Saturday, 22 August 2015



Crystal Horizons Youth Centre is encouraging applicants from skilled and motivated young people to serve as Interns/Volunteers at Partners For Conservation in Rwanda. The purpose of this programme is to provide an opportunity for individuals to substantively contribute to and learn from the organisation work. The intern or volunteer will be given specific tasks and responsibilities and will be challenged to develop their capabilities and gain experience. The selected candidates are expected to be flexible and to take part in various activities at Partners For Conservation ‘s office and most of times in the field.

 About Partners For Conservation:

 Partners For Conservation is a Rwandan local Non-Profit Organization, founded in 2014. Partners For Conservation is involved in three main programmes including: (1) Education and research, information collection and sharing, (2) Capacity building and projects management, (3) Socio-cultural and economic development. In less than a year, Partners For Conservation has developed a strong, frank and responsible partnership between decision makers and beneficiaries as the only way to ensure a successful intervention. This was due to personal experience of the founder who has spent 13 years in community conservation of mountain gorillas. Currently, Partners For Conservation is involved in education of Vulnerable and Marginalised People by conducting a pilot project with aims of assessing reasons why children from these families (1) do not attend schools, (2) why those who attend leave before completing schools, (3) why those who managed to study don’t perform.  


Partners For Conservation believes in innate quality of every human being in promotion, protection and conservation of the biodiversity therefore everyone is a partner. This logic creates a harmonious feeling at both sides (donor and beneficiary) and a feeling of ownership as well. To do so, Partners For Conservation puts the beneficiary (referred to as a partner as well just to acknowledge his/her contribution) in the centre of our intervention. Once the ‘’partner’’ is given the opportunity to express the community needs, based to the existing priorities it becomes much easier to develop a proposal that meet the community needs/goal. Education in general is a backbone of our intervention, as we believe that educated population is an answer to a multipurpose situation. 

1.         Internship:

-           About the programme: internship provides tangible work experience required by most employers. The internship provides opportunities to students to gain valuable work experience and eases the transition between school and workforce.

Interns are placed in programmes related to their areas of study for a period not exceeding 6 months.

-           Objectives: the overall objectives are skills development and practical experience including:

a)         Capacity building: theory to practice, learning through performance and strengthen competences

b)         Gain valuable experience and increase marketability after internship

c)         Build expertise: learn more about the subject matter studied and develop an expertise at a higher level possible than a classroom

d)         Develop professionalism, communication, interpersonal and organizational skills

e)         Contribute to data collection and information sharing on the area of placement.

-           Key areas:

o   Community development and Poverty alleviation

o   Environmental education

o   Protection and conservation

o   Tourism development

o   Socio-economic integration

o   CBOs development

o   Agro-forestation

o   English training

o   Health and water and sanitation

o   Research and surveys

o   Grant writing and fundraising

o   Administration

o   Marketing

o   Advocacy and lobbying

-           Beneficiaries and selection: the programme is open to all students and independent researchers both Rwandans and international:

-           Requirements:

o   Recommendation letter from the institution (students) and commitment letter ( independent researchers)

o   Sponsorship letter and/or source of funding

o   Internship/research project proposal

o   What do we offer:

o   Assistance in securing internship/research permit

o   Assistance in visa processing

o   In-country training and orientation.

o   In-country staff supervision.

o   Assistance in finding accommodation and transport ( prior to negotiations)

2.         Volunteering:

-           About the programme:  volunteering programme contributes to capacity needs of local communities.  The placement programme experience starts with introduction to  language and cultural immersion program, giving volunteers an in-depth understanding of language basics, local culture, regional and local issues, and ways of life before the start of the volunteer programme.

Partners For Conservation is building its capacity in order to avail necessary facilities and experienced staffs.

 Our volunteering programme gives importance and priority to the community services that volunteers enlist in, we intend to include tourism, cultural immersion and adventure in the programme, that will make volunteering with us an exciting and lifetime experience!  

-           Objectives: as a volunteer in Rwanda you can provide love, affection, education and support to disadvantaged population including children, women and marginalised people. You will help to improve socio-economic integration of marginalised people, community development and poverty alleviation of poor people, protection and conservation of the fauna and flora of Rwanda, you will also be involved in education and inter-cultural exchange and understanding in African communities.

