

“Let us revitalise the African Union (AU) to fight injustice and see developing nations working together in the pursuit of their rights,” said Kikwete.

According to the president, not all that Mandela stood for has been achieved yet.

“A lot has been achieved, but much more needs to be done. The ANC (African National Congress) is doing it. Please, stay the course and strive for excellence. This is the best way to live his legacy.”

Recalling the early part of the struggle for majority rule in South Africa under the ANC and Mandela’s stewardship, Kikwete said that Dar es Salaam was the late statesman’s first port of call in January 1962 after the white minority regime banned the liberation movement.

“His mission was to seek support for armed struggle and a place to train the first Umkhonto we Sizwe, as the ANC combatants were known.

Nyerere, as president of newly independent Tanganyika, now Tanzania Mainland, not only offered moral support to the South African freedom fighters but also provided them military training and armed them.

“Tanzania was generous enough to give cadres of liberation movements travel documents and, whenever necessary, some of them assumed Tanzanian names,” Kikwete said recalling how Madiba arrived in the country without a passport.

“He was given a Tanzanian document to facilitate his movement. From Tanzania he was going to Accra, Ghana, Lagos, Nigeria and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,” the president explained.

In spearheading the liberation of South Africa from apartheid rule, the ANC was given facilities in Dar es Salaam to produce its monthly bulletin, Sechaba, and Tanzania set up ‘Radio Freedom’ for all liberation movements of Southern African countries to broadcast their messages from there.
-0- PANA AR/MA 15Dec2013

15 december 2013 10:49:30

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