- Graça Machel, widow of Nelson Mandela, says his spirit of resilience guides the country following a troubled week of unrest and violence.
- She has said the violence and deaths of the past week have no place in South Africa.
- Mandela Day is being commemorated across the world on Sunday on what would have been his 103rd birthday.
The week of unrest and lawlessness that engulfed parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng has been torturous on South Africa, Graça Machel, widow of the late statesman Nelson Mandela, has said.
Commemorating Mandela Day on what would have been Mandela’s 103rd birthday on Sunday, Machel said she could not sit quietly as the land of his birth “wages war with itself.
“South Africa as a whole has been impoverished by this past week. Come Monday, thousands more of hard-working South Africans will have no job to go to, adding to our already astonishingly high unemployment rate. Businesses that are the backbone of our economy have suffered enormous setbacks,” Machel said in a statement.
The political violence, racial tensions, and the debilitating lawlessness we are experiencing have no place in this beautiful country. And all during the week of Madiba’s birthday! I cannot sit quietly as the land of his birth wages war with itself.
Parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng were decimated by unrest and mass looting that left businesses destroyed and turned large areas into rubbish heaps. More than 200 people died in the mayhem, 180 of them killed in KwaZulu-Natal.
Mandela’s spirit remains a beacon of light through troubled times, Machel said.
“I am sure that from up there where he is, he is watching this beloved country of his. And in his resolute determination, which has always guided us in the darkest hours of our history, he reminds us that we can overcome any challenge if we keep focus on what is just, what is right, and the unfinished work of what has to be done to bring us closer to an existence of dignity for us all,” she said.
“Madiba’s leadership guides us in this moment. We must be courageous enough to interrogate and remedy the underlying causes of our discord.”