-           Key areas:

a)         Community development and Poverty alleviation

b)         Environmental education

c)         Protection and conservation

d)         Tourism development

e)         Socio-economic integration

f)          CBOs development

g)         Agro-forestation

h)         English training

i)          Health and water and sanitation

j)          Research and surveys

k)         Grant writing and fundraising

l)          Administration

m)        Marketing

n)         Advocacy and lobbying

-           Programme duration and charges:

a)         1 week ; b)      2 weeks: c)      3 weeks; d)      4 weeks:

Charges will be communicated and agreed on upon acceptance 

N.B: Extension of the stay is possible.

-           What do we include in our package:

a)         Processing the visa

b)         Processing the working permit

c)         Accommodation: Home stay or onsite at the community project

d)         Meals: Breakfast, dinner and super

e)         Project Donation

f)          Airport pickup on arrival and on departure.

g)         In-country training and orientation.

h)         In-country staff supervision.

i)          24/7 in-country support from partner, and 24hr emergency line

j)          Personalized Local Guide and Volunteer Care and Other Services

k)         Emergency support

l)          Certificate of Appreciation/Completion at the end of the Programme.



Please register before end of August, 2015 so that you can obtain your placement beginning September to be able to participate to the big event of Kwita Izina ceremony ( ).

About Rwanda: Rwanda is a landlocked East African country whose green and mountainous landscape has earned it the nickname of  “Land of a Thousand Hills.” Its renowned Volcanoes National Park is home to mountain gorillas.   For more about Rwanda and its attractive beauty please log on:

For application or more information kindly email: Ref Internship Notrebio/Crystal 15


Deadline for applications


Please note that the deadline for applications for interns starting in September 2015  is  30th August 2015

Chrystal Horizons Youth Centre (NPO No: 126-047)

Crystal Horizon Youth Centre (CHYC) is youth-led, independent non-profit organization located in South Africa. It was established by a group of young people in 2012 to instil creativity in African youth and engage them in the improvement of their own community.

The main purpose of the organisation is to inculcate in the youth an understanding of their important role in the development of their communities and to assist them in participating constructively in community development, nation-building and to develop a spirit of entrepreneurship among youth.

CHYC services focus on Youth Education and Culture, Youth mentoring, Volunteering, socio- entrepreneurship and youth health.



Sunday, 21 June 2015

                                                "Life without risk is not worth living."

-- Chuck Lindbergh, aviator

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Rwanda's first female pilot takes to the skies

Today I share with you an inspiring story of the first Rwandan female pilot by Marc Hoeferlin and Lauren Said-Moorhouse,

Esther Mbabazi wheels her bag towards the airstairs of the Boeing 737 sitting quietly on the tarmac at Kigali International Airport. Today she'll be flying from Rwanda's capital city to Juba in South Sudan.
A short hop south with a flying time of around 1 hour and 20 minutes. But for Mbabazi, 26, it isn't about the destination. As Rwanda's first female pilot, it's about the journey and her highest priority is to get passengers safely to their terminus.
"Growing up I wanted to be a pilot when I was four," says Mbabazi, who became a pilot for Rwanda's national airline carrier, RwandAir, at 24. "I'd never been inside a cockpit but I used to see a plane in the sky and I imagined that thing must be flown by someone.

