During his first official visit to South Africa, Benny Wenda met with many supporters and dignitaries including Chief Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, MP, the grandson of international icon and leader Nelson Mandela.
Meeting with Chief Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela
Benny met with Mr Mandela at Mveso, the birthplace and family home of Nelson Mandela. Benny also met with several prominent South African monarchs such as HRH Zulu King Dlamini and HRH Thembu Queen Noluntu.
Benny was invited into the Mvezo traditional council building, of which Mr Nkosi Mandela is the chief.
Mr Mandela gave an inspirational and moving speech about how his grandfather’s legacy and spirit will continue to live on in the West Papuan struggle.
He said: “As the Mandela royal family and the Mvezo traditional council, you have our undying support. We will ensure that your voice doesn’t become isolated and forgotten. For my grandfather represented the majority as well as the minority in the global community, he was the voice of the voiceless society and we therefore today wanted to say that when we welcome you to this humble home of the Mandela’s; know that you have our full support.”
He went on to say: “We will continuously keep you in our prayers in your cause and wherever you need us to lean to your support, we will always be there.”
Benny said of how he visited Mvezo to get the spirit of the great leader Nelson Mandela for the freedom struggle of the West Papuan people. He said that Nelson Mandela was a true hero of this world and his spirit helped to liberate his nation from colonialism and apartheid of a very similar nature to what the West Papuan people are still suffering to this day. Benny was very moved by his emotional visit and left with strong confidence and hope that the spirit of the great leader Nelson Mandela is very much alive and with the Free West Papua struggle today.
Visiting the South African National Parliament
Following his visit to Mvezo, both Benny and Chief Nkosi Zwelivelile went to Cape Town where they met with many Free West Papua supporters including Mr Stone Sizani MP, the Chief Whip of the African National Congress (ANC). At his office in parliament, Mr Sizani told Benny that there was no need to convince him about the Free West Papua struggle because the people of South Africa went through the same suffering. He showed strong support for the campaign and talked of how the West Papuan struggle is now the South African struggle too.
The official launching of the Free West Papua Campaign in Cape Town
In Cape Town Benny also officially launched a new chapter of the Free West Papua Campaign with local South Africans. Other Free West Papua Campaign-South Africa chapters were also launched in Johannesburg, Durban, Port St. Johns, Mveso, Qunu and Grahamstown.
These new chapters will provide a platform for the voice of the West Papuan people to educate and mobilise the people of South Africa and across the world in supporting the West Papuan people’s struggle for self-determination and independence. It is very important for the West Papuan people that right around the globe, people are finding out and speaking out about the genocide and illegal occupation of West Papua. This is especially crucial as the situation in West Papua is only becoming increasingly more brutal with more evidence of human rights atrocities being committed against West Papuans all the time by the Indonesian military and police.
You can watch a video of the official launching of the Free West Papua Campaign in Cape Town here
Benny is very grateful for the incredible support received for the struggle from parliamentarians such as Chief Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela and all the people of South Africa. He is fully confident that the South African people who campaigned so strongly to free their nation from apartheid and colonialism will also help so strongly to liberate West Papua from the same oppression.