Mandela the darling of whites


WHEN Nelson Mandela died on December 5 2013, screaming headlines from across the world celebrated his life but somehow, the picture presented was not composite.
In the UK, the Queen led by sending ‘sincere condolences’ to the Mandela family and to the people of South Africa.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported that the monarch was ‘deeply saddened’ by Mandela’s death.
A statement from Buckingham Palace said: “Her Majesty remembers with great warmth her meetings with Mr Mandela.”
And, flags flew at half-mast in the UK.
France, Canada, Norway, New Zealand and Bermuda also lowered their flags to half-mast.
Even the rarely-lowered US flag flew at half-mast for Nelson Mandela.
Barack Obama, the then US President, issued a statement when Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the UK died in early 2013 but he did not order the lowering of the American flag.
In fact, the last foreign dignitary to be memorialised with a flag at half-mast in the US was Pope John Paul II in 2005.
The flying of flags at half-mast for (dead) foreign dignitaries is not common phenomena in most countries.
What Mandela received was a rare honour from the West and he could be one of the few, if not the only blackman to be given such an honour.
Writing in a book of condolences at South Africa House, the then British Prime Minister David Cameron said of Mandela: “Your cause of fighting for freedom and against discrimination, your struggle for justice, your triumph against adversity – these things will inspire generations to come.
“And through all of this, your generosity, compassion and profound sense of forgiveness have given us all lessons to learn and live by.”
Even members of the public queued to sign the book as flowers, candles and other tributes piled outside the South African High Commission.
One tribute on a card read: “May God shine light on your homecoming in heaven.
“Rest in Peace Mr Mandela.”
Another read: “Thank you for the sacrifices you made for all of us.”
However, Mandela sacrificed the total emancipation of the black South African majority for international recognition.
He sacrificed his views before Robben Island whose ultimate goal of the liberation struggle was political freedom and economic justice.
But he came back with reconciliation, forgiveness and peaceful co-existence after 27 years of brutal incarceration.
An article titled ‘How Mandela sold out blacks’ states how Mandela was a stubborn believer of freedom and was prepared to do anything to achieve it.
It states how, together with his contemporaries like Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu and Govan Mbeki, among others, built the African National Congress (ANC) into a strong force, capable of mounting a sustained resistance against apartheid.
“Even after being found guilty of treason, he refused to appeal his sentence. When black people read this they see a man whose dedication to justice was not going to be stopped by death or a lengthy stay in prison,” the article states.
However, the white community thinks differently of Mandela.
“They marvel at a man who came out of prison and assured his former oppressors of peaceful co-existence.
They look at how he served only one term in office and get mesmerised in a context where liberation heroes become dictators who turn their countries into personal property.
They track back how he reconciled a nation divided along racial lines and conclude he surely must be a god.”
With disgust, the writer notes that it is for that reason that blacks are reminded all the time about how Mandela believed in reconciliation.
Yet there is nothing on how he failed to deliver the much needed economic emancipation.
He describes it as forcing a ‘white Mandela’ down the throats of poor black South Africans who are yet to materially enjoy the fruits of freedom.
Mandela sacrificed the land meant for the landless, underfed, houseless and under-employed blacks who are still badly represented in senior managerial positions.
Vestiges of apartheid and colonial economic patterns, ownership and control remain intact despite the attainment of political freedom in South Africa.
President Robert Mugabe is on record as saying political emancipation without economic empowerment is incomplete.
This is why Zimbabwe has embarked on land redistribution and indigenisation of
mines and formerly-owned white companies which are expected to cede 51 percent to locals.
Mandela is blamed for failing to deliver that democracy he had promised and is responsible for South Africa’s misdirection.
His dream of political victory was a nightmare for the black majority in South Africa.
His policy of reconciliation meant that the black people forgave the whites for the years of dispossession, humiliation and suffering.
Emphasis was placed on ‘forgiving and forgetting’ the past.
It meant forgetting the Bantu Education Act, the pass laws, the banning of political parties, detention without trial, the death penalty just for ‘furthering the aims’ of communism, the banning of free speech, restrictions on trade unions and many others.
Black Africans had basically lost nearly all their human rights over that period.
Sadly and perhaps, this meant also forgetting Hector Pieterson and other students who perished while some were injured during the 1976 demonstrations (Soweto uprising).
The Bantu Educational system was designed to ‘train and fit’ Africans for their role in the newly (1948) evolving apartheid society.
Education was viewed as a part of the overall apartheid system including ‘homelands’, urban restrictions, pass laws and job reservations.
This role was one of labourer, worker and servant only.
As H.F Verwoerd, the architect of the Bantu Education Act (1953), conceived it:
“There is no place for (the African) in the European community above the level of certain forms of labour.
“It is of no avail for him to receive a training which has as its aim, absorption in the European community.”
