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The Hill: Danny Glover Marks 25th Anniversary of Apartheid Protests

December 15, 2009
In The News

By Christina Wilkie

Actor and activist Danny Glover is heaping praise on Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Oakland Mayor and former House member Ron Dellums (D) for helping pressure South Africa in the 1980s to end apartheid.

Dellums used to serve in the House in the 1980s, when Waters served in the California Legislature.

"It was really Maxine Waters in the California Legislature at the time, and Ron Dellums in Congress, who called for the major divestitures from South Africa [in protest over apartheid]," Glover said in an interview with ITK. "The U.S. played an important role in the worldwide rejection of apartheid."

On Tuesday, Glover will visit the Embassy of South Africa to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the 1984 protests against apartheid outside the embassy, during which numerous members of Congress were voluntarily arrested, including Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and then-Reps. Dellums, Charles Hayes (D-Ill.), George Crockett (D-Mich.) and Don Edwards (D-Calif.).

"There were so many pieces that went into the eventual end of apartheid," said Glover, citing examples dating back to the turn of the 20th century.

The chairman of the board of the TransAfrica Forum, Glover last visited South Africa in 2007, "and while there's a great sense of pride, there's also a lot of work left to do, and the people know that."

"The struggle for justice doesn't end with democracy."

Glover has yet to see the movie "Invictus," about the South African national rugby team, but he is planning to.

The actor, who plays the president of the United States in the recently released hit film "2012," explained why he thinks African countries should be included in the debates over climate change and globalization. "These countries need assistance, but they also need to own the outcomes and the ways they achieve them."

Glover was a student at San Francisco University during the late 1960s, taking part in student demonstrations for civil rights and against the Vietnam War. "I remember learning about the anti-colonial movements in Africa and being amazed," he said, "because up until that point I believed what I saw about Africa in ‘Tarzan' movies."

Glover will reunite Tuesday with his "very good friend," musician and lifelong civil rights activist Harry Belafonte, whom he first met 30 years ago working in theater.