The directors of the programme, fortunately for me you did not say how much I must speak. This is a mourning and a celebration of our leader and don`t you dare pull my blazer from behind.
Mama Graca Machel,
Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
AbaThembu, members of the National Executive Committee of the ANC and the leadership of the Alliance.
Former president of the ANC and of the country Thabo Mbeki, Deputy President of the ANC, Deputy President of the State, Traditional leaders who are with us and leaders,
Political parties coming from all over the world and from our country, Veterans of the struggle, Comrades and friends
Comrades, since the day our leader departed we have in a very special way remembered him - not only us but the whole world. We`ve received messages of condolence from all over the world and from our country as well. It has been an unprecedented mourning of the pouring of love and support for this icon. The State has played its part and is continuing to play its part in honour of this great leader.
Today the African National Congress and the Alliance are here in this ceremony to send our leader off to the Eastern Cape at Qunu where he came as a young man to Johannesburg, a Johannesburg that made him to grow to this towering leader of our people.
So many things have been said about Madiba because he has done so many things.
He has distinguished himself so many times in everything you can think of - Madiba, a man of action. He combined two things and that is not easy to do: theory and practice. He did it more than many. Madiba - the first National Volunteer-in-Chief of the ANC during the defiance campaign.
When the ANC took the decision to embark on campaigns beginning with the defiance campaign of the unjust laws they could not see any person other than Madiba because the ANC had reached the point of action in its policy of non-violent struggle.
He led the volunteer corps successfully as he has always repeated to ensure that the unjust laws were not accepted by the oppressed people, and that they needed to change. Madiba, who always spent time to think about the struggle and plan about the struggle was one of those who authored the M-Plan with the realisation that the apartheid regime was becoming more vicious with time. He argued that we needed to change the method of work. We could no longer continue in the manner in which we`d been continuing. We must have disciplined structures for the ANC to survive the onslaught from the apartheid regime.
That was the period when the ANC decided to undertake militant action, not just to be soft but to be militant.
The period of non-violent struggle moved to a higher stage and it developed as the mobilisation was stronger, the apartheid regime increased its repression and brutality.
What it used to do, which Madiba himself went through, banning individuals from talking, putting some into house-arrest some, and finally banning the organisation in 1960.
When the organisation was banned in 1960, after a period of persuasion to the regime for a long time, of course the ANC leadership had seen that the situation was changing.
Before 1960, in 1959 the ANC took a decision to campaign worldwide, to mobilise the world to isolate South Africa and that decision was articulated by the president at the time, President Luthuli.
President Luthuli said you could not as a world, you have relations with South Africa that was brutally oppressing and suppressing its people and that South Africa must be isolated, sanctioned by the world and called upon mainly big countries in the world and said they must show their bigness by understanding that you cannot strengthen in trade and otherwise a state that was racist and brutal to its citizens. It was the following year that a decision by the regime was taken to ban all political parties and therefore saying the struggle should come to an end.
A very intense debate took place, organised and unorganised, the young people felt the time had come to do something. What should we do with the planning of our organisation? Should we change the name? Some of the volunteers felt we should defy the enemy, that we must continue operating as the ANC and if need be, we go to jail, because if we change the names they might do what they were already doing. There were the days where names had been changed of organisations. The debate was, it was not the name, it was the ideals that the organisation stood for. And therefore the ANC decided to do what the South African Communist Party had done ten years before 1960, to go underground.
With an intense debate of what to do, and the debate was: let us change the method of struggle. There were two decisions the ANC took at the time which became very critical for the struggle to continue. One was to implement the call made in 1959 to mobilise the world against apartheid.
That campaign was taken so serious that only the deputy president had to be sent out of the country to lead the campaign in the name of our leader and president Oliver Tambo, a decision was taken he should leave the country to establish what was then called the ANC External Mission to mobilise the world, in other words, to implement the decision that the world must isolate South Africa.
He left the country. When he saw the enormity of the task he thought he needed some of the most powerful leaders to join him and requested that one of our icons and powerful leaders Moses Kotane and many other leaders joined him afterwards. That was the start of a campaign that connected our struggle to the world led by this outstanding leader, our president OR.
