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Mozambique  Remembers First President Samora Machel

Mozambican president Armando Guebuza has hailed the late Samora Machel as a hero for his role in leading the country to its independence. President Guebuza made the comment as he laid a foundation stone to mark the twentieth anniversary of Machel’s death. Machel died in a plane crash over South Africa. To date, most Mozambicans blame South Africa’s apartheid government for his death.

Samora Machel junior is the son of the former Mozambican president. He spoke with VOA English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey, about how the Machel family feels twenty years after his death.

"For us, it’s a sad day because it brings back memories of twenty years ago and it’s like opening up wounds that have not been healed. And it is painful to go through all those emotions again…especially when you think that in these twenty years, we haven’t had an answer to our question, the main one being who killed my father? Up to today the family doesn’t know. And we need to know the truth. At least for us to be at peace with ourselves, we need to know the truth,” he said.

Machel Junior says the family is yet to know answers to questions the family has been asking for the last twenty years.

“For us we are very interested and very serious and we are trying to find out what happened on that day. But it’s not the same thing like the government launching an inquiry,” he noted.

He says the Machel family is happy that finally the Mozambican government is serious about finding answers to the plane crush that killed the former president.

“We are very happy that the government has come forward and stated that they are going to put all their efforts for the investigation to go ahead so that we can find the culprit of my dad’s assassination. But having said that, it’s been twenty years and no one said anything, only recently. So it’s sad for us that it has taken all these times for the government to start making steps and strides towards re-opening the case,” Machel Junior said.

He talks about the Samora Machel he knew.

“He was my friend, he was my father, he was my brother at the same time. We had a very, very close relationship. And we were very open to each other, and he taught me a lot of things, honesty, to be very frank and direct with people when you talk. Never allow complacency to take over your day-to-day activities. And he was a man of character and very honest person, and that he tried all the time to instill in us his children,” he said.

Meanwhile, Presidents Guebuza and Thabo Mbeki jointly paid homage to Machel at the site of the plane crash in South Africa, near the Mozambican border.

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