The eldest daughter of Nelson Mandela says the “struggle” against racism “is not complete” and that the world should continue fighting against it “with everything we have in our might”.
Speaking on Nelson Mandela International Day, Dr Makaziwe Mandela told Sky News’ Trevor Phillips on Sunday: “My father would be repeating what he said when he was alive, that the struggle is not complete and that we should not tire, we should press on to fight racism with everything we have in our might.”
“There needs to be much more dialogue on racism because it is plaguing the whole world,” she said. “I think my father would be saying we need to put our heads together and fight this surge of racism until it ends.”
The equality and social justice campaigner said the pandemic has contributed to the resurgence of racism globally.
“We have COVID breaking a lot of people… a lot of people are losing their jobs… [there’s a] resurge of racism around the world,” she said.
“I think COVID has exacerbated inequities in society.”
Speaking about the violence in South Africa following the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma, Dr Mandela said: “No one wants to see South Africa in this situation of violence but unless you squarely address issues of poverty and inequity South Africa will see more of this violence.”
Over 100 people have been killed in violent unrest and looting over the last few days, and confidence in the ruling Africa National Congress (ANC) party has been shaken.
Dr Mandela said “all” of South Africa’s problems are “the responsibility of the ANC”.
“The ANC seems to have forgotten why it came into power,” she said.
“It came into power mainly because it wanted to improve the conditions and lives of black people who had been impoverished and their dignity taken away by the apartheid regime.
“Political freedom was never enough – my father knew it, they knew it, and we cannot leave the economy that supported apartheid to be intact because there is no way therefore to address the iniquities of the past and address the conditions of the poor.
“If you look at the conditions of the poor in South Africa, who are mainly black, it has not improved. It is still the same, it has not improved… So what is happening right now is squarely in their hands.”
She went on: “Nobody, I want to assure you, wants to see South Africa in the situation of violence.
“But unless South Africa squarely address the issues of poverty and iniquity, youth unemployment, which is around 74%, South Africa will see more of this violence occurring more and more.”
Dr Mandela’s comments come after a year that’s seen the Black Lives Matter movement become a major talking point across the western world, sparked by the police murder of George Floyd in the US last year.
The movement has sparked protests and greater conversation about racism in the UK, which again reared its head following England’s defeat in the Euro 2020 final.
Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka have all experienced horrific racial abuse since missing their spot kicks in the decisive penalty shootout last weekend.