Item 1392 - Patricia de Lille

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ZA COM MR-S-1392


Patricia de Lille


  • 2002-03-20 (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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  • English

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Patricia de Lille is one of that rare breed of politician of whom it can be said that no matter what political party she would belong to, one cannot help liking and admiring her.

She is one of the real characters of the new South African parliamentary politics. She is feisty, determined and a great public debater. She thrives on the robust cut and thrust of democratic politics.

Patricia is known as one of the hardest working parliamentarians. Being a member of a small parliamentary party increases her workload way beyond that of most other parliamentarians. And for someone who has a reputation for not shirking work but in fact thriving on it, there is no escaping that extra burden of responsibilities.

She combines, in a manner that few others manage, the populist activism of community politics with the formality of parliamentary politics. She is continuously out there amongst the people, picking up on community and popular concerns, agitating on behalf of causes, and then bringing those with dogged determination to the chambers of parliament.

They come from different ideological and political backgrounds and persuasions, but Patricia de Lille in many ways represents in our democratic parliament the same spirit and style that the famous Helen Suzman did in a previous dispensation. They will both be remembered as fearless and forthright, never allowing the size of the majority party, or the male gender dominance, to cow or intimidate them.

It is that spirit of a Patricia de Lille that adds so much to the strength of our democracy. And her role in overcoming the historical divisions amongst population groups - not only between black and white, but also amongst different sectors of the black community - cannot be acknowledged enough.

She has a delightful sense of humour, so necessary in politics if one does not want to fall into the trap of taking yourself too seriously. One often gets the impression of Patricia de Lille oratorically on the go, that she looks from outside upon herself with a bit of a twinkle in the eye.

I shall always remember her performance, sprinkled with humour and wit, at the occasion of parliament taking leave of the first president of democratic South Africa. Patricia spoke on behalf of her party, paying generous tribute to us. In true style, she could not resist taunting the majority party, asking that I should leave as a legacy to them tolerance of other views, which she obviously implied they lacked in parliament. The majority party fell right into her trap, loudly, though playfully on the occasion, jeering her. She turned around, the famous twinkle in her eye, gestured with her hands and said: "Need I say more?"

That was vintage de Lille.

It is proper and fitting that a book be written about the life and experience of a courageous and colourful politician who has enriched enormously the quality of our public life.


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Acquisition method: From hard drive ; Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation Prof J Gerwel. Accessioned on 01/02/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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