The struggle for justice and a better world relates for every generation, to special conflicts and events. One of these conflicts for me was the situation in South Africa and the implementation of the system of apartheid there.
Then as now, some people choose to intervene and be a part of the struggle for a better world.
I am remembering today the date of 17th july 1988. We were in London and had heard that a march had been organized and carried through by the AAM (Anti-apartheid Mouvement). This march started in Glasgow and ended in London, where more people could and did join up, to protest against apartheid and show their solidarity to those on the frontline of the struggle and resistance to this despicable system.
This was the year when the leader of the ANC, a certain Nelson Mandela, became known to the world. It was the year of his 70th birthday and a concert was held earlier on, in Wembley, London.
This was the occasion when the world got knowledge that heading this long struggle there was a man locked up on an island off Cape Town. The anti-apartheid mouvement had finally a face.
Nobody could then have known that this demonstration would help, not to release a man and a leader but also an example of humanity and leadership. Those there played a small part in freeing nelson Mandela and stamping out apartheid.
We have now lost Mandela. Why he became a landmark in a time that saw war and destruction worldwide, is not difficult to understand. Mandela showed by action and not words that humanity has a chance.
I know, as I write these lines that there are many people and ideas locked up by oppression and the mechanisms of power and greed. I am happy that the world has the example Mandela to guide us on our most difficult times.
My contact with South Africa and South Africans would later materialize in a number of ways. I hope to be able to write about them at a later stage, on this blog.