Monday 26 May 2014

Aberdeen remembers Madiba with a call to continue the struggle against apartheid, inequality, poverty, oppression and injustice.

The citizens of Aberdeen remembered Nelson Mandela at a special memorial service on Sunday 25 May at the Kirk of St Nicholas Uniting.

Speaking at the moving service, Tommy Campbell of UNITE and the ATUC, who was a member of the Anti-Apartheid Movement at the time, said that it was a correct and courageous decision that Aberdeen  District Council in 1984 awarded the Freedom of the City of Aberdeen to both Nelson and Winnie Mandela.
The Freedom of the City of Aberdeen was awarded, "in recognition of the protracted persecution which he has endured and the example which he has set the whole world in his fight for freedom in opposing the evil of apartheid in his native land of South Africa".

Nelson Mandela was later able to attend a joint ceremony in the City Chambers, Glasgow on 09 October 1993, where he received a freedom casket and scroll from the people of Aberdeen.

Tommy Campbell speaking at the service
Tommy said, "Nelson Mandela and the collective leadership of the ANC led their people in the struggle against Apartheid for Freedom and Democracy in South Africa.
"Along with Nelson Mandela his wife Winnie symbolised the role of women in the struggle for freedom and democracy in South Africa.

"The ANC Women’s Section engaged in that heroic struggle and it was the women I worked with in the Aberdeen Anti-Apartheid Group that also used their excellent organisational skills and collective leadership to play their part in promoting support for the South African people who were resisting and fighting the racist Apartheid Government in South Africa.

"We must never forget that whilst we in Aberdeen extended our hands of friendship and international  solidarity across  borders to the women, men and children in South Africa, the Apartheid Government was extending its murderous hands across borders too with  a policy of assassination of ANC activists and their attempt to destabilise the International Boycott organised by the Anti-Apartheid Movement

With thanks to Norman Adams,
Aberdeen City Council for the photos 
"They failed in their efforts because of the determined resistance and the collective  principled struggle of the ANC coupled with the International Boycott and isolation of the South African Government organised by the Anti-Apartheid Movement.

"We must recognise  the important part played by the local Anti-Apartheid Group in Aberdeen that was supported by the Aberdeen District Council and many politicians, most notably the Aberdeen  Labour MP Bob Hughes who was Chairperson of the  Anti-Apartheid Movement in the UK

"We pay our tribute and commemorate the life of Nelson Mandela  today and we also recognise the role of the women who played their part in the ANC and the Anti-Apartheid Movement too.

"I clearly recall an excellent ANC women’s section poster with a very striking  photograph of a woman holding  a child with her left arm in a cuddle close to her chest and with her right arm  stretched out in a powerful clenched fist salute with the caption --- the hand that’s rocks the cradle should also rock the boat.

"In conclusion I wish to read a poem that Nelson Mandela kept in his prison  cell and he shared with other prisoners to inspire them and keep their spirit up  --- Invictus by William Ernest Henley


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Tommy concluded, "Let us commit ourselves from this day onwards  to ensure we and others throughout the world are never conquered by oppression and hatred and that we will continue with Nelson Mandela’s long  walk to freedom for all people throughout the world so that one day the entire human race is free from any form of Apartheid, inequality, poverty, oppression and injustice.

 AMANDLA !!!!!"