The Most Rev. Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town, has called on South Africans to join him in Pretoria to form a human chain and pledge to honour the values of Nelson Mandela.
“At the heart of all that Nelson Mandela has done for this country was his dream of creating a new, united, democratic, non-racial South Africa,” the archbishop wrote on July 17. “We must not lose sight of this vision — and there can be no better way to honour him and all he has done for us, on his birthday, than to commit ourselves afresh to making this the foundation of our lives, the touchstone of all our policies and actions, the lens through which we speak and act.”
Freedom Park in Pretoria has taken responsibility to organize the human chain from noon to 1:07 p.m. Friday as part of the effort to help all South Africans, especially the young, to understand Mandela’s legacy.
The archbishop will be joined by representatives of universities and religious leaders across faiths. They will join hands and recite pledge at 12:30.
Fana Jiyane, CEO of Freedom Park, says the chain will stretch from the park through Bosman Station and the Paul Kruger area up to Church Square. “I call upon all participants to wear South African colours and bring along South African flags,” Jiyane said. “Join the chain nearest to you along these streets in Pretoria.”
On Mandela Day, July 18, the archbishop led a similar human chain in Cape Town, organized along Klipfontein Road, that linked Gugulethu to Rondebosch — a stretch that runs through four previously divided communities under the apartheid regime (black, coloured, Indian and white).
“The success of this event has moved me to extend this call nationally,” Makgoba said. “The Pretoria event on Friday will demonstrate to the whole country one way in which we as South Africans can celebrate our heritage by holding hands and making a joint commitment.”
He added: “It is my hope that when our beloved Madiba has a peaceful end, civil society will organize these human chains in every community and city, across the country, and stand proud as a Nation to honour and reflect on this extraordinary leader in this fitting way.”