Mthatha – The official opening of the Mvezo Komkhulu Museum, in the Eastern Cape, will not only help to keep the Mandela legacy alive, but also boost tourism in the village.
Local chiefs, who witnessed the opening of the multi-million rand museum, by President Jacob Zuma, on Friday, also hailed the initiative, saying it will bring development to rural areas.
The people of Mvezo have welcomed the opening of the museum, which was part of several legacy projects launched in Mvezo and Qunu, on Friday, to mark the International Nelson Mandela Day, which is being celebrated globally on Mandela’s birthday.
Mandela, who was born in Mvezo, died in December, last year. He was hailed for working hard to ensure that development took place in villages like Mvezo.
Speaking at the ceremony, President Jacob Zuma called on South Africans to unite and make the country a better place to live in.
At the museum, President Zuma unveiled a giant statue of Mandela which stands tall at the entrance of the facility. He was accompanied by Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle and several traditional leaders led by Chief of Mvezo Zwelivelile Mandla Mandela.
Another statue was unveiled at the Mandela Science School, in Mvezo, in memory of Mandela’s grandfather, Prince Mandela, the son of King Ngubengcuka of the Thembu nation.
President Zuma said South Africans should learn from Mandela’s leadership and humanity to make the country better.
“Not many heroes are remembered by the whole world in such that a day is dedicated to them,” President Zuma said, referring to the United Nation’s historic decision a few years ago to declare 18 July International Nelson Mandela Day.
“This is the moment that allows South Africans to sit back and reflect on the legacy of this icon. It gives us an opportunity to do things that contribute to make our country better and events like this should unite us for a better South Africa.”
President Zuma also reminded South Africans that this year’s Mandela Day was being celebrated for the first time in Mandela’s absence.
“As a way of remembering our leader, we call on South Africans to take part in a clean-up campaign. Mandela has done a lot for humanity, he would be proud to see a clean South Africa where people take pride in the country they live in,” President Zuma said.
He called on young South Africans to emulate Mandela’s leadership and humility.
“He was brave and had a vision for our country. Young people who will lead this country in the future should learn from this if they are to achieve a much better South Africa.”
He added that the unveiling of the statue at the museum signified that Mandela’s memory lives on and the impact he made is left through his exemplary life.
The museum, which was funded through the National Lottery Distribution Fund, cost R23 million to build.
It has ten rondavels and each contains history of the selfless struggles of heroes and heroines that fought for the liberation of South Africa’s people.
Mvezo Chief Mandla Mandela thanked all the stakeholders and partners that were involved in the development and execution of the museum.