Eleven protesters staged a quiet anti-apartheid protest last night outside the Baltimore Grand, where South Africa's ambassador to the United States gave a speech.
"We're not opposed to him speaking," said Edith Jones-Rogers, chair of the Southern African Project of the American Friends Service Committee. "We want to let him know apartheid is still alive and killing Africans."
Ambassador Harry Heinz Schwarz, 67, came to encourage people to reinvest in apartheid, Jones-Rogers charged.
"No business in apartheid," she reminded people entering the Grand on West Fayette Street.
When Schwarz arrived, he shook the protesters' hands and said he agreed with Jones-Rogers that there could be no universal freedom in South Africa without one-man-one-vote rule.
Schwarz' appearance was sponsored by the Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs. About 400 people listened to his speech on how "Freedom is incomplete if exercised in poverty."
For years, Schwarz said, he has fought apartheid, a strict policy of racial segregation and political and economic discrimination against blacks, the overwhelming majority of South Africa's population.
He told the mostly white audience that long before demonstrators heard of apartheid, he fought against it.
Currently, the South African government is working toward creating a democracy, Schwarz said.
However, democracy includes more than voting. It includes providing people with housing and jobs, he said.
"Freedom is incomplete if exercised in poverty," Schwarz said, adding that democracy won't survive if it cannot meet the needs and expectations of the people.
U.S. sanctions have hurt South Africans, primarily blacks, in a country with a 42 percent unemployment rate and a 15 percent inflation rate, he said.
South Africa needs foreign investment to revive its economy, Schwarz said. He asked that U.S. sanctions be lifted.
Earlier yesterday, anti-apartheid supporters attended the Board of Estimates meeting in support of a bill that would prohibit the city from purchasing supplies from companies that are located in or do business with South Africa.
Council President Mary Pat Clarke introduced a bill more than two years ago to end the purchase of supplies made in South Africa or produced by companies doing business in that country.