"I had to go for it. Even though it looked like a long shot, it was my only shot -- that's how I saw it so I went for it, and here I am."
Dream big
During her childhood, Esther's family would move on a regular basis due to her father's work as a pastor. But her desire to take to the skies never wavered, even after her father passed away in a plane crash in the Democratic Republic of Congo, when the passenger aircraft he was traveling on overshot the runway and hit some terrain.
"From day one, he was always my biggest supporter or fan," recalls Mbabazi, who lost her father before turning 10."[But] an accident is an accident. Like I said, if someone gets hit by a car, you don't stop driving.
"You can't live life being scared an in fear of anything. If something is bound to happen, you can't stop it."
Going all in
Thus, Mbabazi continued to work toward her goal of becoming a pilot and achieving what no other woman in her country had done before.
Once she completed high school, she packed her things and bought a one-way ticket to attend pilot school in Uganda.
"When I went it was a one-way decision," she says. "If they bounce me, I'll just pack my things and come back -- so that was the way I joined pilot school, and it was a long journey."
"Time has changed. Women are out there working, technology has changed, and everyone has the brains to do something.
Esther Mbabazi, Rwanda's first female pilot
A year later, Mbabazi began training with Rwandair in Miami and her exploration of the aviation world began.
"My greatest memories are flying to different cities," she says. "Being in the sky gives you a whole other view -- you get to see what they call a bird's eye view of everything."
Sexism in the skies?
Now, the young pilot has become a pioneer in a male-dominated industry in Rwanda, and yet she knows she is constantly being closely watched because of her gender.
"No one ever says, 'Oh it's a male crew aircraft that crashed,' even though it's been many of the sort," she says. "But you know, if there's a woman on board and something happens, you know, definitely you're going to be mentioned."
Mbabazi recalls a previous incident where a passenger realized that the pilot for his flight was a woman shortly after arriving at the gate and refused to get on the flight.
"The cabin crew said we'll gladly leave you behind. You've already paid the ticket, so if your reason is that basic and shallow, it's not because of safety reasons. It's just because you don't want to fly with a woman, we'll gladly leave you behind."
Mbabazi refuses to let her critics win and is determined to continue being a role model for others. She hopes that her achievements can provide inspiration to other women who might not think they can attain their dreams jobs.
"Time has changed," she says. "Women are out there working, technology has changed, and everyone has the brains to do something, now it's not about how much bicep or how much energy you have."
From African Voices  which is a CNN's weekly show that highlights Africa's most engaging personalities, exploring the lives and passions of people who rarely open themselves up to the camera.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Nigerian Novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaks on african women

 Extract from Claire Cohen’s article of Telegraph ( Novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie  tells Claire Cohen of her determination to bust the 'Cinderella myth' and change traditional expectations of her fellow Nigerian women.)

"In Nigeria, domestic abuse it still present in a very significant way,". "People say to women, 'he beats you, but did you do anything? Did you not cook dinner on time?' We need to educate them.

 "Without marriage you're not complete there. I know a middle-class woman who owned her own house, but was single and worried that men were intimidated. So she sold her house to find a husband. We can't blame poverty. It's a way of thinking that a lot of us have internalised."

"My nephew is 13, my niece 11 and they're growing up in England. Once I was at their house and my nephew was hungry. So his mother said to my niece ' go and make him some noodles'. I said, 'wait, why can't he make his own noodles?' I suddenly realised, that although both of these children are doing well at school and are equally smart, the girl is still expected to cook for him.

"I was really upset. Sometimes you go to Nigerian homes and the men are starving. There's food in the kitchen, but they're waiting for the woman. So, for me, that was very striking. I'm happy to report that my sister-in-law said 'OK we'll teach him how to make noodles now.' I was like good. We're making progress."

About Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie  

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie  (born in1977) is a writer from Nigeria ; She has been called "the most prominent" of a "procession of critically acclaimed young anglophone authors [that] is succeeding in attracting a new generation of readers to African literature". Her first novel, Purple Hibiscus (2003), received wide critical acclaim; it was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction (2004) and was awarded the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book (2005).

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie became a household name after writing her acclaimed novel, Half of a Yellow Sun. For the full article:


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Acceptance speech of the President of the African National Congress, Nelson Mandela, at the Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony

 10 December 1993, Oslo, Norway

Your Majesty the King,
Your Royal Highness,
Honourable Prime Minister, Madame Gro Brundtland,
Ministers, Members of Parliament and Ambassadors,
Esteemed Members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee,
Fellow Laureate, Mr. F.W. de Klerk,...
Distinguished guests,
Friends, ladies and gentlemen:

I am indeed truly humbled to be standing here today to receive this year`s Nobel Peace Prize.

I extend my heartfelt thanks to the Norwegian Nobel Committee for elevating us to the status of a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate my compatriot and fellow laureate, State President F.W. de Klerk, on his receipt of this high honour.

