Il vicepresidente del Sudafrica on. Motlanthe al teatro Valli

DP On. Motlanthe al teatro Valli di Reggio Emilia“Your Worship, Mayor of Reggio Emilia, Dr Graziano Delrio and Mrs Anna Delrio;
Dr Antonella De Miro, Prefect of Reggio Emilia;
Dr Vasco Errani, President of Reggio Emilia-Romagna;
Regional Representative Assessore Patrizio Bianchi;
Your Excellency, Ambassador of Italy to South Africa, Mr Vincenzo Schioppa;
Your Excellency, Ambassador of South Africa to Italy, Ms Thenjiwe Mtintso;
The South African Consule-General to Milan, Mr Saul Molobi;
President of the Provincial Council Gianluca Chierici;
President of Legacoop Ms Simona Caselli;
The Co-operation Commerates;
All the Friends of Reggio Emilia;
Ladies and Gentlemen
 
My delegation and I bring warm and fraternal greetings from the government and people of South Africa on this special occasion of our visit to Reggio Emilia, Italy today.
 
At a deep level Reggio Emilia is historically resonant for us as South Africans as it symbolises the triumph of the just over evil.
 
It is in this area of Reggio Emilia, where fascism and Nazism with its arrantly foolish slogan of ‘long live death!’ met the fiercest resistance from the Partisan Forces.
 
It is here where unity of purpose found redoubtable expression.  Indeed history will always remember the people of Reggio Emilia with honour for the gallant fight they put up against an evil and cancerous thought-system.
 
I speak with no sense of hyperbole when I say all freedom loving humanity will forever draw inspiration from this glorious history.
 
In part it is this harrowing experience which tempered you not only to develop a deeper understanding of the liberation struggle but also to embrace it and participate in it, making it your own.
 
This experience gave you the ability to feel the pain and suffering of those who had to toil under the yoke of colonial oppression.
 
This is ably captured in the words of a German poet Bertolt Brecht in his epic poem entitled ‘To Posterity’: ‘You who shall emerge from this flood into which we are sinking… remember that those of us who sought to lay down the foundation of kindness could not ourselves be kind’.
 
For you to defeat Fascism and Nazism you had to take up arms in order to lay down the foundation for kindness, peace and justice.
 
Similarly, the liberation movement in South Africa had to necessarily take up arms in order to create a society based on the Freedom Charter, which says in its preamble:
 
‘South African belongs to all who live in it, black and white and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of the people’.
 
Programme Director;
 
Our visit to this region takes place in a poignant period in our history. In April this year we celebrated 18 years of democracy and freedom. We celebrated the end of apartheid and the beginning of a new Nation founded on the values of unity, democracy, non-racialism, non-sexism and justice.
 
In another major development, in January this year, the governing party in South Africa, the African National Congress, celebrated 100 years of its existence.
 
On this occasion the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki Moon congratulated the ANC and implored it to “continue defending the principles of freedom, justice and non- discrimination”.
 
Indeed as we celebrate this historic achievement, we recognise and appreciate the contribution of our friends outside South Africa whose efforts made it possible for our liberation struggle to defeat the system of apartheid.
 
Determined to support anti-colonial struggles in Southern Africa, Reggio Emilia made significant contribution to the struggle of the people of Zimbabwe, the people of Mozambique, the people of Namibia and the people South Africa.
 
In the case of the anti-apartheid struggle this commitment was further reflected in the signing of the Pact of Solidarity with the ANC on 26 June 1977, which became one among many milestones in the relationship between Reggio Emilia and the liberation movement.
 
In 1978 Reggio Emilia organised and hosted the “National Conference of Solidarity with the Peoples of Southern Africa in the Struggle against Racism, Apartheid and Colonialism”. 
 
The ANC was represented at this Conference by its President, the late Oliver Regional Tambo. During the same year the city published the Italian edition of the ANC’s official publication, Sechaba. Nelson Mandela’s first book, ‘The Struggle is My Life’, was also translated into Italian.
 
These acts of international solidarity no doubt constituted a formidable force against the system of apartheid and contributed to the eventual demise of the system.
 
Our visit to Reggio Emilia today is in part to thank you, thank you very much; for your selfless efforts and support during our struggle. We wish to assure you that your efforts were not in vain.
 
We will do our part in “defending the principles of freedom, justice and non- discrimination” as the Secretary-general of the UN implored us to do.
 
Similarly, we will redouble our efforts to redress the accumulated socio-economic injustice and deprivation visited upon our people. We will accelerate our programme of reconstruction and development in order to address the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment.
 
This we will do conscious of the fact that the political freedom we have achieved will mean nothing unless the basic needs of our people have been addressed.
 
As a free people who benefited from the principle of internationalism, we are equally ready to make our humble contribution to continuing the principle of solidarity into the future.
 
As a free people who have benefited from the solidarity of many progressive forces across the world, including the people of Reggio Emilia, we take to heart the lesson that our ability to equal our own challenges is enhanced manifold over by our acts of solidarity with those who are less fortunate than we are.
 
I thank you for your kind invitation”

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