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21 Aug 2009 13:43
South African President Jacob Zuma made an emotional pilgrimage on Friday to a former anti-apartheid guerrilla camp in Angola, where he laid a wreath and paid tribute to fallen comrades.
Angola’s ruling MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) was a key ally of Zuma’s African National Congress (ANC) during the struggle against white minority rule, with many ANC members sheltered and trained in Angola.
“This is to remind us where we come from and encourage us to work harder for the goals for which many lost their lives,” Zuma said, speaking ahead of his journey to Kibaxi in Bengo Province, north of Luanda.
While the visit has focused on boosting trade, the two countries’ historical relationship has also played an important role, with Zuma taking every opportunity to thank Angola and the MPLA for their support for the ANC.
On Thursday, Zuma laid wreaths at a memorial of Angola’s first president, Agostinho Neto, and then at the grave of “an unknown” soldier who died in Angola’s liberation struggle with the Portuguese.
Ahead of Zuma’s arrival at the site, Themba Kubheka, South African Ambassador to Angola, told Angolan National Radio: “This is an emotional visit for us.
“We came to say to our people that are buried here in this part of the world, to say to them what they fought and died for has been achieved.”
After Kibaxi, Zuma was due to return to Luanda for lunch and an official leaving ceremony before flying back to South Africa later in the afternoon.
The two countries have signed a number of bilateral deals, including an oil cooperation pact, aimed at boosting trade and economic exchange.—Sapa-AFP
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