South African Ambassador to Liberia, Mr. Masilo Mabeta Nabeta, has attributed the 20-year freedom struggle of South Africa to roles of women, children and men, as well as other countries that fought along with South Africans to bring freedom to the nation.
Speaking during the celebration of the 20th anniversary of South Africa’s Freedom Day on Friday, May 23, Ambassador Mabeta said, “The country is now sweet and the people are happy since the April 1 Elections of 1994.”
According to him, April 27, 1994 was the day on which, for the first time, South Africans began to experience and enjoy democratic rule. The people cherished and continue to cherish democratic rule after many years of suffering.
Ambassador Nabeta explained that, “The first of April, 1994 was a time that people from the villages, towns, and the various communities came together to cast their votes for the first time, ending over three hundred years of colonial rule” under the cruel and inhumane apartheid regime.
“We will remember those that were in the struggle with us for freedom and we can say that the struggle was not just our struggle, but the struggle for Africa. So we owe this day to the selfless people that fought along with us to be free; and we need to hold together and move Africa forward.”
Ambassador Mabeta said the people of South Africa gained the right to water, electricity, sanitation, life, housing, health and movement after the April 1 election that brought Nelson Madiba Mandela to the presidency.
Several diplomats, ministers of government and key institutional heads graced the occasion.
They included Foreign Minister Augustine K. Ngafuah, Internal Affairs Minister Morris Dukuly, United States Ambassador Deborah Malac, Chinese Ambassador Zhan Yu, Cameroonian Ambassador Beng’Yela Augustine GANG, Cllr. Charles W. Bruskine and Liberian politician and economist, Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh. Dr. Tipoteh recited a poem he crafted and read on the 95th birthday anniversary of President Mandela.
Foreign Affairs Minister Ngafuan, in response to Ambassador Mabeta’s statement, told the audience, “We warmly recall Liberia’s own efforts and contributions toward the struggle for freedom and independence not only for South Africa but the entire Southern Africa.
According to the Minister, Liberia’s contribution was in solidarity with the brothers and sisters who struggled for freedom from racist colonial rule and for self-respect.
“This was a duty assigned to us by history as Africa’s first independent Republic and by our consciousness that our contributions and support were based on moral, humanistic and brotherly grounds, Minister Ngafuan noted.”
He further indicated that Liberia was vocal in the halls of the United Nations (UN) and the Organization of African Unity (now African Union) in advocating for the total emancipation of the people of South Africa from the manacles of racial discrimination and apartheid, at the time the worst kind of human suffering on the continent and in the world.
The Foreign Minister stressed that Liberia also played host and granted help to several liberation figures, including Joshua Nkomo of Zimbabwe, Sam Nujoma of Namibia and the legendary Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
The Liberian Foreign Minister said some of those African Liberation figures received Liberian diplomatic passports, financial and other forms of support.
The Foreign Minister added that these were provided to African brothers and sisters to allow them to traverse the globe in search of increased diplomatic, moral, material and financial support in their resistance to the unbearable physical and psychological pains caused by colonialism and apartheid.
He reassured Ambassador Mabeta that Liberia’s doors remain open to work with the embassy, government and the people of South Africa to expand people to people cooperation.