The President said from Luthuli, they had learned the importance of humility, commitment, compassion and willingness to listen to others, the importance of discipline, consistency and steadfastness in leadership.
“Therefore, we should guard our gains jealously, and commit ourselves to continuously promote and consolidate our hard won freedom and democracy,” said Zuma.
Chief Albert - as he was affectionately known - is credited for among other things, his unparalleled leadership of the ANC during turbulent times. Luthuli was elected as the party’s president in 1952 and was the first African to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1960.
The character of the ANC as an all-inclusive, non-racial broad church that was accommodative to all ideological persuasions was a defining feature in Luthuli's presidency of the ANC, Zuma said.
“It was during his period for example, that the relationship between communists and nationalists thrived within the congress movement.”
Zuma dismissed books and articles claiming that Luthuli was against the ANC’s armed rebellion against apartheid, saying they were distorting history.
“Those who argue that Luthuli may have not supported armed action need to appreciate the policies, practices and general traditions of the ANC, especially the quest for consensus.
“Once a decision has been taken and agreed by consensus, after much debate and argument, it becomes a collective decision of the ANC,” Zuma said, adding that Luthuli was an “active agent of change.” – BuaNews