Statement in Closure of the Panel-Debate entitled “The Values and Legacy of Beyers Naude after Twenty Years Democracy – A Political Conversation” in the Symposium in Commemoration of Beyers Naudé in Uppsala on 11 May 2015:
As we are about to round-up our exchange of experiences and perceptions on “Values and the Legacy of Beyers Naudé after twenty years Democracy in South Africa”, we recall once more: Yesterday people all over were commemorating the twenty-first year since the first president of democratic South Africa, Nelson Mandela, fondly called “Madiba” , was sworn into office. Many were like us at the same time remembering someone they hold in high esteem for his stand for justice and reconciliation, Christiaan Frederick Beyers Naudé – fondly called “Oom Bey” – who would have been turning a hundred years of Age yesterday.
The coincidence of both occasions symbolizes in my mind the processes of reconciliation that are associated with the life and work of both these personalities. These are outlined and find their expression most accurately in the term ukuBuyisana – the term characterizing the juncture our symposium can be said to have reached by now.
The term “ukuBuyisana” – rooted in the isiZulu and isiXhosa worlds of thought in Southern Africa – literally means: “meeting halfway to return home – or rather to proceed – together”. People – in the aftermath of turbulences and wars – seek for inlets to one another, words and gestures to name the wrongs they had committed and the atrocities they had suffered in order that, if that would succeed, they could once more join hands and probably forgive one another, reconcile and live peacefully together and with everyone else.
UkuBuyisana is a rare opportunity and remains a legacy. Madiba and Oom Bey call upon us in the face of concerns, crises and challenges some of which have been content of our discussions and debates today to move and meet halfway in order that we proceed together to live peacefully with everyone else.
Ngiyabonga! Thank you!