In the process of the debate the ANC came to a decision that we must take up a different method of struggle - the armed struggle - of course carefully discussed at the first level of sabotage actions etc and we must form a military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe because the ANC as an organisation on its own could not turn itself into a military organisation and that this organisation must be born in its own right, in name and must put itself at the disposal of the ANC. When that came, the situation was changing in the country. You needed brave people. You needed people of action. You needed people who could strategize, hard-working people.
The only name identified by the ANC was the name of Nelson Mandela to begin the armed struggle.
These two colleagues and comrades who had worked together were the two among many who were given very distinct tasks to undertake to lead while the ANC in broad terms went underground.
Nelson Mandela, who was one of those who argued very vehemently for the change of the strategy together with his comrade and friend and brother, one of our leaders as well, who both O.R. Tambo and Madiba referred to as their senior, Walter Sisulu.
Madiba debated this with Sisulu first, even before it was discussed in the formal structures and its also interesting that when they raised the idea for the first time in the leadership, it was kicked out.
In fact, some of the senior leaders thought this was almost bordering on adventurism and Sisulu with Madiba, the two of them saying `where did we go wrong` and they said `we made a mistake.
We should have lobbied Moses Kotane first`. That must tell you how powerful Moses Kotane was, a man we still have to celebrate, a man who could argue his way and it was difficult to argue against. So as always, Sisulu said Madiba go and have tea with Moses Kotane and persuade him. The strategies and the man of the people Tata Sisulu understood Madiba`s strengths.
One of the specialties of Sisulu was to understand the strengths of the comrades he worked with. Madiba had something powerful. He had the capacity to persuade.
He could persuade people to appoint and make them understand where he comes from. I recall a small conversation at some point abroad when someone in the country that I`m not going to mention was very difficult -very difficult and he agreed the man is difficult.
He said this man will only be convinced by Madiba when he comes out of prison because nobody can argue against Madiba and indeed Madiba went to our leader Moses Kotane and argued the point most strongly to a point that Moses Kotane began to see the logic of it and said raise the matter in the next meeting of the leadership.
That`s when a huge debate began and Madiba was in the centre of it. Perhaps because he was a man of action and yet argued so much - and by the way it was not just argued in the National Executive Committee meeting only - once that decision was taken the ANC said you must go and raise the matter with the entire alliance - not the current alliance, the tripartheid, a different alliance, the Congress Alliance. It was debated there and finally agreed and whilst it was agreed, as I said it was Madiba himself who was asked to establish the military wing and thus he became the first commander-in-chief of Umkhonto we Sizwe.
The debate was, much as you have followed the non-violent struggle method. It was clear that the enemy was not going to respond to this. We therefore have to use a different language that would be understood but beginning with it very carefully. And it is again important to note that when Madiba did anything he was very thorough.
The first actions of MK were not supposed to have any casualty in the form of people dying. It was not going to spill blood at the beginning.
Sabotage actions were sending a message to the regime. So the policy of MK was carefully crafted. In fact, it is the one that made the judge in the Rivonia Trial find it very difficult among others, to sentence them to death.
But of course the struggle developed and Madiba played a major role -Madiba the strategist. Madiba had the gift of seeing things clearly and concentrate on what he has seen and talk about it and clarify it, good in working on tactics and indeed a powerful legal person. As many will remember, in 1962 when he was tried for the first time when he was convicted for five years, when he was accused he accused the regime and said `I`m a black man in a white man`s court and therefore there will be no fairness in the trial`.
Madiba, the man of peace, but a revolutionary, who was not prepared to wait for peace one day to come, because we talk about it, who further needed to take action and he was one of those who was in the leadership of action. At times people are mistaken that for the ANC to declare an armed struggle, it was becoming an organisation that was not interested in peace, but no.
The ANC was saying that in order to quicken peace in South Africa we had to take that decision. Again, put very briefly by former president Chief Luthuli who said `the road to freedom is via the Cross`.
