Note to editors: the following speech was delivered by City of Cape Town Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille, at the naming ceremony of the Colin Eglin Sea Point Library earlier today, 21 April 2016.
Member of Parliament, James Selfe; City Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Special Projects, Alderman Belinda Walker; aldermen and councillors; wife of the late Colin Eglin, Mrs Raili Eglin; Mr Eglin’s daughter, Susan Martin, and grandson, Adam; former Members of Parliament; friends and former colleagues of Mr Eglin; members of the media; and all guests.Good morning, goeie dag, molweni, as-salaam alaikum, shalom.
It is my great pleasure to share this day with you as we honour a man who stood for democracy, freedom and non-racialism.
We are pleased to have Mr Eglin’s wife, Raili Eglin, and his daughter, Susan Martin, and grandson, Adam Martin, with us today.
We also extend our greetings to his other two daughters, Linda Eglin and Caryl Cockburn Eglin, who are currently abroad and have sent their best wishes to us today.
To the Eglin family, we say thank you for sharing Colin with us and for allowing him the time, away from his family, to fight for democracy and freedom.
We are honouring him exactly a week after what would have been his 91st birthday.
As South Africans, we come from a painful and difficult past, but it is days like these which remind us all of the many remarkable men and women who fought bravely for the cause of democracy and human rights.
Today we honour one of those great men, the late Colin Eglin, who now joins giants like former president and father of our democracy, Nelson Mandela, Albert Luthuli, Helen Suzman, Steve Biko, Robert Sobukwe and many others who fought for our liberation.
On days like these we pay homage and we say thank you.
We are reminded of the great voices that spoke truth to power, we are reminded of the price that was paid by so many and, most importantly, we are reminded of the great task that still lies ahead to complete the work started by Colin Eglin and many others.
Following a renaming proposal by former MP Peter Soal, the City’s Naming Committee initiated a public consultation process in November 2014.
In May 2015, Council officially adopted the new name of the Colin Eglin Sea Point Library.
Our Naming Policy ensures that we are able to weave inclusivity into the very fabric of our city and that we are able to make Cape Town a place where everyone feels a sense of belonging.
One of the ways we can do this is by recognising and honouring those individuals who have contributed to our democracy.
Colin Eglin was one of the founders of the Progressive Party, along with fellow anti-apartheid fighter Helen Suzman.
What is truly indicative of the will of Colin Eglin and Helen Suzman is that despite being overshadowed by a bigger government, they pursued their cause relentlessly.
Colin represented the Sea Point constituency in Parliament for 33 years.
He was recognised for his fight against apartheid with many awards including, in 2010, when Colin Eglin and 10 others signed the City’s Civic Honours book – one of the highest accolades that the City can confer on its residents.
We are indebted to Colin and the men and women who, like him, worked so tirelessly to attain our democracy.
The City of Cape Town remains committed to continuing the work they started. We will make sure that we work just as tirelessly to achieve freedom, fairness and opportunity for all.
It is my hope that Colin’s legacy will live on and inspire all those who see his name here to work alongside us. Together, we can make progress possible.
Thank you, baie dankie, enkosi.