15/12/2013

Aberystwyth honours Mandela



The flags of South Africa and Wales have been flying at half-mast over Aberystwyth Town Hall this weekend to mark the passing of Nelson Mandela.

The flag was raised during a ceremony attended by, amongst others, Ceredigion Council Leader Ellen ap Gwynn and Alec Dauncey, the last secretary of the town's anti-apartheid group. 

Aberystwyth had an active anti-apartheid campaign throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s. In 1989 they organised two demonstrations in the town against sportsmen breaking the widely accepted boycott of South Africa. The first was against a 'rebel' Welsh rugby team training in the town and the second against a boycott-breaking cricketer.

The day Mandela was released, in February 1990, dozens of people gathered on the steps above and sang 'Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrica', the anthem of the African National Congress which uses the tune 'Aberystwyth' by Joseph Parry and which has, since 1997, become part of the new South African national anthem.

Meanwhile, to complete the Aberystwyth anti-apartheid links, at the other end of town, on the wall of the old Unitarian Chapel in New Street,  is the plaque below:


Although David Ivon Jones died only six years after Mandela was born, he was an important figure in the gestation of the African National Congress, Mandela's party which ultimately triumphed in South Africa's 1994 General Election.

1 comment:

  1. Moth FosterApril 30, 2014

    I am surprised and disappointed that no one before me thought to remind people a great Anti-apartheid campiagner who lived in Aberystwyth, Olwen Davis. If I remember it correctly, Olwen was invited to South Africa by Mandela to meet the man himself in recognition of the work she did. I have fond memories of Olwen and can say that I miss seeing her around the town. Moth Foster.

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