Daily Archives: December 8, 2018

Eulogy by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Special Official Funeral of the late MrMendiMsimang, Christian Revival Church, Pretoria

Programme Directors,

Former President KgalemaMotlanthe,

Ministers, Deputy Ministers,

Premiers, MECs,

Members of the Judiciary,

Members of the Msimang family,



Fellow South Africans,

We are gathered here in solemn mourning to pay our last respects to a great South African whose life was dedicated to the cause of freedom.

MendiMsimang was the embodiment of an idea that is simple in conception, but revolutionary in application � the idea that one’s purpose in life is to serve others.

Throughout a rich and meaningful life, wherever he found himself, whatever responsibilities he was given, he was bound by a determination to serve others.

He had no need for riches. He had no need for recognition.

His only need was to break the shackles of the oppressed; to feed, house and comfort those who had nothing.

His only need was to forge unity where there was division, to bring calm where there was chaos, and to promote understanding where there was intolerance.

His only need was to liberate his people from the bondage of apartheid and the enduring tyranny of poverty.

MendiMsimang was one of a remarkable generation of freedom fighters, a generation whose deeds will reverberate across the ages.

It was a generation that transformed the national liberation movement and changed the course of our struggle, a generation that endured the hardship of exile and prison and banishment.

It was a generation that not only held the liberation movement together as the forces of apartheid sought to dismember it, but which built it into a formidable mass movement at the head of a global campaign for a democratic South Africa.

It was this generation that was prominent among those who led the country to democracy and freedom.

Today, as we mourn the passing of one of the great leaders of that generation, it would be a mistake to relegate them to history.

Certainly, most of the members of that generation may have exited the political stage, but the principles they fought for, the values they lived by and the means by which they sought their objectives still find resonance at this moment in our history.

As we confront new and daunting challenges, as we attend to the erosion of the revolutionary morality that long defined our struggle, we must draw strength and inspiration and guidance from the deeds of those leaders.

The time for leaders like MendiMsimang has not passed.

It has barely begun.

The material temptations of political office have never been greater than they are today.

As our people have realised, and as our movement has acknowledged, there are those among us who seek positions of authority not to serve the public good, but to advance private interests.

There are those who are prepared to undermine the institutions of our young democracy, to subvert the rule of law and to steal from the people to enrich themselves.

This cannot be countenanced and this cannot be allowed to continue.

It is at precisely this moment that we need leaders, cadres, public servants and business people of the calibre of MendiMsimang.

We need people who, like him, are truly selfless in their service.

We need people like him, with an abiding honesty and an essential integrity.

For 10 years, he served as the Treasurer-General of the African National Congress, a position more difficult and more hazardous than any other in the movement.

In that time, he was scrupulous in his determination that not one cent go missing, that no resources meant for the transformational programmes of the organisation be misappropriated or wasted.

It is this quality that we seek in our leaders today.

Comrades and Friends,

MendiMsimang was an envoy for freedom.

As the chief representative of the ANC in the United Kingdom, he was a dedicated and capable advocate for the cause of the South African people.

Especially when faced with hostile opinion, he sought � patiently and with deliberate care � to explain the positions of the African National Congress.

He was not one to dismiss others because their views may be reactionary or ill-informed.

He sought to persuade them, understanding that it was the responsibility of his revolutionary movement to win to its cause the broadest possible range of social forces.

But that was not the only reason.

He sought to persuade others because he was not prepared to give up on another human being.

He was driven by a firm conviction that every person has the capacity to do good, to see sense, to make a meaningful contribution to society.

He had a remarkable ability to see beyond their prejudice, their anger, their frailties and to recognise their essential being.

For that, he was much loved and widely admired.

When he returned to London, this time as the democratic South Africa’s first High Commissioner to the Court of St James’s, he did so with a completely different mandate, but employed many of the same methods.

While it is certainly true that he no longer organised protests outside South Africa House, he used his good offices within the building to advance the cause of a free and democratic South Africa.

He argued with great eloquence and conviction that while it was true that the South African people had achieved the overthrow of apartheid and established a democratic state, the legacy of centuries of dispossession and exploitation endured.

He sought the support of the British government and people � and indeed the broader international community � for the reconstruction of South Africa, for the growth and transformation of its economy, and for the empowerment of its people through skills and jobs.

Over two decades later, these remain the most important tasks that we, as a nation, must undertake.

We must attend to these tasks with the same vigour and application that MendiMsimang did.

We must seek, as he always did, to build consensus on the measures we must necessarily take to transform our economy and our society.

We must confront, as he would have, the difficult choices that need to be made to turn around an economy that has faltered and to fix the public institutions that have been weakened.

We must retain, as he would have, our focus on the overriding task to create jobs and tackle poverty.

We must forge a social compact that is founded on the incontrovertible reality that none of us can prosper unless we all prosper.

We must forge a social compact that recognises that the enormity of the challenges ahead of us require that we all pull in the same direction.

This is what MendiMsimang was good at, building bridges, forging alliances and resolving differences.

