Gauteng / 16 January 2018, 08:47am / Shannon Ebrahim
Johannesburg - Nelson Mandela’s grandson and member of Parliament Mandla Mandela called on Americans to protest against US President Donald Trump’s racism, and to shun leaders who marginalise and denigrate other racial groups.
“We are very disappointed, as the Mandela family, that someone of Trump’s stature - president of one of the oldest democracies - can make such racist utterances,” Mandela told Independent Media.
“The US was built on the blood, sweat and lives of Africans, and his racist statement last week is not only offensive to Africans, but to the descendants of slaves in America.
“We call on all Americans and other nationalities to adhere to Madiba’s internationalism and solidarity, and protest against Trump,” he said.
The wave of controversy continues regarding Trump’s remark last week to congressional lawmakers at the White House referring to Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as “s**tholes”.
The UN and the AU have described his remarks as racist, and US ambassadors and charges d’Affaires are continuing to be summoned by their host countries to express their outrage.
On Monday the Department of International Relations and Co-operation in Pretoria summoned the US charge d’affaires Jessye Lapenn to hand over a démarche.
While the démarche was due to take place in the evening due to Lapenn’s unavailability, the US embassy was at pains to emphasise the importance of strong relations between South Africa and the US based on mutual respect and understanding.
According to Cindy Harvey, the US Embassy spokesperson, “the US deeply respects the people of Africa and values its partnerships with them".
"There has been no change in the US’s dedication to our partners and friends across the continent Our partnership with Africa and our commitment to continued growth and success is unwavering, and our progress forward will not be diverted by anything contrary to those goals,” Harvey said.
While the US Embassy may be engaged in damage control, according to political analyst Dr David Monyae, “Trump’s remark paints him as someone who is a racist and does not regard Africa as an equal partner".
"The existing trend of the Trump administration is that it doesn’t take Africa seriously, especially considering it has delayed appointing ambassadors in Africa and has cut humanitarian and developmental financing.”
A year after Trump was sworn in as US president, his administration is yet to appoint an ambassador to South Africa.