Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley said she is hurt that former South African president Nelson Mandela is labelled a sellout by some people.
20th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture
Mottley said this while giving the 20th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture at the Durban International Convention Centre in KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday.
“It hurt me to hear that there are some who believe that Madiba did not do enough, and perhaps worse, for a few that he might have been a sellout – all because what they believe, justifiably so, should be theirs today, is not yet theirs,” said Mottley.
“If there’s any one single truth, it is that each of us runs our leg of the relay, the baton is all that they can be required of us to carry.”
Watch: Prime Minister Mia Mottley delivers the 20th Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture
Mottley said part of the reason some South Africans are disappointed by Mandela is because of the poor economic growth in the country.
“Those who expect more of Madiba, expect more because their own personal financial and economic circumstances have not moved with a pace that they may otherwise have accepted it or expected it. And it is for that reason that I believe that if ever there was a moment in time for the Global South to rally behind a cause, it is now.”
Flawed financial system
Mottley said the current global financial system is preventing poorer countries from being masters of their own destinies and instead keeps them dependent on handouts from richer nations.
“It is that injustice and discriminatory system at the core of the financial system, in my view, that continues to limit the promise of political independence and decolonisation that was promised to us,” she said.
Mottley said the youth of today needs to stand up and fight climate change. She said the youth needed to act as young South Africans did during the Soweto Uprising. In 1976, black South African children started protesting against being taught in Afrikaans.
Addressing the world’s climate crisis, Mottley also laid the blame on Westernised countries.
She said industrialised countries, and large companies from those countries, are most responsible for the global warming and pollution crisis that the world is experiencing.
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She called for those countries to contribute towards a just transition in poorer countries.
“It is up to us to make the bold demands, just as Madiba did,” she said.
Mottley said if the climate crisis is to be solved, countries needed to walk away from coal and oil.
However, she addressed the impracticality of expectations that a just transition shouldn’t accommodate fossil fuels being part of the energy mix.
“The reality is we can’t be expected to turn off the lights on our people tomorrow, purely on the basis that we are doing the right thing. People must live and people must eat,” she said.