NELSON MANDELA’S 1990 VISIT TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: RHETORIC(S) OF THE ANTI-APARTHEID MOVEMENT
Obike, Nma Winnie
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Nelson Mandela’s 1990 visit to the United States of America was a victory tour for Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement in America given the significant role that everyday Americans played to secure his release from prison. In this dissertation, I ask how Mandela’s 1990 visit underscored the historic, visual, and ideographic rhetoric of the anti-apartheid social movement in America. To find answers, I examine Mandela’s rhetoric as expressed in the black power salute, his address to Congress, and solidarity with regional anti-apartheid groups. The anti-apartheid movement in America mirrored the civil rights movement with its myriad protest strategies. Under the umbrella of the Free South Africa Movement (FSAM), boycotts, sanctions, and divestment strategies were implemented at the national and state level to end apartheid. FSAM members hosted Mandela’s 1990 visit during which he used the tools of rhetoric to reach directly to the American people to seek solidarity and support for continued sanctions against the South African apartheid regime. Mandela’s display of the visual gesture of the black power salute contributed to a cultural change in the denotative meaning of the gesture. Once the symbol of radical nationalist black politics, the black power salute became a symbol of black pan-African unity and solidarity.