That is why we say that the time for leaders like MendiMsimang has not passed.

He was a person of great modesty and dignity.

He treated others with respect, was moderate in demeanour and measured in his address.

These may be commendable personality traits, but they are also profoundly political.

They are among the qualities that we should seek in a revolutionary.

One cannot be a revolutionary if one does not respect others.

One cannot be a revolutionary if one is intolerant of other views, or if insult and invective are the only means of persuasion one can marshal.

Those who worked with him remember both fondly and sometimes with frustration how meticulous he was.

They recall his commitment to proper syntax and correct spelling and his ability to debate the placement of a comma.

This was a sign not only of a sound education, but also of a rigorous discipline that extended from the writing of a letter to the prosecution of the struggle.

Like many of his generation, MendiMsimang paid a heavy price for his commitment to the struggle.

The nation owes his family a debt of gratitude for the sacrifices they made and the absences they endured.

We extend to the family our deepest condolences for their sad loss and their selfless sacrifice of giving up their parental claim to their father, grandfather, brother, and patriarch to the service of the people of South Africa.

The family, like all of us, assume a great responsibility to carry forward his legacy, characterised by a deep sense of loyalty, commitment, love and selflessness to all the people of our country, especially the poor.

MendiMsimang, stalwart of our movement, giant of our struggle, unassuming hero of our people, is no more.

As we mourn his passing, we commend and we celebrate a life lived in the service of others.

As we bid him farewell, we repeat that the time for leaders like MendiMsimang has not passed.

In his memory, let us pledge, as our forbearers did in Kliptown, that we will strive together, sparing neither strength nor courage, until we reach our goal of a united, free and prosperous South Africa.

May his soul rest in peace. May his abundant legacy endure.

HambaKahle, Qhawe lama Qhawe.

I thank you.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa

Migrant Deaths Will Rise as Rescue Mission Ends in Mediterranean Sea

Leading U.N. humanitarian agencies warn migrant deaths in the Mediterranean Sea will multiply with the end of sea and rescue operations by Doctors Without Borders and its partner SOS Mediterranee.

The two international charities were pressured by the European Union to put their ship, the Aquarius into dry dock and abandon their life-saving rescue mission.

The Aquarius has been docked in Marseille, France, since early October after Panama revoked its registration at the behest of the right-wing, anti-immigration Italian government.

Italy claims these operations encourage migrants to make the perilous sea journey. It says ending these activities will save lives, a claim hotly disputed by U.N. officials.

UN refugee agency spokeswoman, ShabiaMantoo, says search-and-rescue capacity needs to be reinforced rather than diminished.

“So, we do continue to call strongly for increasing search-and-rescue capacity in the Central Mediterranean and for leaving space for NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) to contribute in a coordinated manner to these efforts,” said Mantoo. “Saving lives is our primary concern.”

Since it began operations in February 2016, the Aquarius has helped nearly 30,000 refugees and migrants in distress find a safe haven. U.N. Human Rights Spokeswoman, RavinaShamdasani, tells VOA she is deeply concerned by recent developments.

“The provision of support and assistance to migrants must not be criminalized,” said Shamdasani. “The decrease of search-and-rescue by humanitarian organizations and States failure to provide adequate search-and-rescue capacity is resulting in an increase of migrants, an increase of vulnerability of migrants at sea.”

Shamdasani says the death rate in the Central Mediterranean this year is much higher than in previous years. She says States must protect the lives and safety of migrants and ensure those who are at risk are rescued and offered immediate assistance.

The International Organization for Migration reports more than 2,100 people have died making the dangerous sea crossing from Libya to Europe this year. This is nearly two-thirds of the more than 3,300 deaths recorded globally in 2018.

Source: Voice of America

Haunted by Colonial Past, Belgium’s Africa Museum Reopens After Revamp

Belgium’s Africa Museum reopened on Saturday after a five-year restoration to repackage its looted treasures with a critical view of the country’s brutal colonial past.

Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo hailed a “historic moment” and said it would open “a new chapter” in Belgian-African relations.

The reopening of the former Royal Museum for Central Africa in the Tervuren Palace outside Brussels comes amid a renewed European debate about returning stolen artifacts.

Last month, French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to return 26 cultural artifacts to Benin “without delay,” a move likely to put pressure on other former colonial powers to return African artworks to their countries of origin.

Macron said the decision should not be seen as an isolated or symbolic case and proposed a conference in Paris next year to discuss an “exchange policy” for African treasures.

“Restitution should no longer be taboo,” De Croo said on Saturday adding, however, that any returns should be dependent on certain conservation conditions being met.

“It is clear that this implies a respectful attitude on the part of the African authorities with regard to this artistic heritage,” he said.

Before it closed for refurbishment in 2013, visitors to the Belgian museum were greeted by a statue uncritically depicting white European missionaries “bringing civilization to Congo.”

The museum’s research team insists the exhibits will now take a much more critical approach to the depredations of King Leopold II and his agents in Congo.

With the help of multimedia displays and detailed captions, visitors will be encouraged to take a critical view and to see colonialism through African eyes.

