Thatcher refused to meet mandela long walk

I met Nelson Mandela three days after his release from jail. As he did not want to be protected by the South African police, we agreed to train When I left South Africa, he insisted on making the long journey from Soweto to. Three years after Thatcher left office, Mandela became South When much of the world enforced sanctions on apartheid South Africa in the s, Thatcher refused, “Long after her passing on, her impact will still be felt and her views racism,” Robin Renwick writes in “A Journey with Margaret Thatcher. Mandela's long walk to freedom was apparently assisted by Thatcher Margaret Thatcher meets Nelson Mandela after his release in (PA) .. talks with the South African government, in which she had refused to bow.

The tireless activity of many individuals - such as Lord Attenborough and Wendy Woods - has resulted in something that will send a powerful signal around the world about how we as a society view racism and the struggle waged against apartheid by Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress ANC. It was the late Donald Woods who originally came up with the proposal for the statue.

His idea will now become a reality.

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He set out the contradictory feelings provoked by seeing the institutions of the British state for those in Africa fighting for liberation: When I gloried in the beauty of these buildings, I was ambivalent about what they represented. When we saw the statue of General Smuts near Westminster Abbey, Oliver and I joked that perhaps someday there would be a statue of us in its stead.

But a few decades later that is exactly what will happen - a statue of Mandela will stand a short distance away from the very institutions of British government that once ruled the colonies in Africa. It will do so precisely because of the profound sacrifice and political leadership that was shown by Nelson Mandela and his comrades in taking on and defeating the racist apartheid system.

The statue will stand as a symbol of the fight against racism and apartheid - giving due weight to the role of Mandela himself but symbolising all those who struggled to throw off racism and oppression.

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To achieve this victory, and for London to record these historic events by erecting a statue right in the heart of Westminster, a number of important factors were required in long campaign against apartheid. First and foremost a brilliant leadership was prepared to make huge individual sacrifices and give clear direction. Mandela personified and gave voice to the entire movement, the hundreds of thousands who fought and made terrible sacrifices in order to liberate their country from the racist apartheid system.

Mandela and the ANC provided a leadership that could both command the support of the majority black population of South Africa and was also seen by the rest of the world as a serious and representative political force.

The legacy of Mandela's leadership during that period is his support around the world as a political leader and statesman today. Secondly to defeat apartheid the struggle of the black majority was joined by a movement of solidarity worldwide, ranging from individual boycotts, mass demonstrations, all the way through to such actions as the Cuban troops who took on and smashed the South African army in Angola.

The placing of a statue of Mandela on Parliament Square should be a source of pride to those who played their role, however large or small, in the anti-apartheid movement. And underpinning all of this was the determination to keep going over each obstacle, even to turn those obstacles back against those who produced them. The South African authorities deployed every single conceivable weapon in their attempt to cling to power.

Summoned one day to take an urgent telephone call from the great man, I imagined some fresh breakdown in negotiations, only to find that he wanted to give me the politically incorrect news that he had succeeded in shooting a buck.

Mandela's long walk to a plinth

I tried hard to persuade him, against the advice of his associates, that he needed to reach out to the Zulu community by meeting Chief Buthelezi which, belatedly, he agreed to do. He also had to find a way to enable de Klerk to show his white constituency that the very difficult path on which he had embarked had some benefits for them, too. This led to the lifting of the international sports boycott. Mandela kept urging me to join the ANC. I suggested that this might be difficult to explain to my prime minister.

But I found myself being as skilfully co-opted as others were. When the House of Commons foreign affairs committee visited South Africa, Mandela insisted that I should sit on his side of the table, since, he claimed, I was his adviser.

Most visitors tended to show an excessive degree of sycophancy towards him. He was never overly impressed by this.

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When he described Colonel Muammar Gaddafi as a great supporter of human rights, I went with Helen Suzman to remonstrate with him. He deserved more friends like her.

Nelson Mandela with the Queen after he was made an honorary member of the Order of Merit. But we did not lose contact. A few months later he asked me to arrange a dinner for him at the British Embassy in Washington, at which, for the first time, he told representatives of all the major investment institutions that he wanted them to return. On his state visit to Britain as president, he arranged for some of the best musicians from Soweto to give a concert at the Albert Hall.

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During the interval, I reminded him that the audience were waiting for him to stand up and dance, as he always did in South Africa. He was worried that this might offend the Queen, who was sitting next to him.