South African Ambassador to Liberia Vanapalan Punjanathan Moodley says his country’s progress after 23 years as an independent nation is attributed to her philosophy of togetherness.
Making the statement in his keynote speech during the celebration of South Africa’s National Day on April 27, 2017, Ambassador Moodley said since the country gained independence in 1994 through efforts exerted by President Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress (ANC), the country has held together without racial discrimination, sexism, religious discrimination, and other social vices.
South Africa got its independence in 1994 following years of racial discrimination against which ANC stalwarts Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo and African countries, including Liberia, and their international friends, fought for decades. Mandela spent 27 years in prison and later became the country’s first black President, serving one term.
The racial discrimination, known as Apartheid, was perpetrated by the white minority. It met its end with the help of the seventh and last President of the regime, Fredrick W. de Klerk, who reigned from 1989 to 1994.
Ambassador Moodley said freedom does not come automatically, but takes the sacrifice of a few to bring a great change to many, and recalled the roles of Mandela and the ANC leader Oliver Tambo and said it was through these great men that South Africa is what it is today.
Quoting former President Mandela, Amb. Moodley said, “We understand it is said that there is no easy road to freedom. We know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success. We must therefore act together as a united people for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world. Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one another….”
The Ambassador said: “The essence of democracy is to have participation of all citizens, equal freedom and economic benefit and freedom for all and this has made South Africa to better up itself.”
However, he admitted that despite this trend of democratic achievement, land ownership in South Africa is still a serious challenge.
He acknowledged Liberia’s role in the fight for freedom for South Africa and extended President Jacob Zuma’s warm greetings to the Government and people of Liberia.
The Ambassador also extended appreciation to the Government of Liberia for the ongoing rebuilding process that has tackled roads and reconstruction of the Mount Coffee Dam.
On behalf of the Liberian government, Deputy Foreign Minister Elias Shoniyin said the Liberia-South Africa bilateral relation has been fruitful over the years, especially with the introduction of visa in Liberia which he said relieved people of hardships when they want to travel to South Africa.
Mr. Shoniyin also acknowledged South Africa’s role in the area of health and expressed his wish for such to continue as Liberia strives towards rebuilding its health sector.