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NC dam to be renamed after Madiba

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“We celebrate the birth of the founding father of our democracy, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, under the theme: ‘Be the legacy’

Vanderkloof Dam. Picture: Patsy Beangstrom

SOUTH Africa’s second largest dam, Vanderkloof Dam in the Northern Cape, will be renamed after global icon Nelson Mandela as part of his centenary celebrations.

This was revealed by the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) during the announcements of plans to celebrate the centenary events of Mandela and Albertina Sisulu.

IMC chairperson Jeff Radebe said that Mandela and Sisulu, born respectively in July and October 1918, had dedicated their lives in the struggle for freedom and contributed immensely to the birth of a new South African nation.

“We celebrate the birth of the founding father of our democracy, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, under the theme: ‘Be the legacy’, as well as Mama Albertina Nontsikelelo Sisulu, one of the shining examples of our Struggle who dedicated her life to the service of her people, under the theme: ‘A Woman of fortitude’.

“These celebrations are a major milestone in the incredible story of both Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu in our nation’s journey to freedom and liberation,” Radebe said.

He outlined various events planned to celebrate the role of the two in the Struggle.

Gauteng and the Eastern Cape will also organise their own events as the two spent most of their time in those two provinces.

Radebe said that the IMC was working in close collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Foundation as well as the Sisulu Family to ensure that government develops a successful centenary programme.

He urged South Africans to observe the last Friday of the month as #MandelaFridays and to help those in need.

Radebe listed a series of events which would be dedicated to Mandela, including the June 16, 1976 commemoration which will be held in Limpopo.

According to Radebe, the renaming of Vanderkloof Dam will be held in September.

“On July 18, 2018, government will hold a national event at Nasrec, Gauteng, in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation to celebrate International Nelson Mandela Day and the centenary of the birth of this international icon.

“On this day too, in Carnarvon in the Northern Cape, the 64th and final antenna of the MeerKat will be dedicated to Nelson Mandela,” Radebe said.

Other events that will be dedicated to Mandela include the annual Inkosi Albert Luthuli Oral History Memorial; the Nelson Mandela Football Challenge on September 29 and the 2018 Big Walk coordinated by the Department of Sport and Recreation on October 7.

The 2018 Comrades Marathon will also be dedicated to Mandela.

“The IMC is delighted to work with the Nelson Mandela Foundation on the 16th Nelson Mandela annual lecture which will be delivered by former US president Barack Obama. The lecture will take place at the Ellis Park Arena on July 17,” Radebe said.

He added that a Nelson Mandela tribute seminar and dinner will be held on the margins of the UN General Assembly and there will also be the unveiling of the statue in the UN complex in September.

Also in September, a bust of Mandela will be unveiled in Havana, Cuba, in the Park of Africa Heroes.

Yesterday marked 70 days to the Mandela centenary.

Detailing plans for Sisulu, Radebe said a special orchid will be named after Sisulu on May 19, adding “this special orchid was first discovered in Gauteng in 1918 and last observed in 1956.

“A small colony of less than 120 individuals remaining was discovered in 2007 on the foothills outside Mogale City (Krugersdorp) next to the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens. This orchid is very rare and currently only known from one remaining locality in Western Gauteng,” Radebe said.

Other events would be a debate in June with leadership of #FeesMustFall and various other community organisations as well as a search for the living participants of the 1956 Women’s March to the Union Buildings.

The official launch of Sisulu centenary will be held in October.

“Albertina Sisulu will forever be remembered as a fearless leader in the Struggle and a mother to the South African nation,” Radebe concluded.