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Historic Films
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NT-3308 @ 01:04:38
Original Broadcast Date: 2-12-90
Dumisani Kumalo The last time I saw Mr. Mandela was in early June 1973. I was one of the few people other than his wife and prison guards who had been allowed to see him in the first 10 years that he had been in prison. Mr. Mandela had requested that I visit him so that he could express his condolences for the death of my fifth child. Nelson Mandela and I I will marry two sisters, Winnie Mandela and a younger sibling, my wife Dunya Nisa, we met on Robben Island, a cold, windswept rock of the coast of Cape Town, Mr. Mandela came to the visitors room with his head high. He was surrounded by four prison warders. There was a glass wall between us, but I could see that his palms were covered with calluses from the stones he had been breaking for 10 years. Amazingly, when Mr. Mandela began to speak, he never uttered a word of self pity. Instead, I left the prison feeling sorry for my own self, he had more hope than I did. I left my country four years later, in the time that has passed Mr. Mandela has become larger than life. His name is mentioned with reverence by people, millions who had not even born when he went to jail. They talk and sing of Comrade Mandela as if he was once walked among them, or even touch them. Finally, Mandela is free. But to appreciate the Mandela legend, one has to go back to the days even before South Africa was known as the land of apartheid. The year was 1940, 22 year old Holy Father, Nelson Mandela arrived in Johannesburg to work as a mine boy in the gold mines. This was the only way African men were allowed to come to the City of Gold. South Africa long dominated by the Dutch and English colonists was only interested in Africans for the cheap labor they provided in 1948. On the promise of strengthening already exists in segregation laws, the African Nationalist Party came to power, their aim total racial domination and separation. To make South Africa totally white and pure, apartheid was born. The word apartheid, and Africans English hybrid literally means partners. Over the next several years, Mandela became one of the leading anti apartheid activists, he led an organized campaign of strikes and boycotts in open defiance of the racist laws of the land. On March 21, 1960, the South African police shot and killed 69 people and maimed another 200 during a peaceful protest held in Sharpeville, a township south of Johannesburg, South Africa was never the same again. The whole country exploded. For the first time the struggle for freedom in South Africa caught the attention of the entire world. South Africa became ruled by the GM the ANC was banned. Nelson Mandela left the country without a passport and went overseas. Within his country, Mr. Mandela became a wanted man, the most wanted man in South Africa. The search for him intensified. After months of looting the police, Mandela was caught in 1962 and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. It was the hope of the South African regime that the name Mandela would be wiped clean of the memories of the South African people. For many years, it was illegal to mention Nelson Mandela's name, even in private to circulate his picture or to repeat any words he had ever uttered. But Mr. Mandela remained defined. He never gave up hope, he never surrendered. A theologian once told me that Dr. Martin Luther King marched in the southern United States, not to be free, but because he was free. Mr. Mandela remained free even in jail. His Spirit gave us on the outside the commitment to fight for our freedom, in whatever manner, whether it be in exile, prison, or even in death. For us, Mr. Mandela's release is the beginning not the end of a struggle. Apartheid is alive and well. I'm still not legally a citizen of South Africa. And neither is Mr. Mandela, Archbishop Tutu, nor anyone of the 30 million South Africans whose skin is color is not white. The ideas for which Mr. Mandela was jailed are not yet at hand, nor will they ever be until apartheid is abolished.
1980s NEWS