ZAPU has hit out at local critics who have tried to downplay former South Afican President Nelson Mandela’s legacy saying economic transformation of a country does not happen overnight.
The party that fought side by side with Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) was among several groups that took part in a special memorial service for the late global icon held at the Centenary Park on Saturday. Mandela died on December 5 and was buried in his ancestral home of Qunu yesterday.
Commentators in the State media have been at pains to point out the shortcomings of Mandela’s presidency saying he never challenged instruments of capitalism.
But Zapu, represented by its alternate secretary-general Strike Mnkandla, said the criticism was misplaced.
“There are many who cynically point out that the transition to democracy in South Africa has not yet resulted in change for the majority of black South Africans,” he said.
“Achieving economic transformation for the majority is a great challenge in pyramidal economies crafted to benefit fewer and fewer people at the top.
However, it is something to ponder that South Africa’s developed economy is still a magnet for Africans near and far from the country’s borders.
“Our people continue to vote with their feet as commentators suggest that change in South Africa has to come faster. That country and its first black president comrade Nelson Mandela provide lessons and challenges at the same time.”
An estimated three million Zimbabweans have sought economic refuge in South Africa.
He said Mandela’s words of defiance at his Rivonia trial were part of the inspiration for young people like Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa who were old enough to take up arms to do so in order to overthrow minority regimes in the region.
“During his incarceration in Robben Island and the detention of our own party president comrade Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo in Gonakudzingwa, the Zapu and ANC Alliance launched combined operations on Zimbabwean soil in 1967 (Wankie) and 1968 (Sipolilo) against Rhodesian and South African forces,” he said.
“Madiba’s example and dedication served as a compass for the ‘victory or death’ outlook for many fighters in Southern Africa.”
MDC-T Bulawayo province chairperson Gorden Moyo spoke on behalf of his party at the event while the MDC led by Welshman Ncube was represented by its spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube.
Former Bulawayo town clerk Moffat Ndlovu represented the United Congressional Church of Southern Africa and Chief Ndondo spoke on behalf of the Xhosa people in Zimbabwe. Black Umfolosi and several other cultural groups from the city entertained guests.
Mnkandla said Dabengwa could not attend the event because he had gone to South Africa for the funeral. MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai was also at the funeral in Qunu.
Read full tribute to Mandela on: http://www.southerneye.co.zw/2013/12/16/zapu-tribute-mandela-2/