This April marked the 50th anniversary of the death of slain civil rights stalwart Martin Luther King, a commemoration that remarkably went largely unnoticed in much of Africa. July marks the centennial of the birth of his fellow Nobel peace laureate, Nelson Mandela. The civil rights and anti-apartheid struggles were symbolically linked in 1994 in Washington DC, when Mandela echoed King’s 1963 March On Washington words: "Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we are free at last!" Both struggles were about racial injustice and social inequality. The US’s black ghettos mirrored SA’s black townships. King and his fellow Nobel peace laureate, Albert Luthuli, issued a joint declaration condemning apartheid in 1962, and during his Nobel prize speech two years later King honoured Luthuli. King also championed decolonisation in Africa, and he attended Ghana’s independence celebrations, in 1957. He was the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 at 35. King was a prophetic ...

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