Mandla Mandela slams UK right-wingers wanting to remove Madiba's statue in London


  • Mandla Mandela said the statue of slave owner Edward Colsten, a symbol of white supremacy, should not be compared to Madiba's.
  • The Black Lives Matter actions to remove symbols of racism, were sparked by George Floyd's death at the hands of police officers.
  • Targeting of Mandela's statue comes after a statue of Colston was pulled down and thrown into a river during a Black Lives Matter protest.

Nelson Mandela's grandson and ANC MP Mandla Mandela has slammed far-right protesters in Britain who are calling for Madiba's statue to be removed from Parliament Square in London.

He described them as oppressors who spew hateful speech.

The threats to attack the statue of the first black South African president and anti-apartheid activist, comes in the wake of Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests that have recently been targeting statues symbolising racism in Britain and in the US.

The BLM actions to remove symbols of racism, were sparked by the killing of US citizen George Floyd at the hands of police officers.

The targeting of Mandela’s statue by far-right protesters, comes after a statue of slave owner Edward Colston was pulled down and thrown into a river during a Black Lives Matter protest in the UK.


A Christopher Columbus statue was beheaded in Boston and more are being attacked, while former British prime minister Winston Churchill’s statue was sprayed with graffiti.

Britain First leader Paul Golding is reportedly among those who called for Madiba’s statue to be torn down.

READ | Rhodes must fall: South Africans must be proud - Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh says as Oxford protests resurface

In response to this, the British government has boarded up the statues of Mahatma Gandhi and Mandela.

Speaking exclusively to News24, Mandla Mandela said the statue of Edward Colsten, a symbol of white supremacy, should not be compared to Mandela’s because instead of inspiring admiration, it invokes disgust and anger.

He said such statues belong in museums for future generations to learn about injustices and gross violation of human rights.  

Mandela said even if the protesters succeeded in desecrating Mandela's statue, it would not be the first time.

"It's nothing new to us as a family. In 1984 the Greater London Council (GLC) invited the then president of the ANC Oliver Tambo to unveil a bust of Madiba in South Bank. Around 1988 on my visit I found the bust had been defaced and vandalised. All that remained was the stone the bust was meant to be standing on. So, utterances [like those] of Paul Golding are nothing new. It is merely more of the same drivel, that Madiba was a terrorist, communist and mass murderer."

He said: "These critics never distracted Madiba from his struggle for liberation, nor should we falter or be swayed by these oppressors spewing hateful speech."

A young Mandla Mandela stands atop a plinth which
A young Mandla Mandela stands atop a plinth which carried a bust of his grandfather Nelson Mandela in South Bank, London. The bust was defaced and removed. This photo was taken in1988. Photo:

Mandla said history as we know it, has not only proved Mandela’s detractors wrong, but regards his grandfather as a global icon revered across the globe.

Nelson Mandela remains the symbol of hope for those who are oppressed, victimised and prejudiced, he said.

"Statues are erected to honour figures we respect and look up to. They are supposed to inspire us and be admired by future generations, not invoke disgust and anger from us."

READ | Clashes during far-right linked UK protest to counter Black Lives Matter rally

Mandela offered his support to the Black Lives Matter campaign, saying it was more than just a local racial problem, and also questioned US foreign policy.

"The BLM campaign should therefore not be seen or regarded as a racial problem but rather a problem of oppressed nations around the globe.

"In the USA, African-Americans have been the target, but elsewhere in the world it takes a different form such as in Cuba, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya etc. BLM has enabled oppressed nations a platform for their voices to be heard. It has become a call to action that racism should never raise its ugly head again in our world."

The chief of Mvezo called on young people to be agents of change and create a better future.

"The killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and many more have sparked a call to action from all of us not to be complicit in gross violations of human rights. The future is in our hands. Let us be the change." 

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