As President of the ANC, Comrade Madiba was someone who took the organisation’s policy of non-racialism very seriously. This particularly applied to his work in a polarised province such as the Western Cape, where this photograph was taken.
The event depicted here was a church service on the Cape Flats; I think it was in Elsies River. It was part of a Western Cape ANC programme of action, and I remember Madiba saying that despite the fact that he was of the Methodist faith he would be more than happy to pray with any denomination – in any church, temple or mosque.
President Mandela will go down in the annals of history as someone who not only preached reconciliation and unity, but actually lived it. At that time, in nearly every speech he made, he would emphasise the need to build a united nation. He always took great care to underscore the important contributions of our so-called Coloured and white comrades to our liberation. He would not fail to mention that the bosses in his office in charge of running his schedule were Comrades Geraldine Fraser and Jesse Duarte, leaders of the movement who had been raised on the Cape Flats.
He ensured that unity and harmony among the people remained on the front-burner as the core message of the ANC. He was the father of the nation, the father of all South Africans.
Quote: "He ensured that unity and harmony among the people remained on the front-burner as the core message of the ANC."