NZ apartheid protests “like the sun came out”

The life and now the death of Nelson Mandela have touched the hearts of people around the world.

This extraordinary man, sentenced to life imprisonment in 1962, who served 27 years in jail for his beliefs, walked free, without bitterness, to lead the rebuilding of South Africa as a multi-ethnic nation founded on human rights and the rule of law.

The cause for which Nelson Mandela fought throughout his life was based on the hopes and dreams of South Africans who were excluded from full rights of citizenship and repressed by the evil force of apartheid.

The freedom movement built a mass base not only at home, but also through global solidarity networks around the world.

Those networks extended to New Zealand.

South Africa was far away, and was probably best known to New Zealanders for the strength of its rugby teams.

Many New Zealanders loved the game, too. When the rugby ties with South Africa became the focus for New Zealand’s anti-apartheid movement, many were reluctant to acknowledge that accepting engagement with racially segregated teams amounted to condoning the regime that mandated them. Continue reading.

Helen Clark is the former Prime Minister of New Zealand, and is the United Nations Development Programme Administrator.

Source: The Listener

Image: Mandela in 1994 looks through the bars of the Robben Island cell he was held in for 18 years Jurgen Schadeberg/Getty Images

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