Together, we join two distinguished South Africans, the late Chief Albert Luthuli and His Grace Archbishop Desmond Tutu, to whose seminal contributions to the peaceful struggle against the evil system of apartheid you paid well-deserved tribute by awarding them the Nobel Peace Prize.

It will not be presumptuous of us if we also add, among our predecessors, the name of another outstanding Nobel Peace Prize winner, the late African- American statesman and internationalist, the Rev Martin Luther King Jr.

He, too, grappled with and died in the effort to make a contribution to the just solution of the same great issues of the day which we have had to face as South Africans.

We speak here of the challenge of the dichotomies of war and peace, violence and non-violence, racism and human dignity, oppression and repression and liberty and human rights, poverty and freedom from want.

We stand here today as nothing more than a representative of the millions of our people who dared to rise up against a social system whose very essence is war, violence, racism, oppression, repression and the impoverishment of an entire people.

I am also here today as a representative of the millions of people across the globe, the anti-apartheid movement, the governments and organisations that joined with us, not to fight against South Africa as a country or any of its peoples, but to oppose an inhuman system and sue for a speedy end to the apartheid crime against humanity.

These countless human beings, both inside and outside our country, had the nobility of spirit to stand in the path of tyranny and injustice, without seeking selfish gain.

They recognised that an injury to one is an injury to all and therefore acted together in defence of justice and a common human decency.

Because of their courage and persistence for many years, we can, today, even set the dates when all humanity will join together to celebrate one of the outstanding human victories of our century.

When that moment comes, we shall, together, rejoice in a common victory over racism, apartheid and white minority rule.

That triumph will finally bring to a close a history of five hundred years of African colonisation that began with the establishment of the Portuguese empire.

Thus, it will mark a great step forward in history and also serve as a common pledge of the peoples of the world to fight racism wherever it occurs and whatever guise it assumes.

At the southern tip of the continent of Africa, a rich reward is in the making, an invaluable gift is in the preparation, for those who suffered in the name of all humanity when they sacrificed everything - for liberty, peace, human dignity and human fulfilment.

This reward will not be measured in money. Nor can it be reckoned in the collective price of the rare metals and precious stones that rest in the bowels of the African soil we tread in the footsteps of our ancestors.

It will and must be measured by the happiness and welfare of the children, at once the most vulnerable citizens in any society and the greatest of our treasures.

The children must, at last, play in the open veld, no longer tortured by the pangs of hunger or ravaged by disease or threatened with the scourge of ignorance, molestation and abuse, and no longer required to engage in deeds whose gravity exceeds the demands of their tender years.

In front of this distinguished audience, we commit the new South Africa to the relentless pursuit of the purposes defined in the World Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children.

The reward of which we have spoken will and must also be measured by the happiness and welfare of the mothers and fathers of these children, who must walk the earth without fear of being robbed, killed for political or material profit, or spat upon because they are beggars.

They too must be relieved of the heavy burden of despair which they carry in their hearts, born of hunger, homelessness and unemployment.

The value of that gift to all who have suffered will and must be measured by the happiness and welfare of all the people of our country, who will have torn down the inhuman walls that divide them.

These great masses will have turned their backs on the grave insult to human dignity which described some as masters and others as servants, and transformed each into a predator whose survival depended on the destruction of the other.

The value of our shared reward will and must be measured by the joyful peace which will triumph, because the common humanity that bonds both black and white into one human race, will have said to each one of us that we shall all live like the children of paradise.

Thus shall we live, because we will have created a society which recognises that all people are born equal, with each entitled in equal measure to life, liberty, prosperity, human rights and good governance.

Such a society should never allow again that there should be prisoners of conscience nor that any person`s human rights should be violated.

Neither should it ever happen that once more the avenues to peaceful change are blocked by usurpers who seek to take power away from the people, in pursuit of their own, ignoble purposes.

In relation to these matters, we appeal to those who govern Burma that they release our fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, and engage her and those she represents in serious dialogue, for the benefit of all the people of Burma.

We pray that those who have the power to do so will, without further delay, permit that she uses her talents and energies for the greater good of the people of her country and humanity as a whole.

Far from the rough and tumble of the politics of our own country, I would like to take this opportunity to join the Norwegian Nobel Committee and pay tribute to my joint laureate, Mr. F.W. de Klerk.

