December 11, 2013
Mandela memorial highlights unfinished business
Labour Party leader David Cunliffe says Nelson Mandela’s death is a reminder of how much work remains to be done, not just in South Africa but in New Zealand as well.
Mr Cunliffe stayed outside the Johannesburg stadium where yesterday’s official memorial service was held, giving up his seat so that Maori Party MP Pita Sharples could get inside.
He says looking around the streets, it’s clear that it’s is one thing to get legal equality but another thing to get full participation, as South Africa’s 25 percent unemployment rate shows.
"I think if Mandela were a young man today he would pick up that baton, and it’s important also for us in New Zealand to confront growing inequality and to champion the idea that everybody ought to be able to participate fully in our beautiful community, in our whenua, because that’s the right thing to do and to the extent that people are excluded, that violates Mandela’s legacy and it violates the best of what it is to be a kwi, and that is work we’ve still got to do," Mr Cunliffe says.
A highlight of the day was the highly personal speech by United States president Barack Obama on Mandela’s inspiration and what public service meant for him.
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