Item 1075 - Address at Samora Machel Commemoration Service, Oct 2001

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ZA COM MR-S-1075


Address at Samora Machel Commemoration Service, Oct 2001


  • 2001-10-12 (Creation)

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Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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Migrated from the Nelson Mandela Speeches Database (Sep-2018).

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15th Anniversary commemoration of the death of President Samora Machel

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  • English

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We gather here today to commemorate one of the great tragedies that ever befell our region and continent.

The untimely death of Samora Machel, the President of the Republic of Mozambique and Leader of Frelimo, cruelly robbed Southern Africa of one her greatest sons at a time when it hit the subcontinent's move towards emancipation the hardest.

The solidarity amongst the countries of this region in their heroic struggle against colonialism and apartheid will forever stand as one of those great monuments to human co-operation for a noble course.

The great revolutionary leaders of this region, with the full support of their people who mandated them, put all irrelevant differences aside as they combined and stood together to fight oppression. It was at a time when the forces of apartheid as the last bastion of minority rule aggressively set about destabilising the region. The selflessness of those countries, their leaders and people represent the highest point of revolutionary solidarity.

Samora Machel was a giant amongst those great leaders of the African revolution. He was a man of singular vision and with wisdom and abilities of leadership that were acknowledged even by his foes. It is therefore, also, still very hard to accept that his death under those strange circumstances could have been entirely accidental. We are confident that new investigations will eventually bring us closer to understanding the real circumstances of the tragic death of this hero.

The example of Samora Machel's life as a freedom fighter continues to serve as an inspiration and example. The consistency of that unswerving dedication to the people runs through every chapter of his life: as a guerrilla fighter, commander of fighters, member of the central committee of the liberation movement, leader of the movement, chief negotiator in talks with the colonial power, or President of his independent country.

The true power of the revolutionary is in the manner that his life can continue to point the way to future generations. That dedication of a life to the people, of always having the good of the people taking precedence above any other considerations of personal power or glory, is what marked the life of Samora. And it is that lesson that needs to continue to inspire leadership in the region and on our continent.

The Frelimo government after independence, led by Samora Machel, will always be remembered by freedom-loving people for the comprehensive programmes it put in place to fundamentally improve the lives of ordinary people in all walks of life. Those brave and widely admired efforts at putting political power obtained to the total and genuine benefit of the people have not been surpassed anywhere else. The systematic counter efforts, conducted and sponsored by other forces, to destroy that social infrastructure will on the other hand remain in the memory as the cruellest examples of the depth to which the enemies of the people can sink.

The tragic death of Samora Machel was the cruellest blow to the aspirations of the people of Mozambique and of the region. Today the region and the continent still face, perhaps even to a graver extent, those challenges of development and improvement of the lives of people that he and his government so bravely confronted.

Mozambique was fortunate at least in this respect that Frelimo under Samora Machel strongly promoted and practised the concept of collective leadership so that he had prepared a competent leader to step into his place, in the person of Joaquim Chissano. The wisdom with which he could, for example, later deal with the conflict with Renamo is itself tribute to the wise legacy of Samora Machel. The people of Mocambique are fortunate and blessed in that regard.

On a personal level I had the singular privilege of being able to share the fruits of that legacy that is to be found in the family life that Samora Machel built with the same human warmth and commitment he practised in his public life.

We salute this great son of Africa, a giant of our revolution, whose tragic death we commemorate today. Even more importantly, we rededicate ourselves to the values and principles which guided his life.

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Acquisition method: From hard drive ; Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation Prof J Gerwel. Accessioned on 12/03/09 by Razia Saleh




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