Today I am in Havana, Cuba and as I walk about I will remember how much Madiba loved Fidel and how much the Cuban people have done for Africans in general and South Africa in particular.
The spectacular and heroic defeat of the apartheid army at Cuito Carnival in Angola is one such sacrifice. Providing education for the children of ANC cadre in exile and now the training of the South African doctors in preventative health care. But it is the determination of the Cuban revolution and it indefatigable resilience that must be the true lesson for us.
Obama may make great speeches but acceptance of the right of the Cuban people to decide how they wish to live their lives and which political system is best for them, must be respected. Democracy and the freedom to choose must begin in your own backyard.
Accepting diversity as a reality and plurality as a core fundamental to co-existence must be acknowledged. Nelson Mandela knew this and respected self determination as a core value.
The punishment meted out to Cuba by the US had not dampened the will to succeed old scars yet, but they will work. Best health care in the world and over 90percent literacy rate. This is what President Obama should say as he celebrates our Madiba.
There are no race groups in Cuba, there are only Cubans. Cuba is an example of how humanity should be if not interfered with. Of course there are some challenges mainly occasioned by 60 year blockade. Fidel Castro, Raul Castro and the Cuban Communist Party have lived their values.
The ANC cadres and members must live the values of the ANC and Madiba. We must resist the patronising analysis of the media and work for the betterment of everyone in South Africa.
We must build and shape our nation.
Jessie Duarte is ANC Deputy Secretary General