Ultimate price paid by anti-apartheid icons is not valued today - Thabo Mbeki
Former president Thabo Mbeki says the sacrifices made by those who died for the freedom that the country enjoys today are not appreciated.
Speaking at the gala dinner for his 77th birthday at the Wanderers Club in Johannesburg on Tuesday night, Mbeki told hundreds of people that liberation was attained through people paying the ultimate price.
“The things that we are doing now are wrong. If you look at our past, there was a value system which informed these things.
“You see, some of the negative things happening in South Africa today, you can see that even if you talk to people and you say to them, ‘but you can’t do that’, they don’t understand what you’re talking about, because they’ve no sense of that value system which made so many of our people sacrifice their lives in order to liberate us,” said Mbeki.
The former president, who in April pledged his support to the ANC after what he described as the party now making a commitment to deal with certain issues - 11 years after he was ousted as president - spent his birthday with his wife Zanele Mbeki, former minister Aziz Pahad who served during the tenure of the former statesman, ANC veterans Mavuso Msimanga, Wally Serote and members of the Gauteng provincial executive committee.
The gala dinner, hosted by the Thabo Mbeki Foundation, drew large numbers from a range of business sectors that saw the 25 tables filled to capacity.
According to a staff member, each 10-seater table cost R75,000, for a total of R1.875m.
On top of that, delegates pledged to plough more money into the construction of the Thabo Mbeki presidential library. The highest amount came from an unknown individual who pledged a R1m.
The library was launched at the University of South Africa, but a new structure will be constructed in Killarney, Johannesburg, this year.
Mbeki reflected on what citizens can expect to find on the shelves of the library, including records on his time serving as a note-taker to former ANC president Oliver Tambo.
“It is very correct that as South Africans we take all the responsibility of making sure that this library exists. It’s a commitment that I think all of us in the room are making, let’s make this thing a reality,” Mbeki said.
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He said the library would help the nation gain access to its past. It would also give a glimpse into his tenure as SA's deputy president and insights into historic occasions such as discussions with the Soviet Union (now Russia).
The Soviet Union was at the forefront of the anti-colonial and anti-apartheid movements, and was the biggest benefactor of the ANC.