Nigeria celebrates 20 years of freedom with S.Africa - CNBC Africa

Nigeria celebrates 20 years of freedom with S.Africa

Western Africa

by Dara Rhodes 0

Former South African presidents F.W. De Klerk, Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki at Mandela’s inauguration in 1994. PHOTO: Getty images

This year marks South Africa’s 20th year as a democratic state and while the society is still transforming.

South Africans celebrated as they retained their faith in the democratic system and Nigeria joined in the celebrations.

“Our ties with Nigeria have come a long way. They were at the fore front of this during our struggle especially at the international level at the United Nations,” the South African Consul General, Ambassador Mokgethi Samuel Monaisa told CNBC Africa.

According to the Ambassador, Nigeria was involved in the organisation of a united Africa and he believes that Nigerians, as well as Africans from other countries, supported the struggle against apartheid.

Arunma Oteh, Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission said, “The gains of democracy, the gains of freedom, we can all see it. We can see that South Africa has taken its position in the world as a result of what happened in 1994”.

The rainbow nation’s elections are set for 7 May and this year will be the first time that all South Africans in the Diaspora will participate in the elections.

“I want to say to South Africans, remain that example, the example of unity and diversity, the example of the rainbow nation. The sky is your limit, there is still a lot that will happen in South Africa because of this unity of purpose,” Oteh added.

Oteh believes that the strides in relations between Nigeria and South Africa are things that will take Africa to the next level and that when people see that these two countries are partnering, others will follow that lead.

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Konyin Ajayi from the Emmanuel Chapel of the Methodist Church Nigeria said, “My message to the people in South Africa is that they must realise that they have a great responsibility to all of us on the continent and there is still a lot more for them to do to show all of us the way”.

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South Africa’s fight for freedom was one of the most dramatic events of all time and while the country has made very significant progress, there is still a lot to be done to ensure total equality and freedom for all South Africans.

“There are still some people I know who are still in one form or another trapped by poverty, and so one hopes that the goodness and the prosperity that we see in some people in South Africa extends to all men to show that freedom truly exists in South Africa.”

Frank Chikane, General Secretary, South Africa council of Churches said, “I’m quite concerned that we are losing what that freedom meant to us. For the world, it was almost something exemplary because if it can happen in South Africa, it can happen in the whole world and people looked at the global policy issues that needed to change”.

“If we failed, it means we would have failed the world and I think the challenge for us is to create a society where there is equity and people can live in peace,” Chikane added.

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