Cape Town - Nelson Mandela’s grandson Mandla Mandela paid tribute to the “gallant women” of 1956 who marched to Pretoria to petition the government against the pass laws, when he accepted a gift at a Women’s Day event in Bellville on Saturday.
Mandla, an ANC MP and chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council, accepted a mirror made for his grandfather a decade ago. It was crafted for him “in honour of all the sacrifices in his life” by Bellville South residents, but Mandela had been ill on the day he was due to receive it.
On Saturday Mandla told a crowd of 250 people at the Bellville South Civic Centre that he was honoured to accept the gift on behalf of the Mandela family. It was handed over by a women’s interfaith group and members of the Bellville South community police forum.
Event organiser Elizabeth “Lizzie” Erasmus said she hoped the mirror would find a home in the Nelson Mandela museum in Mthatha.
She said Bellville residents had wanted to hand over the mirror to Madiba in 2004 in celebration of 10 years of democracy, so it was fitting that it was now being handed over to his grandson the year the country celebrated 20 years of democracy.
In a short address, Mandla said the 1956 march, which national Women’s Day commemorates, helped shape a democratic South Africa.
“Today we are able to stand as a nation on their shoulders and proclaim our freedom,” he said. “My grandfather may no longer be with us today, but his spirit lives on.”
Mandela died, aged 95, on December 5 last year at his home in Houghton, Joburg.
Mandla said it was up to all South Africans to “pick up the baton Mandela left behind”, and be “role models of this new South Africa”.
He later excused himself to join the pro-Palestinian march which took place in Cape Town.