Former presidents of South Africa have described Nelson Mandela as a dedicated revolutionary whose mission was to fight for a non-racial, non-sexist and free South Africa. They were delivering their speeches at the Nelson Mandela centenary birthday celebrations at his ancestral home of Mvezo outside Mthatha in the Eastern Cape on Wednesday.

Former president Kgalema Motlanthe says Madiba was a disciplined cadre who played a pivotal role in the fight against apartheid.

“He was a volunteer in chief and the one who defied unjust laws and led volunteers in defiance and when the time arrived for our people to refuse to accept that their organization has been outlawed, Madiba in his own words he said there comes a time in every nation when the choice is rather to surrender or to fight and he declared that our people were ready to fight and therefore he was instrumental  in establishing  Umkhonto Wesizwe,” says Motlanthe.

Former president Jacob Zuma also defended Mandela saying he was a true freedom fighter who never sold out. Zuma says Madiba was a selfless leader who was prepared to die in order to free the people of South Africa from oppression.

“President  Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, a life only dedicated to the struggle for freedom , justice and equality . In President Mandela we see everything we seek in ourselves. President Mandela the Commander in Chief of Mkhonto Wesizwe was a moral, intellectual and political leader,” adds Zuma.

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