RESPECT: Councillor Mandla Ngcobo accompanies Queen Sibiya as she carries the flame. Picture: BONGANI MTHEMBU
The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal says the success of the month-long 100-year centenary celebrations in the province shows that the party is still largely appreciated by its people.
Yesterday, Premier Zweli Mkhize officially handed the centenary flame to the Eastern Cape after it made its last KwaZulu-Natal stop in Kokstad.
The premier had travelled to all areas, rural and urban, to present the flame to various stalwarts including 106-year-old Voviziswe Sithole who lives in Dannhauser in the Midlands.
Sithole worked closely with chief Albert Luthuli and former president Nelson Mandela when he was an active member in the 1940s. He will be a guest of honour at the ANC’s elective conference in December.
The ANC’s provincial secretary, Sihle Zikalala, said scores of people attended centenary activities in all 11 ANC regions.
“This is a clear indication that the ANC commands huge respect and that people appreciate the role the organisation has played in the past 100 years,” he said.
“While the flame created jubilation when it travelled the length and breadth of the province, it also reminded some of our people how painful the liberation struggle was.
“That is why some even cried when they saw it. We all know that many people lost their lives during the excruciating struggle for freedom,” said Zikalala.
The party also said they had gained new supporters, especially among minority communities.
“Many people asked to join the ANC during our centenary programme. We would like to thank them all,” said Zikalala.
The month-long programme also saw President Jacob Zuma spending time in the province and visiting homes of former ANC presidents, such as Josiah Gumede, in honour of whom he hosted a lecture.
The flame also went to the homes of Dr Pixley ka Seme and chief Albert Luthuli.
The centenary activities included rallies, lectures and the visiting of homes, graves of fallen heroes and churches by dignitaries.