Russia celebrates former African leader’s legacy

11 months ago 22

The Mandela Day joint event between a Moscow library and the South African Embassy shows the two countries’ close ties, Pretoria’s envoy has told RT

South Africa’s ambassador to Russia has hailed the ties between the two nations as he attended a joint event in honor of Mandela Day at a Moscow library.  

Nelson Mandela International Day was observed last Tuesday, as it is every year on July 18, to honor the South African anti-apartheid activist who served as the country’s first black president from 1994 to 1999. The UN first designated July 18 as Mandela Day in 2009, coinciding with his birthday.

This year the occasion was commemorated around the world, including in South Africa, where locals dedicated 67 minutes of their time to community service, emulating the former leader’s 67-year legacy.

In Russia, Pretoria’s embassy co-hosted a memorial event for Mandela, who died in 2013, with diplomats and representatives from public educational and scientific organizations in attendance.

In an interview with RT on the sidelines of the gathering, South Africa’s ambassador to Russia, Mzuvukile Maqetuka, described Mandela, also known by his clan name Madiba, as a “revolutionary” whose memory lives on.

He said celebrating the event at the All-Russian State Library for Foreign Literature further demonstrated the embassy’s close relationship with the institution and Moscow.

Maqetuka added it would be impossible to “reinvent” the former leader, who endured 27 years in prison in his fight against racist white minority rule.

It’s too big a boot to wear to resemble Madiba. But I think we can learn from his teachings. We can learn from what he did to humanity,” Maqetuka said.

Responding to a question on the causes of neocolonialism, the diplomat stated that there are still countries in Africa that are subject to oppression, citing the Sahrawi Republic in Western Sahara as an example.

For us to begin to rush to talk about neocolonialism as if we have eradicated the vestiges of colonialism, I think to me that is a misnomer,” Maqetuka told RT.

The world needs to understand colonialism,” he insisted, arguing that many people are still suffering from imperialist horrors.

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