On 21 November 2006 the Advisory Board of the Parliamentary Millennium Programme (PMP), the South African Parliament’s primary nation-building and heritage programme, decided to include the Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale in the PMP’s history project. The Board felt strongly that due to the historical significance of the event in the liberation of Southern Africa in general, it was crucial to ensure that, especially young Southern Africans were made aware of it. Moreover, the Commemoration was seen as an ideal opportunity to recommit South African society to the quest for global solidarity and to pay homage to the thousands of foreign compatriots who paid the ultimate price for ensuring South Africa and Namibia’s liberation, and the consolidation of Angola’s independence.
The Presiding Officers of the South African Parliament, Ms Baleka Mbete [Speaker of the National Assembly] and Mr M J Mahlangu [Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces] strongly believe that it is fitting for Parliaments, as custodians of constitutional democracy, to take the lead in commemorating the Battle. The South African Parliament’s celebratory campaign aspire to create partnerships across erstwhile political and military divides in an attempt to facilitate dialogue towards greater reconciliation in the country’s continued pursuit to building a united nation, at peace with its past.