Introductory remarks by Gauteng Premier, Ms Nomvula Mokonyane, during the wreath laying and the opening of the OR Tambo Cultural Precinct Narrative Centre
27 Oct 2012
Minister of Arts and Culture
MEC of Sports, Arts and Culture
Mayor of Ekurhuleni
Ladies and Gentlemen
How possible is it that OR Tambo’s name is never given prominence when speaking of the South African miracle. How possible is it that OR Tambo’s leadership is not accorded pre-eminence in the Groote Schuur. Minutes engagements and the meticulous writing of the Harare Declaration, the two political treatises that ushered the democratic order.
In this country the narrative of whom to acknowledge and shower with accolades and international awards is unfortunately framed by those that happen to have access and influence over the means of information dissemination. When this narrative is sold to us it is slanted in a manner that belittles or heap praised to the work of the subject person depending on the relation and position the narrators and framers take towards their subject.
The greatness of this man is still yet to be recognised and acknowledged by all in South Africa and the world. His visionary capability made it possible for all of us in South Africa to bask in the miracle of the new country. His generous spirit, commitment and selflessness sustained the ANC for decades in the political wilderness. His reconciliatory stance and dedication to the building of the new nation is indeed incredible.
Little has been told about a man who sacrificed all: the safety of his family, the comfort of his profession, and the company of his friends and relatives. Little prominence has been given to how he, as the President of the ANC, steered the South African ship to the shores so that all her passengers can live in a stable, peaceful and progressive country. It would seem the framers of our narrative, inadvertently or advertently, choose to omit or keep out of the main story the greatness of this man.
It is therefore not surprising that little interests and focus is shown by these narrators to the legacy of Oliver Reginald Tambo. If their wishes and views could rule supreme, we as a nation should have long forgotten about leaders such as Tambo in favour of what is served as the best by the narrators and custodians of our archives.
What this tells us is that we will always consume that which the narrator chose to serve as long as we do not document and relate our heroes’ conquests. It is about time that we take ownership of our historical tales so that the legacy created by leaders such as OR Tambo does not get tarnish or perish. It is incumbent upon us as people of this country to protect and promote OR’s legacy.
What brought us together today is the indication of the commitment government is making towards safeguarding and promoting the greatness of OR Tambo. This should not be a once off launch but an annual calendar event that the nation should respect and celebrate. If we do that the flame of hope lit by OR Tambo will forever burn and continue to guide this nation to greater heights.
The launch of this Cultural Narrative Precinct is therefore the manifest expression of how as government we would like to raise and maintain OR Tambo’s legacy so that it does not get lost to posterity. This monument should serve to remind us of the importance of telling our own stories and the legacy of our great leaders.
Ladies and Gentlemen
A single day is not enough to relate the amazing political prowess of the late OR Tambo. We may need a time equal to his sacrifice to tell all about this gifted, giving and charming spirit of the South African Revolutionary movement.
At this point, allow me to present to you the Deputy President of the ANC and the Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Kgalema Mothlante.
Issued by: Gauteng Office of the Premier
27 Oct 2012
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