Mandela’s Rivonia Trial Address Puts African Leaders to Shame

Published on 10th December 2013

In part of his address during the Rivonia Trial of April 20, 1964, the late Nelson Mandela said: “During my lifetime, I have dedicated my life to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I hope to live for and to see realized. But, My Lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Since Mandela’s transition, tributes have flowed in from around the world and across political and religious divides. Mandela, who will be buried on December 15 in Qunu, his ancestral home in the Eastern Cape Province, spent much of his life fighting against segregation and discrimination on grounds of race. Many African heads of states while eulogizing Mandela, do not take note of how they preside over systems that lead to one ethnic community colonizing others.

Sadly, socio-political and economic discrimination still pervades most African countries. The xenophobic attacks on foreigners occasioned by inequalities in South Africa cannot be wished away. The Africa Rising narrative should not be used to drown Africans keen to get connected to global systems and value chains. The ‘winner takes it all mentality rampant in the political sphere in Africa serves to show that the continent has a long way to share Mandela’s dream. The befitting tribute to global Icon Nelson Mandela by African leaders and African people  is to dismantle the socio-political and economic apartheid that is so prevalent in African states.


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