He had the courage to admit that a terrible wrong had been done to our country and people through the imposition of the system of apartheid.

He had the foresight to understand and accept that all the people of South Africa must, through negotiations and as equal participants in the process, together determine what they want to make of their future.

But there are still some within our country who wrongly believe they can make a contribution to the cause of justice and peace by clinging to the shibboleths that have been proved to spell nothing but disaster.

It remains our hope that these, too, will be blessed with sufficient reason to realise that history will not be denied and that the new society cannot be created by reproducing the repugnant past, however refined or enticingly repackaged.

We live with the hope that as she battles to remake herself, South Africa will be like a microcosm of the new world that is striving to be born.

This must be a world of democracy and respect for human rights, a world freed from the horrors of poverty, hunger, deprivation and ignorance, relieved of the threat and the scourge of civil wars and external aggression and unburdened of the great tragedy of millions forced to become refugees.

The processes in which South Africa and Southern Africa as a whole are engaged, beckon and urge us all that we take this tide at the flood and make of this region a living example of what all people of conscience would like the world to be.

We do not believe that this Nobel Peace Prize is intended as a commendation for matters that have happened and passed.

We hear the voices which say that it is an appeal from all those, throughout the universe, who sought an end to the system of apartheid.

We understand their call, that we devote what remains of our lives to the use of our country`s unique and painful experience to demonstrate, in practice, that the normal condition for human existence is democracy, justice, peace, non-racism, non-sexism, prosperity for everybody, a healthy environment and equality and solidarity among the peoples.

Moved by that appeal and inspired by the eminence you have thrust upon us, we undertake that we too will do what we can to contribute to the renewal of our world so that none should, in future, be described as the wretched of the earth.

Let it never be said by future generations that indifference, cynicism or selfishness made us fail to live up to the ideals of humanism which the Nobel Peace Prize encapsulates.

Let the strivings of us all, prove Martin Luther King Jr to have been correct, when he said that humanity can no longer be tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war.

Let the efforts of us all, prove that he was not a mere dreamer when he spoke of the beauty of genuine brotherhood and peace being more precious than diamonds or silver or gold.Let a new age dawn!Thank you.


I beg the indulgence of all South Africans and the world to break with convention because today is a tribute to no ordinary man. I do so not because of my disrespect but because I have been asked to pay tribute to one of the greatest sons ever to grace the length and breadth of our beautiful country, co...ntinent and indeed, the world.

All the contributors to this special sitting have spoken with unanimity because the man we are paying tribute to was well-loved and respected across the aisles of this august house. Allow me to start where I should end. Aah Dalibhunga! Madiba! Sopitsho! Yem Yem! Allow me to speak directly to our icon as if he was present among us. I am doing so because for a life he so well-lived and the dedication he put to a cause in the service of others. I am addressing him directly Mr Speaker, because although he has passed on, his spirit moves in this house.

Madiba, when the sad news of your passing on was received on the 5th of December, many thought the sun would not rise the following day. It did rise, but there was a strong ray missing. The nation should indeed be in mourning but the need to celebrate your life surpasses all our tears. We need to reflect deeply and safeguard all those institutions which you bestowed upon us. One of these institutions is the Constitution, which we are all obliged to safeguard. There is no better way to thank you as Parliamentarians than to ensure that the Constitution you assisted to craft will always reign supreme.

In 1934 at the age of 16 years, when you returned from the initiation school at Mvezo, the elders gave you the name Dalibhunga. To be given such a unique name at that age was an indication that you were born to lead. Whether you knew that one day, as 490 legislators we would be so gathered in solemn respect to wish you well on your next journey, is a question we cannot answer. For many of us it was neither envisaged nor forethought, even though we knew it was inevitable.

I remember with fond memories when you visited to my Constituency in on the 27th of April 1994. You had come to report back to the first President of the African National Congress, Rev Langalibalele Dube, that the people of South Africa had attained universal franchise for all. As a symbol of respect, you cast your vote at Ohlange High School, in Inanda, a school established by Rev Dube. I had the honour to accompany you when you cast your first vote as a free South African.

