Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Mandela walks free: 20 years on

This Thursday is the 20th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's release from 27 years' imprisonment. On 11 February 1990 he gave a speech in Cape Town, including these words:

'Today the majority of South Africans, black and white, recognise that apartheid has no future. It has to be ended by our own decisive mass action in order to build peace and security. The mass campaign of defiance and other actions of our organisation and people can only culminate in the establishment of democracy. The destruction caused by apartheid on our sub-continent is in- calculable. The fabric of family life of millions of my people has been shattered. Millions are homeless and unemployed. Our economy lies in ruins and our people are embroiled in political strife.

Our resort to the armed struggle in 1960 with the formation of the military wing of the ANC, Umkhonto we Sizwe, was a purely defensive action against the violence of apartheid. The factors which necessitated the armed struggle still exist today. We have no option but to continue. We express the hope that a climate conducive to a negotiated settlement will be created soon so that there may no longer be the need for the armed struggle.'

It's good to see Philosophy Football celebrating the great occasion of Mandela's release, with a real blast from the past: 'Free Nelson Mandela' was the message that 'inspired a generation to dance, march and boycott'. The new shirt, which you can order HERE, is also timed to coincide with this summer's World Cup in South Africa, serving as a reminder of the international popular movement that helped make a democratic South Africa possible. The shirt also helps raise funds for Action for Southern Africa, the successor to the Anti-Apartheid Movement.

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