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icon of freedom and justice. Photo: Gurtong Trust
In July this year, on the occasion of hs birthday, journalist ABOEPRIJADI SANTOSO wrote this tribute to Mandela’s role in Timor-Leste independence.
WHEN he turned 95 years old, the late South African president Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela may have reflected on his struggle and his contribution with great satisfaction more than anyone else could. Popularly known as Madiba, he became an icon of freedom, reconciliation and hope the world over.
Much less known is his legacy to help liberate the people of Timor-Leste.
In 1955 Mandela lauded the historic Asia-Africa Conference held in Bandung. Two leading members of the African National Congress (ANC) - including his close ally Walter Sisulu - were there to represent their country.
Indonesia continued its support for the movement and provided the platform for the Asian struggle against apartheid, which Mandela respected.
Mandela, fond of batik shirts, loves Indonesia and visited four times: 1990, 1994, 1997 and 2002. The first time he came he visited the site of Bandung conference and said he was inspired by the Asia-Africa Conference and Sukarno's role.