I am today speaking of you as a man who could have chosen to lead a life of comfort and wealth, of glory and fame, but chose to lead his people. I am speaking of you who could have chosen to challenge the laws of the country in high courts and win, but chose to lead a life of prison – all because of the love you had for your people.

With your friends, Walter Sisulu and former President Oliver Tambo you forged one of the best fighting triumvirates against the system of Apartheid. The three of you became the architects of our democratic order.

Some of us who were called to serve in your Cabinet approached the responsibilities with fear and trepidation. You comforted us all by stating that we were equal to the task because you too, had never been President before. We took our cue from you and did the best we could in spite of our inexperience. It was an honour to serve in the first Cabinet at your pleasure, Mr President.

You taught us the true meaning of forgiveness. You helped us to reclaim our dignity as a people, and emboldened us to stand with our shoulders high and our chins up. Your power to forge unity through sports across all codes, reduced all anxieties and fear for the future. Captured in Invictus, your power to use rugby to heal the nation will be kept for posterity to assist our children forge an even tighter unity.

Bidding you farewell as a gallant soldier, Commander-in-Chief and leader of our revolution is to send you to meet those leaders of the ANC who went before you, such as Dube, Lembede, Mda, Tambo, Luthuli, Mabhida, Joe Slovo and Chris Hani and many others. You have joined the leadership corps that never bent when they were persecuted – a leadership that faced grinding indignity of the humiliation the system of Apartheid, and came out on the other side with their heads held high. It was a leadership that never bent with the wind. You are also joining your favourite isiXhosa poet, S.E.K Mqhayi whom you referred to as our Shakespeare, our laureate, and “a comet streaking through the night sky.”

I remember vividly that at Your Welcome Home Rally in Durban you called on South Africans to throw their weapons in the sea, a decision which was not popular particularly in KwaZulu-Natal at the time. It was only later that we realized the wisdom of your call, for continuing with internecine violence would have led to a mutually assured destruction, making the attainment of peace even more difficult.

You have taught us the true values of humility. Your leadership has been one that was underpinned by honesty. You were courageous and led our country with integrity. You were compassionate and generous. You warned against the devastation of war and preached peace in some of the intractable conflict zones such as when you were the facilitator in the Burundi conflict.

You brought us back into the family of nations. Having been isolated because of the policies of our past, the presence of world leaders tomorrow and Sunday will bear testament to the manner in which you have helped us find our place in the community of nations. Indeed, when you stated on 10 May 1994 that “Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world,” you were ushering us into an equal footing with the nations of the world.

So when I pay tribute to you today I am moved by the spirit of respect that has been accorded to you from the different time zones. It is zones that are earlier time zones than ours, such as time zones of our friends and Comrades in New Zealand and in the Eastern Pacific. I am talking about those in the different climates who lived in the sunny parts of Europe and the colder climes of the Antarctic. I am speaking about the many tributes that have poured from the Americas and from our African brothers and sisters. Your life touched all of them and restored faith in the triumph of the human spirit.

I am talking about the kaleidoscope of the colours of the people of the world who inhabit the Antipodes, the Transatlantic, the Equator and the Amazon forests. I am talking about people of different political and ideological persuasions and religious convictions. All of these looked up to you as their own icon too.

You could have chosen the relative comfort of the life of royalty, but you chose an uncomfortable path of taking up the cause of your people’s freedom. You were ready to die for the cause you took, and had to suffer the indignity of twenty seven year’s incarceration. But you taught us much more than sacrifice. You taught us the true meaning and the power of forgiveness.

More than any other leader, you stand majestically as the rightful claimant to the title of Father of the Nation.

I am paying tribute to you as recipient of the Noble Peace Prize. I am paying tribute to you as a man who braced the cold weather of the Atlantic on Robben Island and the glaring light of the sun that nearly made you blind. I am paying tribute to you as the man who stood to defy the power of the Apartheid State and told them that you would stay your course for the benefit of his people.

From the loins of Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa and the girdle of the Nosekeni of the Nkedama of the amaMpevu clan, you were born to lead the nation and the world. You washed in the waters of Mbashe River in Mvezo, which (in your Long Walk to Freedom) you described as (Quote) “a place apart, a tiny precinct removed from the world of great events, where life was lived as much as it had been for hundreds of years. (Unquote).

