Media release

President Cyril Ramaphosa marks 35th anniversary passing of President Samora Machel of Mozambique

18 October 2021

18 October 2021

His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa and His Excellency President Filipe Nyusi of the Republic of Mozambique will on Tuesday, 19 October 2021, participate in a commemorative event to mark the 35th anniversary of the passing of former President of the Republic of Mozambique, Samora Machel.

President Ramaphosa and President Nyusi are scheduled to speak at the occasion and lay wreaths.

President Samora Machel passed away in 1986 when his plane crashed on South African soil in the Lebombo Mountains near the confluence of the borders of South Africa, eSwatini and Mozambique.

President Machel was on his way back from an international conference with African leaders in Zambia.

Tuesday’s commemorative event will take place at the crash site at Mbuzini in the Nkomazi Municipality, Mpumalanga, where the Samora Machel Museum has been established.

The crash on 19 October 1986 attracted allegations of sabotage leveled against the then South African apartheid administration.

An inquiry by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 1994 was inconclusive on the cause of the crash in which President Machel, members of his party, Ministers, officials and crew of the Russian aircraft perished.

President Machel encouraged and enabled revolutionaries battling the apartheid system to operate in Mozambique during his presidency. This rendered the apartheid administration hostile to the Frontline States, and determined to destabilise countries supporting the liberation struggle.

In the democratic dispensation South Africa and Mozambique have fostered close relations based on historical links, geographical proximity and Mozambique’s significant role against apartheid.

The 35th Anniversary of Samora Machel is part of the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture's Legacy Projects programme, which aims to correct and alter the heritage landscape to authentically convey South Africa’s liberation story from colonial times.

Media enquiries: 
Tyrone Seale, Acting Spokesperson to President Ramaphosa

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