The National Heritage Council (NHC) of South Africa joins the world in mourning the passing away of the global icon from Africa, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, who died on the 5 November 2013 at his home in Houghton, Gauteng, South Africa.
“As I know him, President Mandela would have said that we must celebrate that which he lived for rather than to mourn his death,” says Advocate Sonwabile Mancotywa the Chief Executive of the NHC.
Mancotywa also admitted how difficult it is to accept especially because he served as a Member of the Executive Council in the first democratic government that was led by President Mandela.
He adds that “I can imagine how painful it may be for the family. Our sincere condolence goes to all the family members, the Mandela clan – ooMadiba, ooDlomo, ooSopitso, and the nation.”
The NHC has acknowledged the legacy of Mandela by awarding him the highest Ubuntu Honour in 2006 and today it is one of the reasons to celebrate what he has taught us about the values of universal humanity which South Africans know as Ubuntu.
We also celebrate Mandela through enlisting the significant liberation sites that will become part of heritage sites recognised by the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO. The sites that recognise the role Mandela in the liberation struggle and are tentatively listed on the UNESCO register include:
Robben Island: A recognized world Heritage property renowned as a place of banishment and incarceration of freedom fighters who are the current political leadership of South Africa.
University of Fort Hare: The first Black University, famous as the learning centre of development and scholarship where most political leadership of both South Africa and Africa were educated, e.g Nelson Mandela (South African), Seretse Khama (Botswana), Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe), Charles Njonjo (Kenya) and others.
Nelson Mandela Sites: Qunu, home of Nelson Mandela where he spent his childhood; Mandela House (Soweto) and the home of Nelson and Winnie Mandela.
Constitution Hill: Once served as a prison where the Rivonia trialists were detained and now it is a living museum.
Liliesleaf Farm: A historical place of the liberation movement where the ANC leadership (Nelson Mandela, Denis Goldberg, Ahmed Kathrada, Andrew Mlangeni, Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu, Elias Motsoaledi and Raymond Mhlaba) were arrested.