By Tshawe lama Tshawe

Morocco and former South African president Nelson Mandela have a common history, sharing and unique heritage in the fight against apartheid and colonialism, according to Morocco ambassador to South Africa, Youssef Amrani.

Reflecting on the latest documentary – entitled “Mandela and Morocco, united against colonialism and apartheid”, the embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco in South Africa has launched, Amrani maintained that freedom has “never meant less than genuine solidarity, unwavering support and substantial assistance given by the Kingdom to Nelson Mandela during the most difficult times in the history of the African National Congress”.

“Words spoken by president Mandela in Morocco, during his successive visits, remind us of the uniqueness and the beauty of this era, which cannot and will never be erased,” said Amrani.

In the video, chronicling the struggle against apartheid and colonialism, Amrani asserted: “The new documentary on Mandela and Morocco, shows the common history in the struggle against colonialism and apartheid.

“It shows Rabat’s role in supporting Pretoria and other African countries to regain their freedom and independence – a testimony for us, Africans, of our strength, our determination and our impact, when we unite as one man, one nation, one continent,” added Imrani.

In his book Long Road to Freedom, Mandela has pointed out: “The capital of Morocco, Rabat, with its ancient and mysterious walls, its shops and its medieval mosques, was our next destination.

“It is a fascinating mix of Africa, Europe and the Middle East.”

“During our stay in Rabat, we met freedom activists from Mozambique, Angola, Algeria and Cape Verde,” wrote Mandela, adding: “Rabat has been the crossroads of all liberation movements in the continent.”

Serving to underscore the convergence of two courses of history – spreading a message of unity and solidarity, the latest documentary is yet another reminder of a role played by another African country in the SA liberation.

Shortly after its independence, Morocco resolutely supported other African liberation movements, which included neighbouring Algeria.

During the Algerian War of Independence, the Algerian fighters found safe havens in Morocco – receiving funding, training and military support, with the headquarters of the Algerian Liberation Army (ALA) located in Rabat.

ALA’s training camps and operation bases, were located near Oujda, closer to the border with Algeria – where Mandela is said to have received military training.

Moroccan bases also served as bases ANC activists in the Oujda region, the provision of logistical and military aid, as well as support for the diplomatic activities led by Mandela abroad.

After SA attained freedom, Mandela visited Morocco in November 1994.

During the visit, he met the late King Hassan II who awarded him the Kingdom’s highest accolade, in recognition of the exceptional struggle he waged for equality and justice.