Nelson Mandela boycotts Bristol’s slavery commemoration

This 9 June 2020 video from England says about itself:

Plaque dedicated to slaves taken from their homes replaces Colston statue

A makeshift cardboard plaque has been erected in Bristol reading: “This plaque is dedicated to the slaves that were taken from their homes”.

This comes after Black Lives Matter protesters toppled a statue of 17th-century slave trader, Edward Colston, before throwing it in the city’s river.

From The Independent in Britain:

Mandela boycotts Bristol’s slavery commemoration

By Kim Sengupta

Published: 25 March 2007

Nelson Mandela has boycotted plans to commemorate the bicentennial of the Act abolishing the slave trade in Bristol after hearing of bitter divisions within the community and accusations of racism and intolerance.

Mr Mandela had been invited to Bristol, once one of the busiest slave ports in Britain, by the Lord Mayor, councillor Peter Abraham, for a service of remembrance due to take place today.

But South Africa’s former president declined the invitation after local black organisations contacted him to say his presence would be seen as condoning an overwhelmingly white city council which is accused of riding roughshod over the wishes of the city’s black population.

The Consortium of Black Groups, which sent the message, plans to hold demonstrations outside the service.

Spokeswoman Hilary Banks said: “We pointed out to Mr Mandela that Bristol is not quite the liberal, multi-racial place it pretends to be.

We said that if you do come to Bristol, we’d like your visit to change the position of the black people in the city. We did not tell him not to come; that was obviously his own decision.

“We are going to hold a protest at the service because the venue is wrong for something like this.

The church in Bristol had traditionally justified slavery and benefited from it.”

St Mary’s Radcliffe is one of the landmarks of the city.

Pointing at the spire, Ms Banks continued: “Slaves were kept in dungeons under the church and there were tunnels to the dockside. That is how the church used to treat slaves.”

Another famous landmark is Colston Hall, named after Edward Colston, a merchant who made his money out of slavery.

The Bristol band Massive Attack has always refused to play there.

Black groups say a fitting way for the city to acknowledge a part of its shameful history would be to change the name, which the council has refused to do.

See also here.

Call from Bristol: commemorate 200 years of end of the slave trade with amnesty for illegal immigrants.

15 thoughts on “Nelson Mandela boycotts Bristol’s slavery commemoration

  1. Kalabash South Africa

    Mandela Awareness through documentary films & music
    Thursday 15th November
    7pm – 2am
    @ The Salmon and Compass
    58 Penton Street, Angel
    London N1 9PZ
    Entry: Donations at the door


    7.00pm FILM 1: Mandela : Son of Africa, Father of a Nation

    Dir. Jo Menell & Angus Gibson (118mins) A Captivating view of the indomitable spirit of one of humanity’s most
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    9.10pm FILM 2: We never Give Up Dir: Cahal Mclaughlin (70mins)
    A rich tapestry of stories from eleven survivors who represent the harsh experience of thousands of ordinary South Africans who participated in or were excluded from the “The Truth and Reconciliation Commission”.
    The storytellers are members of the Khulumani Support Group, Western Cape, and are involved in a protracted battle to hold the South African government accountable to its promise to pay final reparations.

    10.15pm Q&A with Janet Jobson, a UK based representative of the Khulumani Support Group (and former board member of Amnesty International South Africa), representatives from ACTSA ( ) and South African music scene pioneer Trenton Birch.


    10.45pm Leeto Thale – Live performance

    Musician, spoken word artist, published poet, writer & healer with a self-professed yearning to connect with all that lives. Leeto blends traditional sounds with modern grooves, connecting his valued ancestral heritage with the urban need for contemporary musical compositions. Through his performance he balances body & spirit, music & words, mind & heart, depth & gentleness.
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    ** Kalabash Winter Party Dec 20th
    ** Kalabash Ethiopia January 17th
    ** Kalabash Uganda Feb 21st
    ** Kalabash Senegal March 20th

    Kalabash Movement is an organisation that seeks to promote awareness through film and music. Each event is designed to encourage recognition of the rich diversity between African Nations, to celebrate cultural heritage and explore socio-political situations. We aim to give a platform to Musicians and Independent film makers and encourage a wider audience to appreciate their works.

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