12 May, 2021

In The Wake Of Giants Amandla!

South Africa shows that freedom brews in a whole ecosystem

In The Wake Of Giants Amandla!

In the overwhelming context of Nelson Mandela’s persona and achievements, one aspect of the South African struggle for freedom is relatively unknown: that there were many other significant heroes and heroines walking the long walk to freedom with him and before him. These men and women of high principles continue to be worshipped for being the leaders who led the country out of the oppression of apartheid.

Oliver Thambo was perhaps the most important of them all and a guide to the others. Walter Sisulu, whose family still participates in government, was another. Govan Mbeki, the father of Thabo Mbeki, a former president of South Africa, was less visible but a great mentor. There were others, like Ahmed Kathrada, a strong, silent comrade who shared the prison cell at Robben Island with Mandela. Kathrada, as a non-African, was allowed to wear trousers and eat from normal plates, while Mandela, of African race, had to wear shorts and eat from aluminium plates. The intimacy and support for each other that the two maintained in the face of such stinging discrimination is...

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