BEACON OF LIGHT: From left, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, former chief justice Pius Langa and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe. Picture: Supplied
The Eternal Flame of Democracy that was placed at Constitution Hill on Sunday started its journey 1000km away in Qunu where it was lit by former president Nelson Mandela before being transported to Johannesburg.
The flame was transferred to a special container after being taken from a candle lit by Madiba on Saturday in the presence of former chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson in the Eastern Cape.
When it arrived in Johannesburg, the flame was transferred to a kudu horn which was passed relay-style between a group of children to dignitaries who included Chaskalson, Cyril Ramaphosa, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, former chief justice Sandile Ngc and obo until it reached Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe who then rested the Eternal Flame of Democracy in a handmade copper bowl to burn forever.
The event on Sunday was part of celebrating the 15th anniversary of the signing of the country’s constitution by Mandela.
Motlanthe said by lighting the flame, the country signalled its irreversible commitment to democracy and that the location at the Constitutional Court was symbolic.
“Constitution Hill has been turned into a site that radiates our nation’s long cherished vision of building a united, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist, just and prosperous society.
“The Eternal Flame of Democracy is a reflection of our inner strength and the past from which our democracy emanated, and the attendant need for vigilance to protect this flame from all manner of ill winds,” he said.
“This Eternal Flame of Democracy that we are lighting today must never blow out but forever cast light on our nation,” he said.
As part of the celebration a beam of light projecting into the Johannesburg skyline was switched on for the first time.
Constitution Hill will host an exhibition of the five constitutions adopted in SA’s history. – 701189