After George Floyd incident, this year Mandela Month is all the more important

You must member how #blacklivesmatter trended throughout the entire June month. There was massive global outrage against hatred and police violence targeting black people. It was triggered by the murder of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25.

George was arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit bill. Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, knelt on Floyd’s neck for almost eight minutes while Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down, begging for his life and repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe” before he died.

July is here no and it is not an ordinary month, especially for the people of south Africa who remember Nelson Mandela, their leader, who stood against Apartheid and the biased policies. But this year, the month is all the more significant.

Mandela birthday falls on 18 July. He is often referred to as the ‘father of the nation’ and the entire country remembers him as the legend he was, for the whole of July.

This year, however, the country would truly remember the leader while cherishing his struggle and belief for his people’s rights.

Mandela’s integrity and his resolve to fight for his people is quite relevant these days as people look forward to a leader who can speak on their behalf.

The month also allows South African people in particular, and the rest of the world in general, to remember and honour the life of Madiba and the sacrifices he made for the wellbeing of his people.

A statement issued by Nelson Mandela Foundation last month gave a succinct message how ‘black lives matter’.

The statement read: “It is clear that in South Africa twenty-six years of democracy have not as yet ensured that Black lives matter as much as White lives. Collins Khosa, Andries Tatane, the Marikana miners – the list is long. The most recent Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) report indicated 201 deaths in police custody, 436 deaths as a result of police action, 217 reports of torture and 3 661 reports of assault by the police. The victims are almost always Black people. And we must also factor in the structural violence against Black lives constituted by patterns of poverty and inequality deeply rooted in our histories of colonialism and apartheid. As Thomas Piketty noted in the 2015 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture: “if inequality is not addressed through peaceful means and peaceful democratic institutions, it’s always potentially a source of violence.”

“Now is the time for sober assessment of a resilient White supremacy in our country, in the US and globally. We need to reckon with the fact that structural and other forms of violence will provoke violence. And we must face the reality that the ravages of COVID-19 will further entrench structural violence unless we fundamentally restructure our societies. It is time to apply our minds to this challenge. Black lives do matter,” the statement read.

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