That captures this policy, that for us to get to peace and freedom we had to via the armed struggle. That`s why Madiba again the man of action. After more than two decades in prison he began to want to put sense to the regime and started talking to the regime.
Quite interesting indeed because at the same time he was beginning this process, it was at the same time that Oliver Tambo was also beginning to send his cadres to probe on this issue, much as one was on Robben Island or was in prison, the other was not in prison. Madiba believed in unity. This is what he preached. This is what he worked for, to unite people in the country, in the continent. His wish was that if only people in the world were united.
He believed in reconciliation and worked for it as he began the negotiations. But also, he believed in forgiving those who did wrong to us, who had wronged him. Thus, this country was lucky to have a man of that calibre who could negotiate very strongly and at the same time remember that all that we`re doing was to bring about peace, freedom and democracy in our country.
Very honest! Very straight-forward! Man of integrity and he believed that if we agree with him, he will win it.
And that`s the reason why, as we were adjourning CODESA when former Deputy President de Klerk asked to speak last and yet he wanted to attack the ANC.
When he did so, Madiba, the honest man with integrity did not ask for the floor. He took the floor and went for de Klerk and told him how dishonest he was.
Madiba, one of his strengths, is that he was honest. If he had a different point with you, or an idea he will talk to you, either to you as an individual or formally in the structures. He did not use his talent to talk to you indirectly or through innuendos.
He talked to you directly and that made him to always feel free to raise the issues.
Madiba - a strong believer in non-racialism in a country that institutionalised racism and apartheid. Madiba believed in democracy.
He was a democrat who understood the world, who understood that yes, we are the people of South Africa but we are diverse and that diversity should be understood and respected.
That`s why he could combine the life in Qunu and the life in Johannesburg and there is no contradiction to Madiba. He believed in changing the quality of life but he also was aware that you could not do it overnight and he said it himself.
It was a process. But he also understood when to begin to really change the quality of life, thus his focus on the youth and young people and education because he knew that if you wanted to change the quality of life you must change the citizens at their infancy.
Educate them, empower them. He understood a Zulu idiom that says "Umuthi ugotshwa usemanzi". And comrades I will be very happy as we mourn and celebrate Madiba we do not abuse his name. We take example in him because he never abused his membership and his leadership in the ANC. We should not think that Madiba`s passing on is a time for us to indirectly settle scores. We would not have understood Madiba and it means we will never understand him. He was an honest man and I would imagine comrades will indeed take this organisation very far by doing what Madiba did. We must have learned lessons from him. Today we are saying to Madiba - as you came as a young man in Johannesburg, today having departed we are now sending you back to your village at Qunu. We want you to rest in peace there. We want you to always remember and guide us.
We are happy that we who are still young will join you later as you promised to establish a branch of the ANC we`ll join it. We`ll join you there. I`d like once again to thank the international people who are with us here who have come to mourn with us, to mourn with the family. I would like to thank the family of Madiba who were ready to share Madiba with us under difficult conditions. We want to thank Abathembu who were ready to share Madiba with us.
I would like to thank the members of the African National Congress who have indeed observed this period with dignity as well as members of the alliance. The question is, can we produce as the ANC other Madibas under what circumstances? Madiba was produced by the ANC under different circumstances. We need to ponder and say how can we do it today given the conditions of today, because we need more Madibas so that our country can prosper. Yes we are free but the challenge of inequality remains. The problem of poverty remains. Unemployment remains. And therefore the challenge to us, to think and remember Madiba is to be more committed and dedicated as ANC members to do what Madiba did to make the ANC grow stronger so that it is able to face the challenges of today. Directors of the programme, I don`t want the adjutant to pull my coat because.
Thank you very much. Thank you to all who have come here. Thank you to the veterans who have been with Madiba and those who were commanded by Madiba as volunteers, as MK cadres. And thank you to those who took the lessons from Madiba and indeed, who are still here. Tomorrow we`ll be saying a final goodbye to Madiba at Qunu and I`m sure many of us will be there. We would like to say to Madiba `Go well Tata. You have played your part. You have made your contribution. We`ll always remember you. We`ll always keep you in our hearts. We`ll always learn from your lessons". Amandla!