Nelson Mandela turns 90 today, and to mark the occasion, WHYS is broadcasting live from Robben Island, where he was imprisoned for 27 years. We’re the first foreign media to ever broadcast live from there. It’s a big coup for us, (and especially Fiona who did the deal !) and a great opportunity for you to talk with his fellow prisoners, former jailers and friends as well as the South African leaders, and young people who’ll be joining Ros live at the former prison.
While the man himself spends a quiet day near his birthdplace at Qunu, along with our colleagues at the SABC, the South African national broadcaster, we’ll be reflecting on Mandela’s life and achievements Section B, the part of the Robben Island jail where anti-apartheid prisoners were held.
The people who spent some of those long years with Mandela will tell us about their experiences and their thoughts, and they’ve already told us they’re very excited about the chance to talk to the rest of the world. So send us your questions for the people who were imprisoned on Robben Island, and Nelson Mandela’s friends. Do you want to know how they got through every day? What were the worst times? How they reflect now on those long years? No question to big or too small.
While Nelson Mandela’s birthday is a time for celebration, for a lot of people, it’s also a time for reflection. Is he put on a pedestal? This South African land rights activist thinks he is. Does your country have a statesmen celebrated on the scale he is, and is it always a good thing? Or is he the last global hero?
Does South Africa lean too much on the strength of Mandela, and blame its turbulent history too often for the problems of today? Do you think it’s time to move on? And what about where the country is heading? Are young South Africans let the stalwarts of apartheid down with the current problems of xenophobia and recent levels of violence and crime?
It’s also a good opportunity to reflect on the struggle against apartheid. Do you think the ANC was right to take up arms in their fight? Would the country still be a white-ruled enclave if they hadn’t, or was it a dangerous precedent to set? Are we right to celebrate a man who did once advocate violence and terrorist acts?