Nelson Mandela remembered at ITF Congress

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There are many inspiring ongoing Fringe Events at the 43rd ITF Congress being held in Sofia Bulgaria. One of such events was a Nelson Mandela soldiarity night which was organised by SATAWU of South Africa. That Nelson Mandela is an icon and a legend of democratic struggles in the world has never being in doubt but I was very surprised about the depth of global solidarity of Trade Unions for the struggles against apartheid. Some of the participants shared pesonal testimonies of their involvement in solidarity actions to weaken the apartheid regime. As they narrated their stories one could see the pride and honour for their actions written on their faces. The testimonies at the event on the role of Seafarers and the Dockers in sabotaging the transfer of arms and supplies to the apartheid regime was remarkable.

The world may have everything today including the technology of visiting the moon and mars but we are hungry for the selfless and visionary leadership style of Comrade Nelson Mandela. Comrade Bayla Sow , the ITF Representative for ECOWAS and Francophone countries in Africa, made an emotional speech on the lessons that need to be learnt from the leadership style of Comrade Nelson Mandela. He described Comrade Mandela as a humble leader who put the interest of his nation and the protection of the rights of the vulnerable above any self interest. The event was a reminder that leadership was more about service than self interest. Self interest is becoming a bane in the trade union movement. Exploiters of labour and their representatives are taking advantage of this cleavage to weaken the working class movement through the creation of Yellow unions . The Nelson Mandela event was a spiritual renewal for most of us. Congratulations to our comrades of SATAWU for organising this great event .

From Daniel Owusu-Koranteng of MDU, Ghana reporting from the National Palace of Culture


12 August 2014