Thabo Mbeki launches his foundation

The Thabo Mbeki Foundation launched on Sunday with the aim of making the 21st century an “African century”.

“... we must do everything we can to contribute to the realisation of the dream of the African masses that everything would be done, with them acting as makers rather than objects of history, to achieve the renaissance of Africa, and thus make the 21st an African century,” former president Thabo Mbeki said at the launch in Johannesburg.

“Among others, this means that we have to attend to the task of building the human capital we need to achieve Africa’s renewal, contribute to the continuing efforts to achieve peace and stability, attend to the task of women’s emancipation and empowerment, and help to ensure that our Continent takes its rightful place within the global community,” he said in a speech prepared for delivery at the event.

“I sincerely hope that the thing we are doing today, to launch the Thabo Mbeki Foundation, also serves, in its own small way, to reaffirm that Africa is continuing her rise from the ashes.”

Repeating a theme began with his “I am an African” speech in 1996, Mbeki said: ” I can think of no more noble objective to pursue, than the realisation of the aspirations of the peoples of Africa to rise from the ashes, to achieve their renaissance, to reaffirm their dignity among the nations, to depend on their native intelligence and labour to transform their dreams into reality, acting in unity as Africans.”

Mbeki and his wife Zanele are trustees of the foundation.

Guests expected to attend the address included presidents John Kufuour of Ghana, Joacquim Chissano of Mozambique and Romano Prodi of Italy.

Dr Mamphela Ramphele, an academic and businesswomen, Graça Machel, wife of former president Nelson Mandela, Judge Bernard Ngoepe and Professor Barney Pityana, were also expected to attend. - Sapa

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