We experienced real sisterhood
By Naledi PandorScience and Technology Minister
President Jacob Zuma is absolutely correct in remarking that we have failed in our duty to inform democratic South Africa about the valuable contribution the vast majority of African countries made to the struggle for freedom.
The African solidarity that was given to the liberation movements, especially the ANC, was the expression of ubuntu par excellence.
I spent over three decades living outside my country of birth. And while I sometimes bemoan the fact that I was not home, I feel we were fortunate to be hosted by Lesotho, Botswana, Angola, Mozambique, Nigeria, Zambia and so many more of the countries of Africa. We experienced real sisterhood in so many ways. We should remember that the ANC years of exile began as Africa was attaining independence from colonial rule.
New governments would be formed and institutions being established to free Africa from colonialism.
The threat of imperial neocolonialism remained ever present, as did a powerful South Africa that enjoyed the protection of the former colonial powers.
The true character of the African relationship with our liberation was amazingly pan-African. I met many of my present colleagues in Botswana, as a pupil, and then university student at the newly established University of Botswana and Swaziland. Our schoolteachers and our lecturers reflected the pan-African ideal. My first school principal was Mr C Motsepe, a South African, my geography teacher was from Zimbabwe, while my French teacher was from Ghana.
At university we were taught African literature, African studies and African history by professors Mandaza, Melamu, Balintulo, Prah, Parsons and others from different parts of Africa including South Africa. So I got to know of Africa in exile.
Africa gave us support, provided education, and took the blows from the apartheid regime on our behalf. We owe them friendship and brotherhood, not xenophobia.