Gandhi and Mandela Wanted to See a World With Tolerance: SA President Ramaphosa
Ramaphosa remembered Mahatma Gandhi's grand daughter Ela Gandhi who played a leading role in the women's movement in South Africa.
New Delhi: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his speech at the First IBSA Gandhi-Mandela Memorial Freedom Lecture in New Delhi, Friday, Jan. 25, 2019. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan)
New Delhi: Mahatma Gandhi and anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela wanted to see a world where there was tolerance for each other's religion, race, caste and regional affiliation, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Friday.
Speaking at the first IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) Gandhi-Mandela Memorial Freedom Lecture, Ramaphosa recalled Gandhi's famous words, "Be the change you want to see in the world".
"But what was the change Gandhi and Mandela wanted to see. They wanted to see elimination of poverty and a world where nations respect one another and multilateralism was upheld and respected and there was tolerance for each other's religion, race, caste and regional affiliation," he said.
Ramaphosa gave the lecture in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He said South Africa is looking forward to build its relations with India.
"We are two countries separated by ocean but bound together by the collective energies of our people. The legacies of Gandhi and Mandela have never been more important than they are today. We have a collective role in addressing global economy which is facing a number of challenges right now," he said.
Ramaphosa also recalled former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru's words who called Asia and Africa sister continents in 1955, saying "we are indeed sister continents".
Naming some of the Indians who contributed to the liberation movement in South Africa, he said they would always be remembered for their contribution.
He said many of them such as Ahmed Kathrada and Ismail Mohammad became gigantic figures in South Africa's democracy.
He also remembered Mahatma Gandhi's grand daughter Ela Gandhi who played a leading role in the women's movement in South Africa.
"I want to thank the people of India for their courage, encouragement, inspiration that they have sent to us during our struggle for liberation. India's leaders have been consistent in expressing their solidarity in liberation struggles of not just South Africa but of other countries as well," he said.
"Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, their legacies go far beyond their stature as the founding fathers of our two great countries India and South Africa," he said.
He lauded their efforts on justice and liberty, for human dignity and human rights and non-violent resistance.
"They share a common passion for supporting the principle of sustainable development. They also recognised the importance of environment conservation, of the agriculture self sufficiency," he said.
Noting that Gandhi and Mandela remained far ahead of their time, Ramaphosa said it is "indisputable" that they were great visionaries.
"We claim these two icons as our own and we are proud to follow in the footsteps of Gandhi and Mandela," he added.
"South Africa and India have come a long way in addressing our strategic challenges of under-development, economy. Both Gandhi and Mandela wanted to see a world free of racial discrimination," he said.
Ramaphosa, who arrived here this morning, will be the chief guest at the Republic Day Parade on Saturday.
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