Mbuzini — President Samora Machel taught leaders that the task of the African revolution is to invent a new society, whose cornerstone is the welfare of all, not the exploitation of one by another, says Deputy President Ramaphosa.
He was addressing the 30th anniversary of the Mbuzini tragedy, which claimed the life of Mozambican President Samora Machel and 34 other martyrs from his country in 1986. The commemoration was held at Samora Machel Memorial site in Mbuzini, Mpumalanga.
The Deputy President spoke on behalf of President Jacob Zuma and the South African government.
"He unconditionally welcomed liberation fighters in Mozambique and dedicated his life to the complete emancipation of southern Africa. He lost his life on his journey to achieve a peaceful, stable, secure and prosperous region.
"It was the courage and patriotism of the military commander of Frelimo that inspired a generation of young revolutionaries in our country to confront the might of the apartheid security machinery.
"He continues to inspire us to build a society free of prejudice, racism, patriarchy and exploitation," said the Deputy President.
He said South Africa owes an enormous debt of gratitude to the people of Mozambique for their unconditional moral, political and material support of its liberation movement.
The commemoration of the Mbuzini tragedy is an opportunity to pay special tribute to the families of heroes who fell on this soil at the height of the struggle.
"It is a constant reminder that we, the beneficiaries of the selfless sacrifices of our heroes and heroines, must never take freedom for granted. It reminds us that revolution must remain a way of life as we struggle to break free of the clutches of poverty, inequality and underdevelopment.
"In honouring the memory of great African leaders like Samora Machel, Julius Nyerere, Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela, we must remember that leadership to them meant only dedicated service to Africa," he said.
Deputy President Ramaphosa said both South Africa and Mozambique have achieved much in efforts to build a better life for citizens, working together to boost economic growth, create employment and reduce inequality.
The commemoration was attended by hundreds of South African and Mozambican people, including the families of President Machel and the 34 martyrs who were involved in the plane crash with him.
Speaking on behalf of the Mozambican government, Prime Minister Agostinho do Rosairo said the truth behind the incident that claimed the life of President Machel will one day be revealed.
"Samora Machel was a national hero for Mozambique. He is an important historic reference for the people of Mozambique, South Africa and the world," he said.
The son of the late President, who is also named after him, Samora Machel Junior, said although the incident occurred 30 years ago, "it feels like yesterday" when the life of his father was taken.
The event was also attended by Machel's widow, Graca Machel, who was turning 71 years old today and had the crowd singing for her during the commemoration.