Reevaluating Nelson Madiba Mandela

7 months ago Chad 2

The Legacy: Re-evaluating Nelson Mandela

Listen, the Invisible Aliens love Nelson Mandela as much as the next man or woman. All those years (27 to be precise) in a damp jail cell and all that Robin Island prison food would have made me bitter. So bitter indeed that every single Afrikaans tongue wagging apartheid peddler would have to run very far indeed. But the Madiba turkey was made of better stuffing than my iron core, and like Gandhi and Martin Luther King, white people love him. They really do. He is the rare black man that wouldn’t be shadowed (no, make that stalked) by an over eager security guard in Harrods.

So they love the great man and whenever a black man gets unequivocal all-out white love, my eyes turn green (without lenses) with envy and my stomach gets that funny feeling you get when the private investigator you hired last week confirms ‘yes, she is cheating with the plumber.’ More importantly though, it makes me wonder, why: what is so special about your black, burned out skin that gets even prejudiced white people to show you love whilst the rest of us get shitted on? What’s so special about Nelson Mandela? (Yes I have the temerity to ask, shoot me!)

But then it hits me. Of course they love Madiba. Why wouldn’t they? After the most pernicious racist murderous regime since Hitler, he forgave. In no way has any white regime ever done anything like that. War would have been the resolution. Some say that makes him a greater man. The invisible aliens say not necessarily so.

Apartheid, Actually. 

solidaritySouth African Apartheid was a system of institutionalized racial discrimination between 1948 and 1991. Under apartheid, nonwhite South Africans (a large majority of the population) were forced to live in separate areas from whites and use separate public facilities, and contact between the two groups would be limited.

In 1948, the Afrikaner National Party won the general election under the slogan “apartheid” (literally “separateness”). Their goal was not only to separate South Africa’s white minority from its non-white majority, but also to separate non-whites from each other, and to divide black South Africans along tribal lines in order to decrease their political power.

By 1950, the government banned marriages between whites and people of other races, and prohibited sexual relations between black and white South Africans. The Population Registration Act of 1950 provided the basic framework for apartheid by classifying all South Africans by race, including Bantu (black Africans), Colored (mixed race) and white. A fourth category, Asian (meaning Indian and Pakistani) was later added. In some cases, the legislation split families; parents could be classified as white, while their children were classified as colored.

A series of Land Acts set aside more than 80 percent of the country’s land for the white minority, and “pass laws” required non-whites to carry documents authorizing their presence in restricted areas (Mandela, a young lawyer was arrested for not having one of these passes).

In order to limit contact between the races, the government established separate public facilities for whites and non-whites, limited the activity of nonwhite labor unions and denied non-white participation in national government.

Dr. Hendrik Verwoerd, who became prime minister in 1958, would refine apartheid policy further into a system he referred to as “separate development.” The Promotion of Bantu Self-Government Act of 1959 created 10 Bantu homelands known as Bantustans. land for whites

Separating black South Africans from each other enabled the government to claim there was no black majority, and reduced the possibility that blacks would unify into one nationalist organization. Every black South African was designated as a citizen as one of the Bantustans, a system that supposedly gave them full political rights, but effectively removed them from the nation’s political body.

In one of the most devastating aspects of apartheid, the government forcibly removed black South Africans from rural areas designated as “white” to the homelands, and sold their land at low prices to white farmers. From 1961 to 1994, more than 3.5 million people were forcibly removed from their homes and deposited in the Bantustans, where they were plunged into poverty and hopelessness.

A Great Man, Not A Great Premier

looking back1991 arrived and apartheid, crumbling from outside pressures and internal contradictions, released Nelson Mandela from his lengthy break from society. His legacy fighting apartheid and strength in the face of injustice propelled him to the top of the African National Congress (ANC). He would become the first president of a reunited nation.

He had a lot on his plate: economic restructuring, the bleeding minds and bodies of the non-white majority; access to schools, hospitals, police forces, etc. Was there to be reconciliation or retribution? Could a middle ground be struck?

Let’s grade what he tried to do:        

  1. Equality in, say, work, housing, health and education. (F)
  2. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission. (F)
  3. Put the white minority at ease with the future. (A)
  4. Made the non-white majority hopeful. (A)

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who chaired it, described the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as ‘an incubation chamber for national healing, reconciliation and forgiveness.’ Apparently, it was really great to see people acknowledge they were wrong.

Created with the aim of healing the nation’s wounds, punishing crimes and bringing people together, this commission was largely a talking shop and whilst it was good to hear a murderer say he/she is sorry, that only satiates at the end of a trial, just after the judge has handed down the appropriate sentence.

