By Yaseen Kippie
In light of International Solidarity Month with the Palestinian people, the grandson of President Nelson Mandela and chief of the Mandela household, Mandla Mandela, visited Palestine to “see the oppression and brutality of Apartheid Israel.”
Mandela documented a number of his experiences through writing, a quality he has undoubtedly inherited from his grandfather. He wrote:
“Never before in my life has the reality of Apartheid Israel stared me so bluntly in the face as it did today on my visit to Al Aqsa, Bethlehem and Hebron. Standing in the Sacred Sanctuary on the very place that Apartheid Israel installed metal detectors and surveillance cameras against which we protested a few months ago made me realize just how intimidation, illegal occupation and brutality is meted out daily to Palestinians. We cannot be complicit by our silence.”
Mandla told VOC that after a tedious experience at the Jordanian border of Israel, they entered Jericho, where they were given a warm welcome by the Palestinian governor. They then travelled to Ramallah, which reminded him of the difficulty of movement in Apartheid South Africa.
“The movement from one settlement to another under heavy security checkpoints reminds us of a lighter experience in Apartheid South Africa of the ciskei homeland. This is more extreme than ciskei, because ciskeins were allowed to travel back and forth into king Williams town and East London. Palestinians are confided to a settlement, even though in Ramallah they can see Jerusalem, but are not able to go without a permit from the Israeli government.”
Mandela discredited DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as “he was not interested in meeting with any Palestinians.” Mandela met with Prime Minister of Palestine Rami Hamdallah and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbass.
He recalled the statement of his grandfather Nelson Mandela, who said, “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.’ Mandla urged South Africa to be a voice for the Palestinian struggle.