A view from the Global South

03/20/2024 – https://uwidata.com/

On the 26th and 27th of February, the Russian Federation hosted over 500 participants from more than 130 countries in Moscow to challenge Western hegemony in the Second Congress of the International Russophile Movement (MIR).

UWI documents in the following days some speeches delivered in the congress. Today we publish the presentation of Zwelivelile Mandla Mandela. Mandela is a member of the South African National Assembly and the grandson of Nelson Mandela.

Your Excellencies,

Thank you for having afforded me the opportunity to speak here today.

My name is Mandla Mandela. I’m a member of Parliament in the National Assembly in South Africa and hold the burden of being President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela’s grandson. My father was his second son.

Allow me, program director, to acknowledge the leadership of the International Russophile Movement.

Fellow participants, ladies and gentlemen, comrades and friends, I bring you warm greetings from the home of President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the founding father of a free and democratic South Africa. We pause today to pay respects to all of you to whom we owe an eternal debt in supporting our eternal resistance, our competence in exile, and our leadership, most of whom were languishing in apartheid jails like my grandfather.

You and all the global anti-apartheid movement enabled us to overcome the brutal apartheid regime in South Africa. Your collective actions, whether at the level of the state like the frontline states on the SADC region, the USSR, Cuba, Libya, Palestine, and many more. Through the actions of churches and faith-based movements, civil society organs, labor formations, singly and collectively, you all contributed to our liberation and freedom and demonstrated the power of the Global South.

There are as many definitions of the Global South today as there are ideologues and social science theorists and political-economy practitioners. According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development, the Global South broadly compromises of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia excluding apartheid Israel, and Japan, South Korea, Oceania excluding Australia and New Zealand.

It is paradoxical that we have been reminded so starkly of the power of the Global South by the recent events in Gaza and all of occupied Palestine. The voices in the Global South have been awakened by the pogrom unfolding before our very eyes. It is painful to watch the daily obliteration of infrastructure, not to mention the tally of human lives, because the numbers do not tell the full story of the decades of systematic genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The millions of people, every city of the world, standing up and standing against the imaginations of unipolar world led by the USA, the UK and the countries in the European Union. The Global South is fiercely calling for an immediate ceasefire.

The world is ready for a new world, one that is more just and one that will not accept the advancement of parochial geopolitical interests at the expense of others. The Palestinian people and their brave act of resistance is setting an example to all of us in the Global South. We stand together, bound by the values of our common humanity, and demand justice not just for the people of Gaza and all of occupied Palestine, but for all suffering people in the world.

They invoked our own painful path to freedom. South Africa has taken the Zionist entity to the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice and has been supported by similar actions by countries in Latin America, Asia and even in the European Parliament. These are not random events but rather the consequences of global mobilization on an unprecedented level. We are no longer prepared to be second-class citizens of the world, and the institutions of global governance are facing a test to act in consonance with the founding principles or forever lose legitimacy in the eyes of the world.

It is in our hands to act decisively. Now, as President Mandela reminded us, it is now in our hands. It is in the hands of this generation to achieve greatness. It is in the hands of the Global South and our emerging structures such as the BRICS Plus to shape a world in which justice prevails, in which a human rights-based world works for all of us, or works for none of us.

Palestine and its heroic struggle against unjust occupation, genocide, ethnic cleansing is a litmus test for our humanity. It is a test for our resolve to stand united against the bullies of the world who for too long have raped, pillaged and stolen the resources of the world in its quest for empire, for power and global dominance.

It is not an accident of history or random change that brings us together here in this particular moment in time. We have to act in our collective strength and moral obligation towards each other and all humanity to advance the global agenda that brings peace in Palestine and peace in the world.

The era of a unipolar world which unilaterally imposes its blockades and force its geopolitical interest on the entire world and all of humanity is dying and must be buried for peace, justice and dignity and prosperity for all to prevail. We must move forward and ensure that the prevailing global sentiments translate into concrete actions, and the Global South must drive this agenda in order to achieve our mutual goal of a just world.

To do so requires firm resolve and determination. We can no longer be passengers of history. We are the makers of our own destiny, and it is in our hands to shape the future of humanity. This is true for the struggle of the Palestinian people as it is true for other critical issues, just as climate justice, fighting poverty and ending inequality in the world.

In South Africa, all the African continent, we have overcome the struggle of colonial occupation as you have witnessed in Niger, in Mali, in Burkina Faso, but we have yet to taste the fruits of our economic liberation and the goal of economic development. And prosperity eludes us because the changes in the global architecture that we are striving for escapes us because of systematic slavery that has entained us. The Global South must be the catalyst to break off these chains of economic slavery to the West.

This is true for Africa, as it is true for Latin America and Asia. As we awaken and become present to this reality, we must continue to mobilize our collective efforts, resources, and the voices of our people to push forward courageously and shape a new future and a new dawn.

Our voices must be heard in the global corridors of power as we demand an end to the occupation and genocide in Palestine. In doing so, we also assert our own daily struggles as the Global South to build a future for all of humanity, one that is characterized by peace, justice and human dignity for all.

And in doing so, we can all realize a free Palestine in our lifetime, a one state that provides dignity for all its citizens, whether they be Muslim, Christian, or Jews.

I thank you.