Jewish Memories of Mandela UK Launch

Last Friday (11 May), chair of the Jewish Leadership Council’s Board of Trustees Mick Davis hosted the UK launch of the book “Jewish Memories of Mandela”. The launch took place in the presence of South African High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, H. E. Dr. Zola Skweyiya.

Jewish Memories of Mandela is a unique publication which chronicles the story of Nelson Mandela and the anti-apartheid struggle through the lives and recollections of Jewish South Africans who were a part of it. The book also records the remarkable extent to which Jewish South Africans participated in the anti-apartheid struggle, as well as in the post-apartheid era of nation building, reconstruction and reconciliation.

Highlighting the importance of the book Mr Davis commented:

In generations to come, when the many South African Jews who worked closely with Nelson Mandela and who vigorously worked against apartheid are no longer here to tell their stories, we will have this book to remind the world of the Jewish contribution to the struggle

Guests at the event included His Excellency Daniel Taub, Israel’s Ambassador to the Court of St James, National Director of the South African Board of Deputies Wendy Khan and a number of Jewish South Africans who had played a personal role or whose families were central in the struggle against Apartheid.

In his remarks High Commissioner Skweyiya thanked the leadership of the UK Jewish community for highlighting this important publication. He said:


While the Jews constituted a small minority of the population, they were greatly involved with Mandela’s struggles and the broader struggle for democracy in South Africa. The Jewish community and communal leaders, including the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and the Chief Rabbi went about leading the Jewish community in being an active part in the process of transformation into a multicultural democracy

Wendy Kahn, National Director of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies said:

London has a special place in the history of the struggle against Apartheid.  It seems fitting to launch this book together with the Jewish Leadership Council at this very memorable event. Jewish Memories of Mandela not only tells the special relationships between members of our community and Nelson Mandela but it also documents the disproportionate role that Jewish South Africans played in the struggle against Apartheid. It pays tribute to the many inspirational Jewish men and women who stood up against injustice

Many guests took the opportunity to buy a copy of the book, many of whom bought copies for children, reaffirming the history contained within its pages.

Speeches from the event can be found here. Photos from the event can be seen here.

Watch Mick Davis' opening speech below: