Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma at the ANC Conference in Polokwane. Zuma won the elections to become the new president of the ruling party in South Africa.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos
March 22 2008 at 04:15PM
Angolan's sacrifices would forever remain etched in the history of the South African liberation struggle, African National Congress president Jacob Zuma said on Saturday.
Speaking at the 20th commemoration of the Cuito Cuanavale battle in Angola, Zuma paid tribute to the heroes and heroines of Angola, Cuba and Namibia who fought there.
"...We salute all combatants who laid down their lives in Cuito Cuanavale and other parts of Angola.
"They paid the ultimate price so that the oppressed people of southern Africa could be free from racism, neo-colonialism, proxy wars and underdevelopment," he said.
The Cuito Cuanavale battle, in 1988, changed the political landscape of the region by speeding up Namibia's independence and South Africa's liberation from apartheid. More than 4800 people died there.
Also paying tribute to Cubans, Zuma said they were the only non-Africans to shed their blood for the liberation of Africa.
Cuba was still involved in Africa through the sharing of its expertise in the form of doctors, engineers and other professionals.
"We appreciate that they did not disengage from Africa totally when they withdrew the last soldier from Angola on 25 May 1991," he said.
A memorial to be erected in Angola would forever be a reminder of the solidarity, comradeship and friendship which existed then.
'A better Africa and a just world'
It was these characteristics which should also drive relations between Angolans, Namibians Cubans and South Africans today to free people from poverty and underdevelopment, Zuma said.
"As internationalism continues to be a critical feature of the unique character of the ANC, we will continue to work with all like-minded progressive forces in the continent to achieve a better Africa and a just world," he said. - Sapa
Victory Allowed S African Democracy
Luanda, Mar 22 (Prensa Latina) The President of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) Jacob Zuma assured on Saturday in this capital that Cuito Cuanavales victory was a move toward democracy in this country.
Zuma is leading a delegation of this southern African region that will attend Saturday's ceremony for the 20 anniversary of that heroic event on Angolan territory.
According to the political leader the success of Angolan, Cuban and Namibian arms forced apartheid regime to negotiate South African independence with the ANC.
After the visit to the headquarters of the ruling Angolan Liberation Movement (MPLA) Zuma commented the defeat of Pretori Army in Cuito Cuanavale reduced its dominance.
"It was a decisive blow," he added, "the beginning of the end of the then South African government that brought about the country's democratization."
The Angolan soldiers represented their people in that battle and all those from Southern Africa, said the political leader.
The main ceremony for the Twentieth anniversary of Cuito Cuanavale's victory will be held in the locality carrying the same name this Saturday and will be led by President of the Angolan National Assembly Roberto de Almeida.
The organizers invited representatives from Cuba, Russia, Namibia and South Africa.
Cuito Cuanavale's Victory was Neto's Dream
Cuito Cuanavale, Angola, Mar 22 (Prensa Latina) The victory in Cuito Cuanavale made the dreams of the father of the Angolan homeland, Agostinho Neto, come true, Cuban Major General Leopoldo Cintras Frias said here on Saturday.
Cintras, who is a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Cuba, made those statements at the main event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of that battle, which changed southern Africa"s history.
The Cuban general recalled that Neto had assured ten years before that the liberation of Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa was the continuity of the Angolan people's struggle.
"For their part, the Cuban people, who once again fulfilled their internationalist duty at the time, have continued to develop their solidarity vocation in the battles for the health and education of brother peoples," he pointed out.
"After returning to this scenario 20 years later, where what is considered the greatest battle in Angola was waged, our first and emotive memory is for those who fell," Cintras added.
"Those who visit this peaceful place today can hardly imagine the complexity of the military situation and the clamor of battle those days, when the choices were the respect for Angolan sovereignty and the alleged perpetuity of racist regimes in this part of the continent," the general pointed out.
"For the Cuban troops, that struggle took place in a truly complex scenario, due to adverse natural conditions and logistic difficulties," Cintras noted.
He recalled that in 1987, during the South African armys last attack and occupation of Angolan territory, the Angolan government asked Cuba for its internationalist support.
As Fidel Castro has explained, he added, "in a titanic effort, despite the serious danger of an aggression pending on Cuba, near the United States, the top political and military leadership of the Revolution decided to solve the problem once and for all, in conjunction with the Angolan side." "Then Cuba sent the necessary troops to inflict, in conjunction with the Angolans, a resounding defeat on the South African racists."