On behalf of the Eastern Cape Government and the people of Buffalo City Metro, it is with profound honour and immense gratitude to welcome you to the historic BHISHO STADIUM to commemorate the 31st anniversary of the BHISHO Massacre. Today, we come together as a community, as a province, and as a nation to commemorate the 31st anniversary of the BHISHO Massacre, an event that holds deep historical and emotional significance for us all.

We gather on this sanctified ground, where the echoes of history still resonate, to remember the sacrifices made by brave individuals who stood against the oppressive apartheid regime, particularly on that fateful day, September 7th, 1992.

Their courage, their dedication, and their unwavering commitment to justice and equality serve as an enduring testament to the indomitable spirit of our people.

On that tragic day, 80,000 brave souls, led by the indomitable Comrade Ronnie Kasrils and other leaders of the congress movement, marched against apartheid, confronting a regime that sought to divide us based on the colour of our skin.

This year's commemoration should indeed serve as a compass, guiding us towards a brighter future and reigniting the spirit of hope and unity among our people. It underscores the fact that we are a caring government that has consistently placed our people's needs and aspirations at the forefront of our priorities.

Let us not forget that the apartheid government's homeland system systematically marginalized black communities, depriving them of essential development and opportunities.

The resistance displayed by our fellow citizens in their struggle against this brutal regime demonstrated their resilience and unyielding commitment to achieving political freedom.

The sacrifices made by those who stood on the front lines of this struggle will forever be remembered alongside those of countless other martyrs who fought for our liberation.

As we reflect on the words of Comrade Pallo Jordan, who rightly characterized the BHISHO Massacre as an "unprovoked act of repression," we understand the significance of this event in our journey towards democracy.

The BHISHO Massacre, occurring during the deadlock of the CODESA talks, played a crucial role in exerting popular mass pressure that ultimately compelled the De Klerk government to engage in earnest negotiations.

Furthermore, it is fitting that we commemorate this event during the month of September, designated as our heritage and tourism month.

This month allows us to celebrate our rich heritage as a people and embrace our cultural diversity as a nation. It is our hope that the BHISHO site will not only serve as a place of remembrance but also become a prominent tourist attraction.

We envision that this transformation will contribute to the economic growth and development of the communities in Bhisho and its surroundings.

The Buffalo City Municipality is fully committed to preserving this site as a symbol of our liberation heritage.

We are determined to ensure that the sacrifices made by the veterans of our liberation struggle, both those who have departed and those who continue to inspire us, are never forgotten. Their spirit must guide us in our ongoing efforts to create a better society, where all our citizens can enjoy the fruits of economic freedom.

In conclusion, we must recognize that our work is far from over. We owe it to the gallant fighters, heroes, and heroines of our liberation to continue our pursuit of economic freedom for all. Only by delivering on this promise can we truly honour their sacrifices and build a brighter future for generations to come.

May this commemoration serve as a reminder of our shared commitment to justice, equality and inspire us to strive for a better life for all.”