The Commemoration of Slave Emancipation Day | Western Cape Government

Speeches

The Commemoration of Slave Emancipation Day

4 December 2012

The Mayor of Bergrivier, Executive Mayor Manual and Councillor Adams,

The Rector of the Goedverwacht Moravian Church, Rev. Goliath

Programme Manager: Branches of the ATKV, Mrs Elize Fortuin

Chairperson of the Goedverwacht Tourism and Development Forum, Ms Lorraine Cornelius

Educators and learners of the Goedverwacht Primary School

Members of the Moravian Church Brass Band

Ladies and gentlemen

Thank you for the warm welcome and the singular honour of inviting me to be part of Goedverwacht’s Slave Emancipation Day celebrations. Like many of you I was completely enthralled by the narrative of Maniesa as shared by Lorraine Cornelius this morning. She left us in no doubt that Maniesa was indeed a remarkable woman. There are three elements to today’s event.

Firstly, there is the the past.

Miskien word dit die beste met die volgende opgesom: Die woord S.L.A.W.E staan vir:

S: Slaan. Dit was geen vreugde om ʼn slaaf te wees nie

L: Lê. Lê sodat jy geslaan kan word. Slawe moes ʼn lê-posisie inneem wanneer hulle geslaan is.

A: Afwesig. Wanneer jy afwesig was, is jy geslaan.

W: Werk. As die slaaf nie gewerk het nie, is hy/sy geslaan.

E: Eer. Die slaaf se eer is weggeneem.

Tweedens is daar die hede. Vandag se boodskap is baie duidelik: Ons is besig om die slawe se eer te herstel.

We are restoring the dignity of our people.

Perhaps given the damage and destruction that former colonial powers caused in Africa, and particularly against the background of slavery, they have no moral justification or excuse to avoid being actively involved with making financial resources available to rebuild our continent.

Thirdly, there is the future. We are also instilling hope for the future by linking the past to the future.

Goedverwacht was born out of slavery. However, you are the descendants of those slaves who were emancipated. You have a history which has so passionately and rivetingly been told by Lorrane Cornelius. A history that tells the story of the vision of the slave mother and founder of Goedverwacht, Maniesa, and the legacy she left behind.

My message to you is that you are not poor, you are rich. Maniesa made sure of that and in the words of Reverend Goliath “you have a reason to tell your history and honour the covenant between us and God”.

Thank you.