Johannesburg, May 30 (PTI) French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged the support of his government in the investigation launched by the Nelson Mandela Foundation into the assassination of South African anti-apartheid political activist Dulcie September in 1988 while she was the African National Congress representative in France.
Macron, the first head of state to visit South Africa since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, visited the Foundation on Saturday before boarding a flight home following his official state visit to South Africa.
He was given a tour of Nelson Mandela’s post-presidential office and the foundation’s permanent exhibition on the life and times of its founder.
While engaging with the Dulcie September exhibit at the Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF), Macron acknowledged the Foundation''s contributions to have the investigation into her unexplained assassination reopened.
“President Macron also made a verbal commitment to ensure that the relevant authorities respond to the efforts as a matter of importance,” the Foundation said in a statement.
“The visit was particularly timely given that the foundation is currently hosting a small temporary exhibition on the life and death of Dulcie September and earlier this year had added its voice to the call for the investigation into her unsolved murder to be reopened,” the statement added.
“I am here to pay tribute to Madiba (the clan name by which Mandela is fondly known), a few minutes before leaving the country, to express my respect in all humility and to pay tribute to his achievements for not just the country but for the continent,” Macron said after being shown the personal archives of the iconic leader who became South Africa’s first democratically-elected President following 27 years as a political prisoner.
NMF Chief Executive Sello Hatang said hosting President Macron has been memorable.
“It has been a while since we were last able to use Madiba’s office in this way (because of the Covid-19 pandemic). And, of course, we look forward to future engagements and collaborations with French partners,” Hatang said.
The NMF has collaborated with a number of French institutional partners since its inception, the most recent being a partnership with the French National Audiovisual Institute and South Africa’s National Archives to digitise the sound recordings of the historic Rivonia Trial which sent Mandela and many other ANC leaders to prison.
The NMF plans to make the recordings available to global audiences.
The last French president to visit was President Hollande, who met with Mandela’s widow Graça Machel at the Foundation in October 2013. PTI FH RUP RUP