KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mr Sipho Hlomuka, has called on the people of KwaZulu-Natal and the country to never forget the day of the arrest of former President, Nelson Mandela, as it is one of the most important dates that South Africans must commemorate and observe on an annual basis.
The country’s first democratically elected President, was detained at a police roadblock in Tweedie near Howick, KwaZulu-Natal on 5 August, 1962. Mandela’s arrest was the catalyst for a series of trials which concluded with the Rivonia Treason Trial that saw him spend 27 years in prison.
Mandela, in his disguise as a chauffeur, had been driving with fellow activist Cecil Williams from KwaZulu-Natal to Gauteng. He had recently returned from travelling through Africa where he had undergone military training and mobilized support for the ANC.
“Narrating his time of arrest near Howick under uMngeni Municipality on that fateful day a few years ago, Madiba stated that while he was passing Cedara he noticed a Ford V-8 filled with white men shoot past them on the right. Upon this realization Madiba admitted that he knew in that instant that his life on the run was over, that his 17 months of freedom were about to end,” said Hlomuka.
“Mandela’s arrest changed the political discourse of our country which by then and the next 34 years after his arrest was in the grip of the apartheid regime. In the spirit of celebrating his life through the Mandela Day Marathon we must never forget that Mandela lost his freedom for nearly three decades on this day in pursuit of the liberation of the majority of the people of South Africa. This day is important and that is why it must never go unnoticed. The marathon symbolizes the triumph of human spirit which Mandela embodied from a liberator, to a prisoner and ultimately to the President of our country who was and still is respected the world over,” added Hlomuka.
Thankfully, said Hlomuka, the Mandela Day Marathon, which will be held over two days on August 24 and 25, continues to embrace Mandela’s undying spirit and this is evident with more than 20 000 entries received for this year’s races.
Again this year the Saturday (24 August) events will include the Children’s Race, Mountain Biking, Triathlon and Trail Running, while on Sunday (25 August) athletes from across South Africa and abroad will hit the tarmac in the coveted 42.2 kilometre race starting from Manaye Hall in Imbali where Madiba made his last speech as a free man, along with athletes partaking in the 21.1 km and 10 km races, all culminating to the finish line at the Mandela Capture Site under uMngeni Municipality, where Madiba was arrested on this day 57 years ago.
“Thousands of rands are once again up for grabs to the athletes who will cross the finish line ahead of the rest across all the three races, with position one in both men and women in the 42.2 km race expected to walk away with R100 000 each, with runners up expected to pocket R50 000 while the third-placed man and woman will each receive R25 000,” said Hlomuka.
There are also prize monies to be won in both the 21 and 10 km races. The first male and female to complete 21 km will receive R20 000 while the winners of the 10km race will each take home R10 000. The runners up on the half marathon will pocket R15 000 and the third position has a purse of R12 000. Runners up in the 10 km race will receive R8000 while third place has a prize money of R6000.
For more information contact: KZN Cogta spokespersons Lennox Mabaso, 082 884 2403; or Senzelwe Mzila, 082 474 1882