In your veins coursed the royal blood of Mqhekezweni, where you defied your noble station in life to be a ploughboy, a wagon guide, a shepherd who rode horses, shot birds and jostled with other boys in stick fighting. I speak of you as a man who chose to be ordinary. At this Palace, you lived a life of simplicity, even when you could have taken advantage of the royal life of golden spoons and gilded existence.

From this experience you learnt that in the presence of opulence, the lives of the less endowed were more important than your own. Although you walked tall among Kings, Queens, Presidents and Prime Ministers, you never forgot the ordinary men and women.

You ran your race with distinction and you now have to take a well-earned and deserved rest. We shall always remember you for the favourite theme song Lizalis’idinga lakho! (Fulfil Thy Promise Oh God of Truth!) which you sang with much zest and vigour. As the sweet melodies of the song reverberate, we join you with the composer, Tiyo Soga, in wishing you smooth passage on your next journey. Today we call on the voices of Sisulu, Tambo, Luthuli, Mabhida and Hani to join you in the melodic lyrics that filled the Waaihoek Methodist Church at our movement’s inaugural meeting on 8 January 1912.

It is in another song that your impact on the lives of others and the example that you set where one should also look to. Thus when Whitney Houston in her velvety voice sang the R Kelly-written song, I Look To You, they must have been referring to the example that you set for all.

She sang:

As I lay me down;
Heaven hear me now;
I’m almost lost without a cause;
After giving it my all,
After my strength has gone;
And when melodies are gone
In you I can be strong;
I look to you.

I stand today to proclaim to the world that although you were ours in the African National Congress, there are many who have claimed you as their own hero too. You were a man for all seasons, a leader to all of us, and a glue that binded us together.

We live in the comfort that you and many other leaders of the movement never wavered in your resolve to categorize our struggle as a just one. We have never wavered, under your able leadership, to tell the world that as we struggled for our liberation, we were also struggling for all the oppressed people of the world.

Now that you are in your eternal sleep, and now that you have breathed your last breath, the world looks back at you with fond memories of a man who captured their imagination. There are those who have nimbler feet, whose memory of your famous Madiba shuffle shall forever consume their imaginations. There are those of the lettered kind, whose abiding memories shall be your sharp pen and excellent wit. There are many who are more inclined to the world of fashion, who will remember your multi-coloured shirts.

Then there are children who will always remember the love you have for them. Many of us, as lawyers, remember vividly how you showed how injustice permeated our courts. When you stood in that inquisitory court to proclaim that you stood accused in a White Man’s court, you made us realize that the issue of justice was paramount and until there were equal rights for all there would be no justice.

There are now stark questions that many people are asking about the African National Congress, as we are laying you to your eternal rest on Sunday. The first of these is whether the African National Congress will ever be the same again. Let me, without equivocation, state that you voluntarily joined the African National Congress as member.

You were a colossus who led the Africa National Congress and our country during one of its most trying and difficult times of the transformation of the country. Some have used similar terms such as titan and giant who carried a universal message. You contributed immensely to its growth and consolidations. You will go down in history as one of the shapers of our democratic state. Even by your own admission, you claimed to have been no bigger than other members of the African National Congress, stating eloquently, that you were a member of the collective. But I say you were first amongst equals.

On such occasions of grief, we have to accept that such big men as yourself, survive because of the support of even stronger women. There can be no mention of Tata Mandela’s achievements without mentioning the sterling roles that were played your wife Mama Graca and Mam Winnie. To these strong women, and the entire Mandela family we appreciate how they ensured that the Madiba we bid farewell to today had comfort and support, and that throughout his life, he had a shoulder to lean on.

Your long walk to freedom has not ended. It is just the passing of an era. We pick up your spear to continue your long walks towards the economic emancipation of all so that our economy must reflect the demographics of the new South African rainbow nation.

As I close, let me go back to the beginning. Dalibhunga! Sopitsho! Madiba! Dlomo! Yem Yemu! Ngqolomsila! Velabambhentsele! The big tree has fallen. The world will never be the same again! A pledge we make to you Mr President is that as a nation, we will keep on walking.