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Memories shared by people of the day of Mandela’s release twenty years ago bring it all flooding back.

I was working at War on Want, supporting the Anti-Apartheid movement. It was an extraordinary day, in the huge crowd in Trafalgar Square, overlooked by South Africa House, scene of so many protests, waiting for the moment of Mandela’s release. I was there with a friend, Wolf, working at War on Want on the Debt Crisis (remember that?! – when it was Latin America that had the huge debt crisis!). Wolf was from West Berlin and together we had watched the Berlin Wall come down – on TV in Hackney where we both lived.

With the release of Mandela and the beginning of the end of the brutal, inhuman apartheid regime, it really did seem like a turning point, that peace was breaking out all over the world. Sad to look back and see how much bloodshed there has been in the last 2 decades, and how much is still going on, and how the far right here in Britain want to impose a regime as racist as apartheid. Anti-racists will be out again this weekend on the streets of Primrose in Jarrow to urge people not to allow the BNP, avowed racists, friends of the Klu Klux clan, to win an election and so gain the power to impose apartheid here.


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