Mandela’s granddaughter likens Iran’s oppression of women to apartheid South Africa

Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela, the grand-daughter of Nelson Mandela, speaks during a service to mark the centenary of the birth of South Africa’s former President, at Westminster Abbey in central London on July 18, 2018. (AFP)
Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela, the grand-daughter of Nelson Mandela, speaks during a service to mark the centenary of the birth of South Africa’s former President, at Westminster Abbey in central London on July 18, 2018. (AFP)
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Updated 09 March 2021

Mandela’s granddaughter likens Iran’s oppression of women to apartheid South Africa

Mandela’s granddaughter likens Iran’s oppression of women to apartheid South Africa
  • Dlamini-Mandela: ‘Women of Iran in their fight for freedom, justice and gender equality — thank you’
  • She spoke at event, attended by Arab News, marking International Women’s Day

LONDON: Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter has compared the plight of women in Iran to that of black women living under apartheid in South Africa.

Speaking at an event on Monday hosted by the National Council of Resistance of Iran and attended by Arab News, Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela lauded the integral role that women have played for years in opposing the regime and its theocratic dictatorship.

“It’s indeed paradoxical to imagine that while the Iranian constitution adopted following the Islamic Revolution in 1979 proclaims equality for men and women under Article 20, the reality is since the revolution, Shariah laws have been used to oppress, subjugate, humiliate, abuse, undermine and strip the women of Iran of their dignity — just like apartheid did to the black women of South Africa,” she said.

Dlamini-Mandela, following in her grandfather’s footsteps, has become a campaigner for human rights both within South Africa and globally. The plight of Iranian women specifically “is close to my heart,” she said.

“More than 150 notable women feminists are languishing in prison (in Iran) simply because they’re demanding equal rights for the women in their struggle against apartheid,” she added.

“Their sacrifice has contributed to the fight against the regime, but earned them the same brutal treatment as the men received at the hands of the apartheid government, such as 90-day detentions, house arrests and exposure to emotional trauma.”

The Iranian regime “finds its toughest enemies amongst women,” she said. “I’ll speak on behalf of all the women who fought, struggled and suffered to rid South Africa of apartheid: Women of Iran in their fight for freedom, justice and gender equality — thank you.”