By Web Master
The DA was honoured with an award at the event to promote liberal values.
In a speech delivered in Dakar, Senegal, over the weekend, DA leader Mmusi Maimane spoke about the need for the African continent to move away from decades of rule by post-liberation governments such as the ANC.
The event marked the 62nd congress of Liberal International, which is headquartered in London within the National Liberal Club. It was founded in Oxford in 1947, and has become the most well-known network for liberal parties and for “the strengthening of liberalism” around the world.
Maimane claimed in his speech that the DA was now the only party in South Africa fighting for a “free and open society with opportunities for all”.
He and the DA were recognised with a Freedom Award at the gathering, which he said was “only possible because the party I lead today stands on the shoulders of giants who came before me”.
He paid tribute to his predecessors: Helen Suzman, “who stood bravely for 13 long years as a lone voice of opposition to apartheid legislation in a hostile parliament”; “Tony Leon who, at the dawn of our democracy, chose opposition instead of position – knowing that his contribution to his country would be greater outside the government of unity than inside it”; and “Helen Zille, whose running of the flagship Western Cape province continues to set a benchmark in clean, accountable governance unmatched by anyone”.
He said there was “a profound symbolism to receiving this award here in Senegal” because it was not far from the island of Goree where Africans had been sold as slaves.
This is the door of no return on the island of Goree, where Africans were sold as slaves. Never again should this evil be repeated in any form. Freedom is never won, it should be fought for in every generation. We must build a prosperous Africa for all.
“It is a place where so many people lost their freedom. When they were sold into this system, they were no longer seen as human – they became mere commodities. Stripped of their own freedom, they built another economy while they suffered in hunger and poverty.
“They were prisoners in the land of liberty and they lost the dignity of being human – of being fathers, wives, daughters and sons.
“Our story in Africa has been a recycling of oppressive regimes, one after the other, in search of resources that can be exported to enhance the freedoms of others. Back then it was human capital and today it is our mineral resources.
“These are still difficult times on this continent. We are rich in resources, but hungry for food and development. We still attract aid ahead of trade. We have leaders who are rulers of the law rather than ruled by the law.
“Some still speak of the dark continent. But it is up to us to disprove this. We must rewrite Africa’s story. In many ways the pursuit of African freedom is the restoration of the dignity of being an African.”
The rest of his speech explored the need for the continent to move beyond being governed by those who had taken power in the post-colonial sweep, but were not willing to reform./the citizen