Today, 18th July 2020 is the 102nd Birth Anniversary of Nelson Mandela, the icon of South African freedom, anti-apartheid struggle and the undisputed leader of the African National Congress which fought for the liberation of the country from the British rulers. He was 27 years in jail punished in a conspiracy case against the state since 1962 most of the time in isolation  in very small room in the Robben Island. The militant struggle for freedom by the African National Congress for many decades, facing all repression by the white rulers is part of history. ‘uMkhonto We Sizwe’ (Spear of the Nation’) was their slogan.Mahatma Gandhi’s stay in South Africa and the struggle against the white rulers are well documented. Mandela was the first President of free South Africa from 1994 to 1999. His first wife Winnie Mandela was also a staunch fighter in the freedom struggle. Their daughter Zenani Mandela passed a few days back.

Nelson Mandela passed away on 5th December 2013 at the age of 95. Mandela’s life and  struggle is an epic itself. His burial ceremony was participated by most of the heads of states of the world.

During my visit to South Africa in connection with the Congress of the Trade Union International (Public Services) affiliated, I got the chance to know more about the legend. In the 1970s, while at Calicut,  I used to get copies of Sechaba, the journal of the South African Congress, regularly by post.  During the same period I was getting ‘Granma’, the journal of the Communist Party of Cuba also. After two- three years, both stopped. I am still not aware who was sending the journals and why it was stopped.

Red salute to Nelson Mandela!