The Long Walk Continues



Almost exactly thirty years ago, on the 2nd February 1990, Nelson Mandela was finally freed from prison. An historic day which marked the end of a system steeped in racism. The apartheid system, initially established to promote difference, was used as a tool to stigmatize and punish a section of the South African population on the basis of their skin tone and appearance.

Nelson Mandela’s time in prison highlighted the struggle for equality, fair treatment and acceptance during that period in history. After his release he then became the President of the African National Congress. Mandela’s stature and diplomatic approach would see him secure his role as President of the African National Congress between 1991 and 1997. Within this time he would go onto be elected as the first black President of the African National Congress in a fully multiracial election in 1994.

30 years on, his efforts and passion to remove the barriers of racism still resonate and live on. Imprisoned for speaking out against hate, his stoic demeanour has been held up not only as a beacon of strength but as a model in how the global community approaches a conversation around race. A conversation which has morphed and altered over time but the end goal still remains the same.

One can imagine that during his and our long walk, it has been filled with a long and fruitful discussion. One could describe this combination as the original ‘walk and talk’ model, designed to focus on the future direction of peace, without labouring on the location of the problem.

In honour of Nelson Mandela’s efforts, we should all continue to hold dear the values he upheld throughout his life, endeavour to use his approach and carry on using the dialogue of hope over hate to build a better future.

Rodney Reid