Address by Limpopo Premier Mr Cassel Mathale during the Africa Day celebration, Bela-Bela, Waterberg District
24 May 2011
Members of the Executive Council
Executive Mayors and Mayors
Members of the media Houses
Ladies and gentlemen
It is with great pleasure to join this occasion as we celebrate Africa Day. This celebration of our mother Africa Continent is taking place at the time when our Continent is passing through a testing and challenging stage. Therefore, our convergence here should not send a misleading signal that we are proud of some of the challenges which our Continent is presently going through. The events in North Africa, in particular Libya and Ivory Coast should serve as a reminder that the journey is still long before it could be uhuru.
We also cannot pay ignorance to the worrying situation in Sudan and some other parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The world’s most prospective failed State is found here in our Continent in the form of Somalia.
The beginning of wisdom is for us as Africans to learn how to support and trust each other. And stand by one another even against any political or military offensive coming from outside the boundaries of the Continent. History will deliver a resounding majority verdict that as Africans we did not do enough to protect the people in Ivory Coast, Libya and elsewhere in the Continent.
As Africans, our participation in the multilateral platforms must not expose any of the African States to potential manipulation and exploitation by other world’s States which are interested in our natural resources more than any other thing. We must use this Africa month to call for peace in our sister countries which are experiencing conflicts. We have said it in many occasions that dialogue is the most trusted and feasible passage to peaceful solutions to all violent challenges facing some of our African nations.
It is in the nature of Military interventions to cause more death of civilian populations. Any use of military force to resolve political problems must be criticised and discouraged without any hesitation. We are also condemning any use of force against unarmed civilians. Many Africans are in refugee camps because of failure to employ dialogue to resolve differences.
It cannot be true that Africans must migrate from one refugee camp to another, with mothers carrying their children, without anything except for their worn clothes. No African child must grow up in a refugee camp. African Child, just like any other child in the developed nations must grow up in a stable and peaceful neighboured environment.
We should learn to resolve our differences through consensus and political dialogue. In this regard, we will be on the right course to meet the targets we have set ourselves in the millennium development goals. African children deserve the right to go to school, access health care and recreational facilities. No child should be used as a solider, a worker or sex slaves.
From time immemorial, Africa has been viewed as a storehouse of raw material for the first world countries, in particular the western forces. Offers to invest in the economy of the Continent have been, in all respect, attached to heavy political strings, which are meant to further the current trends of the Continent depending on the former colonial principals.
Some of the civil wars that have ravaged the beautiful Continent of Africa have been planned, funded and sustained by the colonizers, who never accepted to afford Africa full independence and respect for their sovereign rights. In order to claim cheap political mileage, they stood up in numerous platforms praising themselves for building the Continent and handing it back to indigenous people, whilst they knew what exactly they were doing.
But as we observe and confront these challenges facing our Continent, we have all reasons to celebrate the legacy that has been left for us by great African leaders who deserve a permanent salute from all African generations.
It is on this note that, we should dedicate this Africa Day celebration to all leaders of the African Continent who fought against colonisation of Africa against all odds. In this regard, we salute Patrice Lumumba, Samora Machel, Aguostino Neto, Eduardo Mondlana, Ahmed Ban Bela, Modibo Keita, Robert Mugabe, Joshua Nkomo, Seretse Kgama, Kenneth Kaunda, Albert Luthuli, OR Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Goven Mbeki, Jomo Kenyatta, Kwame Krumah, Sekou Toure, Julius Nyerere, Amilcar Cabral, Colonel Gaddafi, Kgotsikgolo Moshoeshoe and many others.
We also lower our banner in saluting the Khoi and the San people who fell victim to the worst atrocious genocide in the history of our land. Today, we live every day motivated by the courage they displaced in fighting for our freedom and independence.
We also bow our heads to salute all traditional leaders of the continent who fought a fearless war in defending their mother land of Africa. These leaders fought very hard against colonialism and secured the independence of their countries from the colonial masters. Unfortunately some of them were assassinated or deposts by forces which were sponsored by the defeated former architects of colonialism.
We must appreciate the fact that our Continent has went through many dark chapters. So it is proper not to celebrate this Africa Day in isolation. We must always inject a historical connotation in our celebration without any fear of contradiction. We must use our history of oppression, struggle, and economic exclusion to define the present and shape the future.
As Africans, we should appreciate the fact that we are one big nation that amongst others should refuse all forms of xenophophia, but rather, act jointly to ensure that we remain united like never before. First and far most, as Africans we must be united before we can invite others to join in the unity. In the event, we find ourselves still locked in our intra continental differences, then the dream of forging the unity of the Continent will never come true.
The sooner we accept that we must liberate ourselves from the situation we are presently in, some of which are not of our own making, the better. Yes, it is true that we could have done much more better in our own right to improve the quality of live of our people, but unfortunately that was not to be.
Today we are celebrating this Africa Day under the theme:
“Accelerating Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development”
Indeed as Africans, we owe the young generation and the future generation better living conditions that reflect the fact that Africa is where human live commenced. We must ensure that young people have access to education that will ultimately lead to vibrate opportunities.
We have promising organisations in the name of the African Union, SADC, ECOWAS, COMESA, Economic Community of Central African States, and East African Community. Most of all, we have policies in place to put the African Continent on the new economic growth trajectory, which will provide our people with decent job opportunities.
In the past years, it has been very difficult to find common ground on the real integration of our economy. But we have full trust in the political leadership of the Continent that a concrete solution will be found for which our people have waited far long to long for it.
We have all the necessary raw materials the world needs; we have a rich agrarian soil; we only need the will and ambition to do it for ourselves. We cannot afford to continue relaying on other continents. There is overwhelming evidence that some of the first world countries are here to exploit us rather than to support us.
We have to discover new frontiers in the course of fighting poverty amongst our people. We have to build modern infrastructure as part of developing the lives of our people. We must provide health and schooling infrastructure for the people.
My fellow Africans, we have the tenacity to make our Continent a better place that resembles the conviction that mankind commencement here in Africa. As we celebrate this Day, we should do so mindful of the fact that we have our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora and many other countries of whom we have many things in common.
We should also keep in our thoughts our brothers and sisters in Haiti who are still recovering from the tragic earthquake that reduced their place of residence and commercial activities into nothing.
We must forge ahead motivated by our resolute determination to make the African Continent a better place. We should never lose sight of the fact that we have rightfully claimed this 21st century to be our century. Our actions and approach to issues must uphold our objective of building an African Continent which is the firm centre of economic attraction and concentration.
Working together, we can do more for our Continent!
Issued by: Limpopo Office of the Premier
24 May 2011
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