South Africa’s President Ramaphosa speaks Kiswahili on Mondays

Friday August 16 2019

President Cyril Ramaphosa lays a wreath on the

President Cyril Ramaphosa lays a wreath on the graves of the freedom fighters at the Solomon Mahlangu Camp in Mazimbu, Morogoro. The Citizen

By Paul Owere

Morogoro. South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa today said he has learnt a great deal of Kiswahili language with the aid of the books that were given to him by President Magufuli in May.

Ramaphosa was speaking Friday at the Solomon Mahlangu Camp in Mazimbu, Morogoro where he hailed the efforts and sacrifices made by Tanzania and Mwalimu Julius Nyerere in particular towards the liberation struggle in Southern Africa.

“I have made deliberate efforts to learn Kiswahili and to speak but due to the fact that we have 11 national languages in South Africa, I now speak Kiswahili on Mondays and if anyone wants to  see the strides I have made just come on Monday,” said the SA president amidst applause.

He added that he had taken special interest in speaking the language given the books that were presented to him by his Tanzanian compatriot three months ago during his inauguration.

President Ramaphosa said Morogoro and Tanzania holds a special place in his heart because not just by the fact it was home to the African national Congress freedom fighters (Umkhonto we Zizwe the armed wing of the ANC) but part of his family lived  there for a very long time.

“My two nieces who are children to my brother were born here, this therefore makes it a part of me that can never go away because their umbilical codes were buried here,” he said.

He hailed the efforts that have been made to preserve the area with certain features still standing such as the Chief Albert Lithuli Primary School.

“You have kept the names that many of the structures, buildings and streets that have been given to the heroes of our struggle. I was very moved as we came in and I saw the Chief Labert Lithuli Primary School. It immediately touched my heart to know that you have kept that name and that connects you to us in South Africa,” said Mr Ramaphosa.

In a moving speech the South African President recounted the sacrifices that Tanzania made towards the struggle against Apartheid saying it would not be complete without the ‘Morogoro Chapter’.

“What you did as a people and as a nation is something that we will never forget. We will thank you eternally for the support and the sacrifices that you made for us to be free. We owe the freedom that we have today to the people of Tanzania,” he said.

This year marks 50 years since the first ANC consultative conference was held and it was in Morogoro, something that Ramaphosa says redefined ANC’s journey as a liberation movement.

 “The ANC consultative conference in 1969 in Morogoro in many ways redefined the trajectory of our struggle and that of the ANC. It was a pivotal moment of our liberation, for it was a moment of renewal and revitalization of purpose,” he said.

The South African President among other issues planted a tree and laid a wreath on some of the graves of the freedom fighters who were laid to rest at the Solomon Mahlangu camp in Mazimbu.

The South African President is in the country on a two day state visit ahead of the 39th ordinary SDAC heads of states and governments meeting which kicks off on August 17.