ON NELSON MANDELA’S 100TH BIRTH ANNIVERSARY COMMEMMORATION IT WOULD BE TIMELY TO RECALL THE FREEDOM ICON’S FIRST OFFICIAL VISIT TO INDIA IN JANUARY 1995 AND HIS LOVE AND ADMIRATION FOR THE GOVERNMENT AND PEOPLE OF INDIA
BY SUBRY GOVENDER
(NELSON MANDELA MEETING MRS SONIA GANDHI, LEADER OF THE INDIAN CONGRESS PARTY)
On the day Nelson Mandela was released from prison on February 12 1990, he was asked at a media conference which country in the world he would first like to visit now that he was free. Without any hesitation, Mandela responded by saying that the country that meant a great deal to him was India. This was not only because of the staunch support of the Indian Government and the people of India to South Africa’s freedom, but also that he was inspirared by leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlall Nehru. Mandela fulfilled this dream officially six months after he was elected president of the new democratic South Africa in May 1994.Subry Govender, who covered his release from prison in 1990, recalls the visit to India where Mandela not only re-iterated his love and admiration for India but also gave an assurance that in the new democratic South Africa, all citizens would enjoy equal rights in a free and non-racial country.
This radio feature is being published now in order to remind some political elements who are promoting racial intolerance and genocide that Mandela would be deeply saddened by their recent racist utterances.