It was 10th May, the day of oath with a bright and shiny sun. Nelson Mandela was supposed to take oath as the first black President of South Africa. A large number of leaders all from around the world had gathered there to be the witness of the swearing-in ceremony of Nelson Mandela as the first black President. The inauguration ceremony took place in a big open building in Pretoria where the first democratic non-racial government was to be installed.
The Swearing-in Ceremony of Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela was accompanied by his daughter Zenani. Mr de Klerk was the first person who took oath as second Deputy President followed by Mr Thabo Mbeki who swore as the first Deputy President of South Africa. Nelson Mandela sweared as the first black President of South Africa. He pledged to obey and uphold the Constitution and to devote himself to the well-being of the people. He also promised to make the nation free from poverty, deprivation, suffering and all sort of discrimination.
Display of the Military Power of South African Jets
When Mandela had taken oath, South African jets displayed the military power. It also showed the loyalty of military to democracy. The highest military generals saluted him. He recounted that they would have arrested him many years before. It was followed by the playing of two national anthems. The whites sang ‘Nkosi Sikelel’ the old song and the blacks sang ‘Die Stem’ the new song which marked the end of the ceremony.
Apartheid and South Africa
Nelson Mandela reminiscences (remembers) about days gone by which soon be the part of history where the whites had formed a system of racial dominance against the blacks. It was the basis of the harsh societies which is now overturned. He says the policy of apartheid (policy of racial segregation ) created a deep and lasting wound on his country and its people.
Now it is the system that recognised the rights and freedom of all people.
Regret of Mandela and Remembrance of Freedom Fighters
On the auspicious day, Mandela regretted the loss of thousands of people and remembered their sacrifices for the freedom from discrimination. He thought of himself as the sum of all those African patriots who sacrificed their lives before him. He was pained that he couldn’t thank them.
He recalled great freedom fighters like Oliver, Tambos, Walter Sisulu, Chief Luthuli, Yusuf Dawood etc who were the men of uncommon courage, wisdom and generosity.
He said that the country is rich in minerals but its greatest wealth is its people.
Goodness and Duties of a Man
The author says that being white or black is not the token of your goodness or superiority. No one is born hating other, people should love one another which comes without force as it is natural. It is man’s essential goodness.
A man has to perform duties to his family, community and country which he didn’t see in his country before he pushed himself to fight for the blacks. A black man was punished if he tried to live like a human being and forced to live apart from his own people. So, he was not allowed to perform his duties to his family.
Meaning of Freedom by Mandela
As a kid, Mandela had different meaning for being free as he wanted to run in the fields and wanted to stay out at night. As he grew older, he wanted the freedom of livelihood for himself and his family.
But soon he realised that such freedom was only an illusion. He realised that his brothers and sisters who looked like him were not free, so joined African National Congress (ANC). His hunger for freedom became great for the freedom of his people. He desired that everyone should be given the right to live his life with dignity and respect. He wanted the oppressor and the oppressed to be liberated. As no one is free if one is taking someone else’s freedom. Only such feelings can bring true freedom for everyone.