19 July 2011
South African President Jacob Zuma paid a special visit to Nelson Mandela at his home in Qunu in the Eastern Cape on Monday, presenting him with an architect’s model of the Nelson Mandela Legacy Bridge as a gift for his 93rd birthday.
The Nelson Mandela Legacy Bridge will be constructed across the Mbashe River between Mvezo village, Nelson Mandela’s birthplace, in the King Sabata Dalindyebo municipality, and Ndondolo village in the Mbashe municipality.
The bridge, and a new road linking Mvezo village to the N2, will reduce the travelling distance to Idutywa by nearly 50 kilometres. The bridge will also reduce the travel time between Mvezo and the N2 by about an hour and 30 minutes.
The bridge will also provide improved access for about 20 000 people living in 21 villages in the surrounding area.
“The bridge will improve the lives of people living in and around Madiba’s village and is one of the key contributions to keeping alive the Mandela legacy of a better life for all,” the Presidency said in a statement on Monday.
‘He laid our foundations’
Zuma, in his birthday message to Mandela, said on Monday: “From the moment Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela strode out of prison on the 11th of February 1990, we knew that South Africa would be a different place …
“He showed us that despite the divisive racial oppression and hardships that this nation had gone through, it is not only possible, but necessary to embrace one another and to reconcile the South African people.”
Mandela, Zuma said, had “laid the foundation for a solid constitutional democracy where the rights of citizens are supreme and protected. He laid the foundation for all of us to work tirelessly to improve the quality of life of all our people.
“We have achieved a lot, but we must still work further to eradicate poverty and improve especially the lives of children, because Madiba loves them so much.
“Most importantly, we must spread love, ubuntu, humility and selflessness around us.
“Happy birthday, Madiba! We love you!”