11 March 2014
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu, joined by leaders from various communities, released doves as a symbol of peace at the Mandela Capture Site in Howick on Monday to mark the official start of the province’s celebrations of South Africa’s 20 Years of Freedom.
Mchunu also unveiled the symbolic 20 Years of Freedom Flame, which will criss-cross the province’s 11 districts over the coming months, with a series of activities been lined up in each district to welcome the flame.
“It is impossible to talk about Tata Madiba’s vote in the first ever democratic elections in his lifetime without referring to KwaZulu-Natal,” Mchunu said at the unveiling:
“The unpleasant fact is that at any mention of apartheid, the people of KwaZulu-Natal remember a period of great cruelty, the torture and killing of political activists, the break-up of families and the suffering of orphans and widows.
“In sharp contrast, at any mention of Tata Nelson Mandela, the faces of the people of KwaZulu-Natal lighten up, as he represents the end of suffering and hope for a better future.”
Mchunu said Mandela understood the suffering of the people of KwaZulu-Natal under apartheid, and would often travel to the then Natal province to meet with ordinary community members, political activists and leaders of the African National Congress (ANC).
Mchunu urged the province to “hold each other’s hands and embrace this freedom, reconciliation, acceptance and respect for all communities.
“Respect for human rights must be the new culture of our new South African nation. Let no one take away your right to be free and enjoy the fruit of this democracy. Let us work hard together to create this positive future for our children.”