On International Mandela Day, 18 July 2013, the Worcester Peace and Reconciliation Process launched a book to tell the story of the journey of diverse members of the Worcester community towards restitution and reconciliation. Khulumani Worcester Chairperson, Mr Harris Sibeko, delivered a speech on behalf of Khulumani Support Group.
Dear friends and colleagues, Thank you for gathering here today to mark the 95th birthday of our founding President, Tata Nelson Mandela by launching this powerful photo-history of the Worcester Hope and Reconciliation Process. There could be no more fitting tribute to our beloved former President than to mark this significant birthday today with the launch of this book. The books bears testimony to the inspiration that so many have derived from the commitment of Madiba to the work of building peaceful and reconciled communities in South Africa and the world.
It was Madiba who said that “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner”. He also explained that “Reconciliation means working together to correct the legacy of past injustice.” It is the process of facing the past to correct its injustices that continues to inform the efforts of the Worcester Hope and Reconciliation Process. Khulumani Support Group is proud to be a partner in these efforts of the people of Worcester coming together to give meaningful content to the idea of reconciliation.
The Worcester Hope and Reconciliation Process created opportunities for Stefaans Coetzee, one of the bombers, to explain to survivors of the bombing, “I never thought that children could die in the bomb blasts. It really affected me badly. I felt like a coward. It shook me to my core.” It also created the opportunity for Maxie Mngomezulu, whose beloved uncle, Sydney Jalile died in the bombing, to explain “There is still such a big hole in my heart. I loved my uncle. I still miss him so much.”
This process of creating space for listening to and engaging each other has been at the core of the efforts of the Worcester Hope and Reconciliation Process. We have learned that there is no other way to building peace and to finding healing.
Thank you to each of you here today for your involvement in this process that is leading the way in showing the power of people taking hands together to build a healed and reconciled nation through restoring each other’s humanity.
May this struggle continue as we send our love and thoughts to Madiba on this special day – International Mandela Day. I thank you.