Thabo Mbeki, South Africa’s president between 1999 and 2008, has revealed in a speech that while he was head of state on a visit to Sweden, a man walked up to him to say, “Black man, go home”.
Mbeki, in a report by South Africa’s Mail & Guardian newspaper, was speaking in Pretoria at the 25th anniversary of think tank, The Institute for Global Dialogue.
He touched on the rise of far-right political parties in Europe and the threats they pose to global democracy.
According to the former president, while in Sweden in 2000, Denmark’s then Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, who was also in the country, asked that the two of them take a walk to the sea.
“As we are walking, I could see – through the corner of [my] eye – I could see somebody coming to join the group. I wasn’t paying much attention,” said Mbeki.
He continued, “A man came into the group, came right up to me, and says, ‘Black man, go home,’”.
Mbeki analyzed that although the incident happened to him a long time ago, he believes it was a sign of things coming.
He mourned the legitimization of Europe’s far-right “racist” parties by parties who polish up for democratic elections”.
“That tendency has grown, so now even countries like Sweden have got a big Swedish Democrats party – that’s what it calls itself – [which is] very right-wing, anti-migration, racist,” added Mbeki.
Mbeki, who ruled after celebrated anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela, also criticized South Africa for what he believes is the lack of a foreign policy.