Though hailed as the gold standard of how to deal with the aftermath of a civil conflict by The Guardian in London, unfortunately for non-white South Africans, hundreds of political crimes including murder, rape, kidnapping and torture were given amnesty and those who were falsely given hope blame the post-apartheid government (and by extension, Nelson Mandela) for the lack of justice. In fact, even though more than 300 cases were recommended for prosecution after amnesty was denied, many of those remain unpunished.

Of course, the ugly mug of Robert Mugabe is always peeping out when we discuss these matters. He expelled the racist whites from ‘their’ land as he sought to reassert black control in Zimbabwe. His country’s economy plummeted and is now only mentioned as a cautionary tale for liberation fighters.

The Iranians are Coming

But let’s briefly examine this with some satire. France, or let’s say Britain post Brexit is having a hard time of it. Donald Trump disbands the merry men of NATO and the Labour Party gets its way and sinks the nuclear arsenal in the North Sea. There is no need for the army because the new shiny non-violent England is all about fish, chips and the St. George’s No Immigration billboard posted at Dover in bold Arial lettering. It’s 2030 and the newly nuclear-armed Iran spots an opportunity.

The EU has no interest in Britain and don’t even answer their emails anymore. America was mistakenly blown off the map one January night when Trump, playing with the nuclear codes, pressed the red button (didn’t he know, whatever you do don’t ever, ever press the red button! What a clown!). The Ayatollah invades the little insular British island and quickly takes charge (at which point the Scottish National Party declares independence). Apartheid, Iranian style ensues. Murders are frequent, forced Arabic on everyone (every time anyone is caught speaking English, they lose a finger. Then the toes. After that, expect death) and the hijab becomes a fashion sensation. White people are forced to live in London with all the smog and pollution whilst blacks and Asians get the rest of the country: all those beautiful country manors and clean air is ours. Forever.

Forever, that is, until 27 years later, the Ayatollah gets greedy and decides he wants sardines (sorry, Sardinia). The Italians summon the EU and after a quick invasion (the Italians forever more calls the raid ‘our Falklands’), the Iranians are rounded up to the High Court in Westminster. Quiz: (I love a quiz) which of the following happens:

  1. The British leaders say to the Italians, ‘it’s ok mate. Thank you but we don’t want to expel these lovely Iranians. Let’s have a truth and reconciliation commission where the Iranians won’t be punished but it will be cathartic when they tell us how they murdered us and forced us to eat kashk bademjoom and plum stew every day for the last 27 years.

OR

  1. The British shakes the firm hands of the lead Italian commander and asks, ‘how soon do we bury these buggers?

I wager my bicycle that the British has no Nelson Mandela amongst them which makes A an absolute no-go. This isn’t because they lack conscience. Rather, it’s because the British leader would assert that good ‘ol realpolitik and do what he/she thinks is in the best interest of the British people (which the invisible aliens have heard every day since Brexit) and in no way would they give in to the terrorists (who the apartheid perpetrators and silent beneficiaries were).

A black man turns the other cheek (Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Gandhi) and he’s a hero. A white man turns the other cheek or pursues pacifist policies in the face of aggression (Neville Chamberlain, Jimmy Carter) and he’s an appeaser, an idiot, consigned to history’s dustbin as a loser. Weird how that happens, right?

Alternatively non-white peoples who advocate a platform of aggression in the face of racial oppression (Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Peter Tosh) are wiped out of history whilst those who preach accommodation and brownnosing (Bob Marley, Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King) are heroes in white society. This doesn’t mean that I think Bob Marley, for example, has taken the wrong approach. I love Bob Marley.

Political Freedom with Empty Bellies

The point is this: Nelson Mandela probably saved South Africa from descending into the abyss like Once upon a time there was humanityZimbabwe (which shows by the way that When The Empire Strikes Back and work together so seamlessly in international cooperation to choke a nation, why can’t they come together and solve world hunger or make world peace. Just saying). AND THAT’S GREAT.

But even a cursory glance will reveal the overwhelming beneficiary of that have been the white community, who previously ran things anyway. And no, the affirmative action policies they hate so much haven’t changed much. They still sit in the seats of economic power: all those mines, iron oar, diamond, gold, manganese, chromium, copper, silver, uranium, beryllium and titanium. Unemployment is at 37%, and dreadful levels of violent crime terrorize the whole population (51 people are killed every day), particularly the poor.

The education of black children is among the worst on earth. The civil service, central and local, is bloated, incompetent and corrupt. State hospitals, state electricity supply and the state airline are failing. Mandela was indeed a great man, whose generosity of spirit brought peace to an anxious nation, but he was not a great president. He took little interest in the economy and deferred practical matters to others, including ideologues and crooks. His legacy in the world is richly deserved but on reevaluation, when most black South Africans lick the insides of their mouths, their tongues reveal that oh so bitter taste.