Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter calls on royal family to pay reparations for colonialism

Activist said that she wanted ‘acknowledgement’ of the royal family’s role in colonialism before reparations

Isobel Lewis
Tuesday 05 December 2023 04:56 GMT
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Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter has called on Britain’s royal family to pay reparations for colonialism in Africa.

Ndileka Mandela, an author and climate activist, appeared on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg where she urged Britain to acknowledge its role in colonising parts of Africa, and referred to “climate apartheid” as a painful ripple of its colonial legacy.

“If there can be an acknowledgement of what was done to countries to colonise because we are still suffering a great deal from colonisation, in as far as our culture as Black people is concerned,” she said, speaking from the Cop28 climate conference in Dubai.

“So there has got to be first admission of the fact that yes, we acknowledge that we displaced you as a people. Then we can talk of reparations.”

Pressed on whether she would want to see reparations from the royal family, she replied: “Yes I would. That’s where healing begins.

Mandela said she wanted ‘acknowledgement’ of the royal family’s role in colonialism before reparations

“If you are arguing with the next person and you come to a tiff, when you sit around the table and admit your part, both parties admit their part in the disillusion of whatever it is that happened, it is then that healing begins. If that happens, the healing will definitely begin.”

Her remarks come two months after King Charles was praised for acknowledging the more “painful aspects” of Britain’s relationship with Kenya during a historic speech notable for its contrition over colonial injustices.

Charles said at the time: “...we must also acknowledge the most painful times of our long, complex relationship. The wrongdoings of the past are a cause of the greatest sorrow and the deepest regret. They were abhorrent, unjustifiable acts of violence committed against Kenyans, as they waged a painful struggle for independence and sovereignty. And, for that, there can be no excuse.”

Mandela was then asked about the treatment of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, in a week where discussion has returned to the alleged “royal racist” who is said to have raised concerns over the colour of Prince Archie’s skin.

The names of two members of the royal family – King Charles and the Princess of Wales – were given in the Dutch-language translation of Endgame, a new book about the royal family written by royal reporter Omid Scobie.

Scobie did not write the names in the English version of the book, and has denied adding them to the version released in the Netherlands.

Asked if she felt the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had been victims of racism in the UK, Mandela said: “I believe Harry and Meghan had to find their own voice, in a similar way Grandad had to find his own voice. They should be given, like any other person, room to voice out whatever their misgivings are.

“I cannot speak to whether Harry and Meghan’s children have been discriminated [against], because I don’t have first-hand information of that. However… he should be allowed to voice out whatever he wants to voice out and choose his own path.”

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