Parliament, in partnership with Freedom Park on Thursday, held a Students’ Parliament as part of the commemoration of the centenary birthdays of former president Nelson Mandela and struggle stalwart Albertina Sisulu.
The students from various secondary schools across the Western Cape re-enacted the historic occasion, which occurred in the National Assembly on May 9 1994, when Sisulu nominated Mandela as democratic South Africa’s first President.
The students took the roles of Members of Parliament, who participated in the proceedings, and the public, who witnessed them from the public gallery.
The Students’ Parliament aims to create awareness about Parliament’s role in reconciliation and nation-building, Parliament’s processes and procedures and to reflect on current issues and provide tools for community building.
Freedom Park chief executive, Jane Mufamadi said: “This year is a very special year for us as South Africans as we honour and remember the two struggle icons Mama Albertina Sisulu and former President Nelson Mandela.
“We join the nation, we join the world in celebrating these centenaries as Freedom Park, particularly when we talk about mama Albertina Sisulu because we know as we stand here today, it is unfortunate that in the African continent in particular women are still subjected to many forms of abuse and many struggles.”
She added that the public can learn from leaders like Sisulu who have displayed humanity in giving their lives, themselves towards assisting, the destitute, the oppressed and also the young.
Mufamadi further added that she hoped that South Africans would take time to reflect and appreciate women in general for their contributions particularly for other women struggles but also for the struggle of the African continent and South Africa.
She said Freedom Park had decided to shift its focus to celebrating centenaries with young people and wanted to develop a cadre of young leaders who are grounded in their history, their heritage, their culture.
“Because it is only when you know who you are and where you come from that you should become a better leader and understand the challenges better, the issues around land, the issues around poverty,” said said.