Thursday 14 December 2017

Kim Bielenberg: 'The president of all who love and fight for freedom'

From anti-apartheid rugby protests to the Dunnes Stores strike by conscientious workers, the bond between Mandela's movement and Ireland remianed strong, writes Kim Bielenberg

Nelson Mandela is presented with his Freedom of Dublin certificate by Sean Haughey in 1990.
Nelson Mandela is presented with his Freedom of Dublin certificate by Sean Haughey in 1990.

On JULY 1, 1990 Nelson Mandela was finally able to accept in person his title as Freeman of the City of Dublin, almost two years after the honour had been awarded in his absence.

When the award was originally announced Mandela was still in jail in Pollsmoor Prison in Capetown in the final years of the apartheid regime.

At that time, Mandela sent a message to the people of Dublin through his solicitor Ismail Ayob. The rare communication to the outside world said he regarded the Irish as "the original freedom fighters".

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