Dr. Phumla Makaziwe Mandela, daughter of the late Nelson Mandela, Joined the gathering of Iranian communities in Paris on the occasion of the World Day Against the Death Penalty, October 10, to express her solidarity with their objectives.
She was warmly welcomed by the participants and she had the following remarks to deliver to the gathering:
I don’t stand here as an expert on death penalty. I don’t stand here as an expert on Resistance. But I stand proud as the daughter of Nelson Mandela who fought for democracy and liberation of African people. I speak of my own personal experience. And as I speak today I like the young lady from Iran that I met this morning and the gentlemen to come up.
When I was young, my father went to jail when I was between six and seven. In those days, the national party had a partake and my father and his colleagues because they carried the torch they faced the death penalty. They were prepared to die for the cause of liberating African people in South Africa. When they were sentenced I was in a school in Swaziland. I cried the whole day because I believed I will not see my father alive again. But through the grace of judge and true friends in the world, they were never executed. They were sentenced to life imprisonment. But I know that those death penalties can’t prevent a good idea whose time has come. I am grateful today that my Dad not sentenced to death because if he would have been, I would have missed a father that I have learned so much from. I would have missed to learn about fearlessness and courage and resilience. He spent 27 years in jail but came out without anger, without bitterness, without revenge. He created the sensation in South Africa that is to be … today because he knew that revenge would not get us anywhere.
All I say to you is do not lose hope, stay with hope and resilience, and hope in a greater power and you will succeed eventually in your fight against evil.
Madam Rajavi, I want to say to you I never knew in my world that there would be a woman that I encounter like you with so much courage, fearlessness, and resilience. I went home last time and I was … and I want to say do not stop what you are doing. For me your philosophy is based on forgiveness. My Dad said it takes courage to forgive. It is very easy to take revenge on those who have hurt you but it takes fearlessness and courage to forgive and you have that forgiveness that you expressed this morning.
There are many people around the world who support you. But don’t despair you seem like a little boy in the desert, that is what take courage and leadership. Nelson Mandela had moments of loneliness. But he went with his own conviction. He was assented to himself. There were times when he was asked to denounce his prayers and he would say no. These are the people who were with us I would not call my friends. Until he sat his eyes he fought for what was right: for human rights, for liberty, and for freedom anywhere in the world.
And for me, I want to say continue in your fight together with those who support you here today because as I say no execution, South Africa is a prime example, can stop the will and determination of the people who want their freedom.