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SA: Humile Mashatile: Address by Spouse of Deputy President Paul Mashatile, during the XV BRICS Summit Spousal Luncheon, Sandton (23/08/2023)


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SA: Humile Mashatile: Address by Spouse of Deputy President Paul Mashatile, during the XV BRICS Summit Spousal Luncheon, Sandton (23/08/2023)

24th August 2023


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Your Excellency, First Lady of the Republic of South Africa, Dr. Tshepo Motsepe;
Your Excellencies First Ladies and Spouses of Heads of State present; 
Esteemed guests;
Good afternoon,

It is a wonderful honour for me to address you at this 15th BRICS Summit, and to extend a warm South African welcome to all of you.

South Africa of course, and the African continent more broadly, is the Cradle of Humanity. All of us here, no matter where we flew in from, are the scatterings of Africa. So welcome home! 

Before anything else, I want to thank everyone responsible for this amazing gathering. They worked tirelessly and paid close attention to detail, making this luncheon a huge success. 

Most importantly, let me thank our beautiful and gracious host, the First Lady of our Republic and the Mother of our Nation, Dr Tshepo Motsepe. 

Mme Motsepe is what we in South Africa often refer to as “isikhukukazi”. The term, literally translated, means a “mother hen”. But its true meaning is much richer than the analogy suggests. 

Isikhukukazi is a nurturer and a fierce protector. She is a teacher, a comforter, a leader and the most respected figure of authority. She dishes out love and discipline in equal measure, often at the very same time! 

She offers wise counsel to all, and in everything she does always seeks to uphold the interests of the next generation. 

These values define the long career of our hostess: she has been for decades nothing if not a servant of the next generation. Which is exactly what the Early Care Foundation which she established does. It invests in the health, educational, and developmental needs of the next generation.

The work of the foundation and many others like it is shifting the trajectory of early childhood education and care, positively changing the life story and chances of millions of children. 

Most of the organisations that do this labour of love are founded and led by women. It is my honour to pay tribute to Dr Motsepe and to all of them this month, which in South Africa is Women’s Month. 

On August 9 we celebrated Women’s Day, a national holiday to honours the work and sacrifices of the thousands of women who stood up and fought with everything they had, to liberate their country from colonialism and apartheid. On August 9, 1956, over 20 000 women from all walks of life marched on the Union Buildings in Pretoria to deliver an unequivocal message: that the women of our country would not sheepishly accept living under the yoke of racist oppression, apartheid, and patriarchy. 

I welcome and thank you in their name and in their spirit. Malibongwe!! 

Mme Motsepe is a direct descendant of those women. She carries their mantle and keeps their flame burning. 

South Africa is a nation of many unique attractions, and I hope that you may have the time to enjoy them during your stay, or if not you can soon come back for a longer and more relaxed visit. 

If you do, I would love for you to go to two places in particular, because of their unique significance: the first is the Women’s Living Heritage Monument in Pretoria, which pays tribute to the women of 1956. 

The second is the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site just outside of Johannesburg. To look back at the prehistoric origins of us all is to be reminded of the oneness of the human race. We are all children of the same ancient mother, and she is African. This is a particularly important fact to remember when the world is so rent apart by division, prejudice, and inequality.

Thank you for honouring us with your presence and your ideas. We value your life experiences, your insights, your activism and your commitment to the dream and the very real possibility of a better world, a more humane world. 

I thank you.



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