Despite all this, Mandela emphasised on and formed a ‘Rainbow Nation’.
Mandela perpetuated the notion that whites are superior to the blackman and to this day, according to the South African Human Rights Commission, reports of racism are still rampant at universities, schools, parking lots, restaurants, office blocks and on social media sites such as facebook and twitter.
In August this year, six whitemen attacked and assaulted a black couple outside the KFC in Montana, Pretoria North.
Two years ago, Afrikaner singer Sunette Bridges wrote on facebook that ‘the only way to get a black construction worker to build straight was to use a whip’.
Another racist incident involved white students at a boarding school in the town of Jan Kempdorp stripping a black student, tying him to a bed, lathering him with shampoo and raping him, according to South African news reports.
Police confirmed the attack, which took place weeks after the ringleader harassed the black student for having been in a relationship with a white girl.
Black activists say other examples of racism are more subtle, and thus insidious, such as a reluctance to allow blacks into elite restaurants or the strange looks they get in shopping malls or while walking in ‘wealthy’ neighbourhoods.
An open letter to Mandela by an angry South African youth says the former South African leader did nothing for the black majority.
“You sold us as black nation for a ‘Nobel Peace Prize’ and that is the reason for the service delivery demonstration and the lack of service delivery.
Our Constitution hailed as the best in the world favours the Caucasians while it oppresses the Africans.
Thanks for nothing Mandela.
You understood the Kempton Park negotiations as a sell-out solution to rescue white capital and for the few in power, and that such a democracy would continue the suffering of the black majority.
I have a problem with people giving ‘Messianic status to Madiba’ like a black Jesus when we all know that you have failed the black nation.
What you have done is simply continued where the apartheid government left us off and dug the holes of poverty and oppression deeper.
When you meet the likes of Dr Hendrink Verwoerd and P.W. Botha may you have good time with them and laugh at how blacks continue to suffer.
I have nothing but hatred for what you have done to us.
Signing out from the deep dark hell hole of continued oppression you put us in,” reads part of the letter.
During his lifetime, Mandela received more than 250 awards including a Nobel Peace Prize he was awarded together with South Africa’s last apartheid President, F.W. de Klerk – “For their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa.”
According to the official Nobel Prize website, Madiba is the fifth most popular Nobel Peace Prize winner following Martin Luther King and Mother Theresa, and fifth most popular across all categories.
He is an honorary citizen of dozens of cities, from Rome to Rio de Janeiro.
Parks, streets and schools around the world hold his name in honour.
There is a Nelson Mandela Road in New Delhi, Nelson Mandela Park in Leicester, England and a Nelson and Winnie Mandela Plaza in New York.
And he received countless honourary degrees from universities globally, including Cambridge, London School of Economics (LSE), Paris’ Sorbonne and Harvard, among others.
Mandela also won the Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award (2006) which is awarded annually to individuals who show exceptional leadership in the fight to ‘protect and promote human rights’ and human conscience.
And, he was the first recipient of this prize awarded by the European Parliament for individuals or organisations for their efforts on behalf of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Strangely, he won America’s ‘Presidential Medal of Freedom (2002)’ which is the highest civilian award in the US awarded to individuals who have made meritorious contribution to the ‘security or national interests of the US’ world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavours.
The majority of honorees are American citizens.
Mandela was presented with the prize by George W. Bush in Washington.
And, to this day, a statue of Mandela unveiled in 2007 stands tall in UK’s Parliament Square where Mandela, a blackman, shares space with the likes of Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln, the Commons, the Lords and Westminster Abbey.
The then British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, said Mandela was one of the most loved men of all time.
“Nelson Mandela is one of the most courageous and best-loved men of all time. You will be here with us always,” he was quoted saying.
Whites could not hide their love for Mandela and some of the headlines in Britain when news of his death came through were ‘Death of a colossus’ by the Daily Mail and a message that described Mandela as a ‘giant who taught the world the meaning of forgiveness’.
The Scotsman led with the headline ‘A light goes out as Mandela dies at 95’
It echoed the sentiments of Cameron announcing: “A light goes out as Mandela dies at 95.”
Despite all these lavish messages, accolades, honour and respect by the white community, Aviwe Chimurenga Tyumre Poqo, managing director at ANKH Foundation in South Africa believes that celebrating Mandela is embracing and glorifying slavery.
“To celebrate Mandela is to embrace and glorify slavery, black subjugation, white fantasy and illusion.
In his ascension to the presidency in 1994 engineered by European colonial settlers like Anton Rupert and Nicky Oppenheimer, the game was a well-calculated neo-colonial arrangement to preserve and disguise white power with black face, thus perpetuating settler-colonialism in a subtle way to maintain white supremacist power machinery.
The man was and is still, a project of global white supremacist machinery.”


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