Mandla Mandela urges Ramaphosa to realise Madiba’s call for a free Palestine

09 February 2018 - 19:59 By Penwell Dlamini
Mandla Mandela. File photo.
Mandla Mandela. File photo.
Image: Supplied

Zwelivelile Mandla Mandela has urged ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa to use the celebrations of his grandfather Nelson Mandela’s release from prison on February 11 to strengthen the call for the freedom of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

This comes as various events in Cape Town were cancelled on Friday in the build-up to Sunday's #Mandela100Rally. The party also cancelled its weekend visit to Mandela’s Qunu homestead in Eastern Cape to lay wreaths at his grave. Earlier on Friday‚ ANC spokesman Pule Mabe denied that top ANC leaders had cancelled engagements to deal with Jacob Zuma’s exit as president of the republic.

The chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council said in a statement on Friday: “As 11 February beckons once more‚ will we rise and be counted? Will we walk in his gigantic steps and take a bold step that will take us forward as a nation?”

He called for the release from prison of teenager Ahed Tamimi‚ who lives in the West Bank and was arrested after a video of her and her cousin confronting Israeli soldiers on her family’s land went viral.

“Ahed Tamimi remains in prison while we remain silent. President Cyril Ramaphosa‚ your voice can bring about the necessary change for the release of Ahed Tamimi and many Palestinian children and women in Israeli apartheid jails. Your call can free Palestinian political prisoners. Your call can lead us to realise Madiba’s call for a free Palestine‚” Mandla Mandela said.

Nelson Mandela was released from jail on February 11 1990 an event that changed the course of South Africa and was celebrated globally.

Mandla Mandela said as a family the Mandela’s experienced “intense loss” during his grandfather’s incarceration.

“That first step from the confines of Victor Verster Prison was no less than a giant one for us as a family and a gigantic one for the cause of justice and freedom in the world.

"Nkosi Dalibhunga‚ though a free man‚ would for the next 10 years still be entirely devoted and consumed by the negotiations and reconciliation process‚ then after our first democratic elections in 1994 affairs of party and state.”

He said that it was only after his grandfather stepped down as the first democratic president of South Africa in 1999 that he could devote his time to his family.

Mandla Mandela said the Palestinian cause was close to his grandfather’s heart‚ something he regarded as “the greatest moral issue of our time".

“Perhaps it is this moral compass that we have lost as the Palestinians look to us for support just as ordinary South Africans look to our newly elected ANC leadership in angst and anticipation‚" Mandla Mandela said.