Wednesday, 31 October 2018

A very special evening: South Africa – Sweden

It is probably the third time I meet Lindiwe Mabuza. The other two times we never got a chance to talk. I saw her at
The Swedish People's Parliament Against Apartheid in Stockholm 21-23 February 1986
This unique meeting was held in Stockholm a few days ahead of the assassination of Sweden’s Prime Minister, Olof Palme.

The second time I saw her was at
Modern Solidarity – What did we learn from Southern Africa’s liberation?Popular Movements’ Meeting 11-12 April 2008 – Sigtuna Folk high school
Lindiwe Mabuza is a South African poet. But she has also served as the African National Congress’ Chief Representative to Scandinavia from 1979 to 1986. She was also South Africa’s Ambassador to Germany, Malaysia, the Philippines and the United Kingdom.

The reason for the occasion was the launch of her book:
Tambo Lenyoka: Enduring friendships – Olof Palme and Thabo Mbeki
She read three of the poems. One about Oliver Reginald Tambo. The second about Olof Palme, who Tambo called his brother. The third about Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa. Tambo called him his son.

The first poem uses the praise name of Tambo, if I understood it correctly, which is
It means the bone of a snake and has given name to the whole book. The audience listened very attentive to the poems. It was a special moment. In between the readings a few other persons gave their views on the importance of the link between Sweden and South Africa.

The seminar was moderated by Angela Muvumba Sellström. At the table:
Lindiwe Mabuza, Tor Sällström, Velaphi Mzimba, Anders Bjurner, and Michael Selekane.
While Lindiwe Mabuza read her poems, Vusi Mbulali painted a picture of
OR Tambo and Olof Palme.
The seminar was held at Fredens Hus (The house of peace) at Uppsala Castle. It was jointly organized with Uppsala University’s Forum for Africa Studies.

Me and Velaphi Mzimba.
Three South African artist, who have contributed to the book, also spoke at the seminar. They were: Velaphi Mzimba, Vusi Mbulali and Michael Selekane.

I bought a book and of course had it signed. Lindiwe Mabuza wrote:
To Kristina and Anders. Many thanks for years of solidarity and assistance to pur people and country.
A very precious dedication But it is important to realise that the fight against racism continues. In Fredens hus we were surrounded by an exhibition called
Svart kvinna (Black woman)
10 March 2014 Fanna Ndow Norrby started an Instagram account where she posted a few stories about expressions of racism that she had experienced. The morning the day thereafter she had 10 000 followers. Some of the stories were posted on the walls in the room where we were seated. Lindiwe Mabuza were quite concerned that racism exists in Sweden today. She was not used to that when she lived here. 

She told us a story about a visit to a school A young boy - maybe eight years old - had listened to her stories about apartheid and responded about how the whites in South Africa treated the blacks:
I don't care what they say about them. I like her.

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