The museum’s academic experts say there is no attempt to cover up the past, but rather to use the collection of 125,000 ethnographic objects more educationally.

Despite the new approach more in keeping with Belgium’s multicultural present, the revamp has not been without controversy.

Activists are demanding a proper memorial to seven Congolese who died in 1897 after being brought to Belgium as living exhibits. They are buried near the Tervuren estate.

Paula Polanco told AFP her group, Intal-Congo, wanted them to be recognized as “victims of a colonialist crime.”

Belgium’s current king, Philippe, meanwhile declined an invitation to the reopening.

The Belgian colonies, run as a private royal estate by Leopold II, covered lands now included in independent Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

These countries have suffered a turbulent modern history and for European experts, in DR Congo’s case at least, lack premises to properly house a national history collection.

Meanwhile, DR Congo’s President Joseph Kabila has now said he plans to formally request the return of art and records before his country’s own museum opens next year.

The activists doubt the museum’s sincerity and have urged it, in Polanco’s words, to form a committee to “objectively and materially” determine the origin of the works.

For Guido Gryseels, the museum’s director general, the political backdrop is part of a broader Belgian conversation about race that goes beyond the rights and wrongs of the ownership of his museum’s exhibits.

“It’s not only our museum. It’s the overall Belgian society which is still very much a white society,” Gryseels said, insisting that everyone wants to see a more racially integrated future.

While France, Britain and the Netherlands, he said, saw large-scale arrivals from former colonies earlier, Belgium’s 250,000-strong African population came in the last 20 years.

And although the museum has been redesigned, statues and street names still honor Leopold, who personally enriched himself through the forced labor of the Congolese during a period in which an estimated half of the local population — up to 10 million people — were wiped out by overwork, violence and disease.

“Personally speaking, I think that indeed someone who is responsible for mass murder is not to be put literally upon a pedestal,” Bambi Ceuppens, doctor in anthropology at the Royal Museum for Central Africa, said.

Other statues should not be hidden, she argues, but used by the museum and educationalists as they explain Belgium and Congo’s intertwined histories.

And, by better understanding the past, Belgium may be better able to integrate Belgian-born Africans into a more diverse future.

“As recently as two months ago our prime minister gave a presentation here for all the top CEOs of Belgium and all the top ministers,” Gryseels said.

“And the whole audience here was full: 220 white people… Ten years from now the situation will be very different.”

Source: Voice of America

Bazzi represents Berri, Amal Movement in receiving body of Lebanese expatriate, calls for strengthening communication between Lebanon’s residents and immigrants

“Development and Liberation” Parliamentary Bloc Member, MP Ali Bazzi, represented House Speaker NabihBerri and Amal Movement in receiving the body of Lebanese young expatriate, Mohammed al-Khoshn, at Rafic Hariri International Airport this morning.

MP Bazzi conveyed his sincerest condolences to the family of the deceased, reiterating the call on Lebanese authorities to “accord special attention to Lebanon’s immigrants and to embrace their concerns and strengthen official communication between Lebanon’s residents and expatriates.”

It is to note that MP Bazzi, in line with House Speaker Berri’s instructions, conducted the necessary measures and contacts to arrange for receiving the body of al-Khoshn at Beirut Airport, after being shot dead by a gang of thieves in Angola, Africa.

Source: National News Agency


JUBA, South Sudan- South Sudan’s President, SalvaKiir, and his deputy, WaniIgga, have joined a campaign seeking to reunite and reconcile South Sudanese, torn apart by a five-year conflict.

Using prerecorded audio messages, aired on local radio stations, the leaders of the world’s youngest nation are urging the people of South Sudan, to embrace forgiveness to pave the way for nationwide reconciliation.

The campaign, spearheaded by a local religious group, is using billboards and recorded voices, to share peace messages across South Sudan.

“As the president of the republic, I feel duty-bound to lead the people of South Sudan to forgive each other, even when forgiveness is being perceived as a weakness by those to whom they are forgiving,” Kiir said.

“Indeed South Sudanese have brutally destroyed themselves – untold loss of lives, untold loss of property, and those who lost dear ones are definitely bitter. This reconciliation should be proceeded by forgiveness. You reconcile in order to forgive and open a new page,” Iggasaid,in an audio message.

South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013, and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.

The U. N. estimates that about four million South Sudanese have been displaced, internally and externally. A peace deal signed in Aug, 2015, collapsed, following renewed violence in the capital, Juba, in July, 2016.

The conflict left many South Sudanese communities fractured along ethnic lines, prompting the United Nations to warn that, the east African nation risks descending into genocide, if the use of inflammatory rhetoric, ethnic polarisation and name calling by the warring factions do not end.

A new peace deal, signed in Sept, appears to be holding as fighting and targeted killings have reduced in recent months.

“All the people of South Sudan have to forgive one another for the wrongs we have committed against one another,” he said.

“I always forgive, as I also ask to be forgiven, when I had wronged someone,” the South Sudanese leader added.