Nelson Mandela “would have admired” the Black Lives Matter protests across the world, the former South African leader’s grandson has told Sky News.
Nkosi Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela hailed recent global demonstrations, prompted by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and also, latterly, by the shooting of Rayshard Brooks by police in Georgia.
“We are seeing a shift in global politics in the sense that oppressed nations, through the Black Lives Matter, have now been given a voice to be heard,” he told Sky News’ Kay Burley @ Breakfast show.
“To speak out against injustices as well as the gross violations of human rights; whether that be in America, Britain or Australia, whether that be in Palestine, Western Sahara or Kashmir, they are beginning to have a platform to voice out.”
The South African MP explained why he believes the Black Lives Matter protests have seen a shift from the movement’s focus on racism to also include global injustices and human rights issues.
He said: “We have to see what has happened as a shift from racism – in terms of understanding the injustices and the gross violation of human rights that have been meted out, particularly against African Americans.
“But when you move out and look at how these have sparked many protests around the world, it’s the realisation that many people are now beginning to see that they can no longer be silent.
“Being silent is being complicit to what is actually happening around the globe.
“And therefore they are beginning to take a stand on injustices, as well as the gross violations of human rights.”
Along with other statues in Westminster, including one of Winston Churchill, a statue of Nelson Mandela in Parliament Square has recently been boarded up due to fears the monuments could be targeted by anti-racism or far-right protesters who have recently demonstrated in the capital.
“Mandla” recalled how his grandfather, who he refers to as “Madiba”, had “a real sense of humour about such issues”.
He described how, when visiting London in the late 1980s, he found a bust of his grandfather had been defaced and subsequently removed on the capital’s South Bank.
On telling this to his grandfather, he remembered how the anti-apartheid leader told him: “Such is the legacy of one’s struggle.”
Speaking on Saturday, Paul Golding, the leader of far-right group Britain First, said he and his supporters had come to London to “guard our monuments”.
But, when asked about the Nelson Mandela statue, Golding said he “would like to see that one go” as he branded the former South African president a “communist terrorist mass murderer”.
Violent clashes between far-right protesters and police occurred later in the day.
Responding to Mr Golding’s comments, “Mandla” said: “For us, as a family, we would want to appeal to the likes of Paul Golding that continue to label ‘Madiba’ as a terrorist and a communist, these are things of the past.”
He added that his grandfather “became a global icon because of his ability to bring about peace in our country and ensure we had a peaceful transition to democracy”.
Race and Revolution: Is Change Going to Come?
Tonight at 8pm, Sky News will broadcast global debate show Race and Revolution: Is Change Going to Come?
It will look at the issues raised by the Black Lives Matter protests, and examine institutional racism and how we fix it.