South-African High Commissioner to Botswana, Mdu Lembebe, has said that South Africa’s anti-apartheid history would be incomplete if Lobatse was not mentioned.
The South African envoy said this when paying homage to Lobatse and Keitseng family at an occasion held in Peleng Community Hall this week under the auspices, “Lobatse remembers Nelson Mandela.”
The former South Africa President Nelson Mandela was once hosted by the Keitseng family.
“The life of Mandela and that of South-African anti-apartheid struggle would be an incomplete history if Lobatse is not mentioned. I thus express sincere gratitude to people of Lobatse and Keitseng family. Addressing people in Peleng makes me feel like I have been offered to walk on the footsteps of Mandela,” said Lembebe.
He branded Peleng as a safe haven for legends. “Samora Machel, Sam Nujoma, Nelson Mandela were all protected by LobatseÔÇöit was a safe place for comrades whose only crime was to fight social injustices and racial segregation. On behalf South Africa, I thank you Peleng people and Batswana for supporting our struggle and offering us solidarity.”
He paid tribute to many Batswana who were victims of the raids made by what he termed “an oppressive and brutal apartheid regime.”
The High Commissioner showered praises on Fish Keitseng for his outstanding contribution to SA struggle.
“The reason why we celebrate Mandela is because of the people in the nature and form of Keitseng. He was a man of great distinction. There are few people who could take a risk of opening their homes to known fighters who were viewed as terrorists, let alone by the brutal apartheid regime. Mandela trusted Keitseng than anyone. He felt safe under his house.”
Lobatse Mayor Caroline Lesang said: “Lobatse is a small town by size but large in that it hosted world icons who proceeded to become head of states.”
She thanked the Department of National Museum Monuments and Art Gallery for recognizing and protecting Keitseng’s homestead as a national monument in 2012.
For her part, the chairperson for the Association of South Africans living in Bostwana, Rhoda Sekgororoane said: “The life and passing on of Mandela should redefine life; the passing on Mandela should give a new meaning of multi-racial society; his passing on should give a fresh meaning of freedom, democracy and equality.”
Tebogo Keitseng, who spoke on behalf of FK (Fish Keitseng) Trust, said, “The best way to honour Mandela, regardless of our station and status in our society is to make the earth a safe haven for children and cultivate the atmosphere of democracy.”
The event was attended by among others, Ambassadors, High Court Judges, Councilors, traditional and religious leaders, council secretaries and the public.