ANC salutes Botswana for SA’s liberation

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African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Gwede Mantashe says it is important for liberation movements to stick together through trying times.

Speaking at the 55th anniversary of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in Serowe, Botswana, Mantashe thanked the Botswana
ruling party for their role in South Africa’s liberation.

Botswana gave the ANC refuge to hold its first conference in exile in 1962, after it was banned by the Apartheid regime.

The formation of the BDP coincided with the first conference of the ANC in exile following its banning by the apartheid regime.

The ANC used this landlocked country during those dark days in the history of South Africa, to cross to other countries where its
cadres would receive military training.

Mantashe says that solidarity is still significant today.

“No party grows and survives on its own. Every party in its lifetime gets under siege, and when it is under siege, it needs support of sister parties. We are talking from experience. If it was not for international solidarity, we would have never had our freedom.”

Botswana president Ian Khama says his country’s contribution to the struggle against oppressive regimes, was not only limited to South Africa.

“We also welcomed others from the region, including Samora Machel from Mozambique, president Geingob and president Nujoma from Namibia, and of course president Robert Mugabe. Botswana played important role in the liberation struggle of your country and other countries in the region, because we found ourselves right in the middle.”

The day was again a way for renewed appreciation.

A party supporter says, “I feel so proud that this party has taken us a long way.”

“It’s so nice today, to see something happening like this, “says another supporter.

“Us being here, it’s a very important day.”

Another supporter adds, “It’s a privilege and really an honour, travelling from Johannesburg, Gauteng, all the way, and we want to once again, thank you BDP.”

Both political parties are said to face stiff contest from opposition parties in the 2019 general elections.

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– By Itumeleng Kgajane