Nelson Mandela Day: Nigeria-South Africa Relations

In Morning Crossfire 2019-07-18 15:45:01
Nelson Mandela Day: Nigeria-South Africa Relations
Nelson Mandela Day: Nigeria-South Africa Relations

Morning Crossfire takes a look at the life and times of Nelson Mandela. Today is the International Day of Nelson Mandela and this brings a whole lot into the minds of people. A very strategic way to look at the Mandela story gives the Morning Crossfire team of Wemimo Adewuni and Sheriff Quadri the opportunity to look at the Nigeria/South Africa relations.


Morning Crossfire takes a deep look at what Nelson Mandela stood for and what we can learn from him. Will what we learn help us improve the Nigeria/South Africa relations? On hand at the studio are guests who deliberate on the issue.


Some notable timelines of Nelson Mandela's lifetime:


  • Mandela joined the African National Congress in 1944 when he helped to form the ANC Youth League (ANCYL).
  • In 1952 he was chosen as the National Volunteer-in-Chief of the Defiance Campaign with Maulvi Cachalia as his deputy.
  • Mandela was arrested in a countrywide police swoop on 5 December 1956, which led to the 1956 Treason Trial.
  • On 11 June 1964 Mandela and seven other accused were convicted and the next day were sentenced to life imprisonment
  • In 1993 he and President FW de Klerk jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize and on 27 April 1994 he voted for the first time in his life.
  • He was an activist, scholar, leader, and, ultimately, one of the world’s greatest-ever humanitarians died in 2013 at the age of 95.


Talking about the apartheid regime in South Africa, there is still something that comes to the mind of everyone who knows about the challenges of that period. The President, Committee for Defense of Human Rights, Malachy Ugwummadu remarks that apartheid is historical in many respects. According to him, “It would be extremely difficult to capture the whole apartheid experience. We have to characterize the symbol of that struggle, Mandela himself. For me, Mandela represents perhaps the foremost African possibility from the standpoint of the courage that he exhibited, the spirit of tolerance that he had and the capacity to inspire people in a certain direction. He also had a powerful capacity to heal the wounds of the past.”


The Senior Research Fellow and Head, Division of African Politics and Integration, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Dr Sharkdam Wapmuk says “We find some African countries leaders doing better, but most are not imbibing the spirit of leadership that Mandela left behind.


“One of the biggest challenges we have had over the years is that when leaders grab power, they want to stay on, the governance process becomes less participatory, less engaging and if we have situations like that the tendency is that there will be uprisings, rebellion, and less tolerance for the opposition. This will have a multiplying effect on the society, internal and external relationships. If you ask me if these leaders have grabbed the blessings, far from it. Mandela was selfless and had a large heart but most African leaders don’t have these.”


In-House Social Commentator, Achike Chude says that “Mandela was a man with a global vision. He had a vision beyond his people too. As long as he was able to project this, people saw in him an exceptional leader. We also acknowledge the role that others have played in South Africa. Some of these people didn’t see the South Africa they dreamed about but they died in the process.”


Chude reels out a few great leaders from Africa and says that all these people should be remembered. “But the reality is that we have not had people with this pan-African vision when it comes to humanity.”


He goes on to mention that Mandela himself was very disappointed with Nigeria, realizing what role a country like Nigeria could embrace in orientating Africa with all its human and natural resources. He believed that Nigeria could have delivered Africa from most of the problems the continent faces. “You cannot talk about South African independence without talking about Nigeria. You cannot talk about the independence of some of the frontline States in Africa without talking about the role Nigeria played. Nigeria is spending millions of dollars to fight the apartheid struggle.”


Other countries have praised Nigeria’s efforts at peace-keeping efforts in other African countries. But the reality is that Nigeria has always belief in afro-centric foreign policy. Nigeria also has a group of politicians that are not interested in building a nation, they are interested in “their own personal capacity”.


Follow the conversation fully: Click Here

Resource Persons:

(1 ) Malachy Ugwummadu - President, Committee for Defense of  Human Rights

(2) Achike Chude - In-House Social Commentator...

(3) Dr Sharkdam Wapmuk - Senior Research Fellow and Head, Division of African Politics and Integration, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA)


#MorningCrossfire with @wemimospot @SheriffQuadry


Written by Jude Chukwuemeka