THE MANDELA MYTH
By guest Contributor: August Pointneuf
Mandela is widely held to be “one of the greatest statesmen in the world”. This seems to be based on these six pillars:
- Martyrdom. A closer look at this “self sacrifice” is not convincing. Mandela was jailed following an open trial, under one of the best judicial systems. It has never been suggested that this trial was perverted or corrupt. He was found guilty of contravening the laws universal to the land, and more than that, he had promoted a policy of terrorism. He had plans to disrupt law and order and impose a terrorism which would result in the maiming and death of many good and law abiding persons, children and elderly. When subsequently imprisoned he was offered release provided only that he would renounce his support of violence. He would not. Accordingly he remained in prison. Later, by the most extraordinary inversion of innate justice he was awarded the Nobel Prize for peace. It may well be that the Nobel Prize committee will, in retrospect, attempt to distance themselves from it.
- He saved South Africa from a blood bath. When persons spoke, prior to independence, of an impending “blood bath” they were imaging the events as they had previously occurred in sub-Saharan Africa. These past “blood baths” were not as much exercises in retribution (the veiled threat to South Africans) but simply sprees of looting and rapine. There was probably no possibility whatever of South Africa as a whole rising in this way, because of a well formulated social infrastructure, with an effective police force (operating entirely within an open judicial system) and the other components of a stable society.
Such was the relationship between the communities under apartheid rule in South Africa that an intrinsic stability, and for that matter mutual respect, existed. There were, of course, the well recorded “insurrections”, but a critical look at the numbers will demonstrate that these were by a minute percentage of the population. “The Blood Bath will come…” was an emotively convenient threat, much along the line “if you don’t give me your ball, I will ask my daddy to beat you up”. This phrase and its implied emotive threats, was something conjured by those who were intent on destroying an existing system by inducing fear.
Far from demonstrating that Nelson Mandela was responsible for “preventing a blood bath”, the evidence points in the opposite direction. He founded and was the head of an organization which promoted bloody massacres of civilian populations. Not only that, he was leading the ANC which effected a bloody suppression on their own “recruits” in the ANC army-in-exile. The truth and Reconciliation Commission ruled that these ANC activities were a “gross violation of human rights”
A blood bath did occur, but after “independence” and after universal suffrage, when Mandela was in command. Part of this was black on black violence during the build up to the first election, reported to have claimed more than 20,000 black lives. Did Mandela stop that blood bath? Short answer; no.
The slaughter still continues with the selective execution of isolated (white) farmers by the thousand and the phenomenal homicide, mostly associated with robbery.
Under a “liberated” black government the “blood bath” happened more slowly than the other African atrocities. The difference was that “world opinion” did not want to believe that this was happening after an “independence” which they had promoted. Slowly accumulating statistics of killings do not make headlines.
The looting of South Africa did occur but in a different way from the rest of Africa. What distinguished the looting of South Africa from other historic rampages in Africa was that it was slower and politically engineered, under the leadership of Mandela. The initial looting was by “cold theft” engineered by the ANC by the subtle stripping of the assets under various legislated ploys such as “black empowerment” and “affirmative action”. This was followed by massive corruption, embezzlement and fraud perpetrated by individual members of the ANC, on their own account.
Later the avalanche of confrontational crime, murder, hijackings and wide spread theft cascaded throughout the country as criminals began to appreciate that under a black government there were now no longer the same restraints against lawlessness as there had been under white government.
- Mandela exemplified pacifism, as claimed in his well publicized comment: “Our resort to the armed struggle in 1960 with the formation of the military wing of the ANC , MK (Umkhonto we Sizwe) was a purely defensive action against the violence of apartheid. The factors which necessitated the armed struggle still exist today. We have no option but to continue. We express the hope that a climate conducive to a negotiated settlement would be created soon, so that there may no longer be the need for the armed struggle.”
Mandela founded the MK, and became its leader immediately after he had been acquitted from his first trial. This gives credibility to his initial arrest since. Mandela had been actively promoting terrorism. This earlier acquittal underscores the judicial objectivity of Mandela’s first trial, such that he was given the benefit of doubt and acquitted (although it subsequently became clear that he was intent on promoting violence).
The reason for what Mandela called “the initial passive resistance” was not that he did not want violence but simply because there were no funds to run a military campaign. Mandela was hardly the organiser it is claimed that he was. Further he had little support from the black population, despite the consistent emotive rhetoric about a “suppressed people”. At that date the “armed struggle” was an empty fantasy. It was later conceded by the ANC that this was no more than a propaganda strategy primarily geared towards mobilizing mass political support. Mandela was simply garnishing inability with virtue
- Mandela was dispassionately objective. This attribution later allowed him to act as an international mediator over a wide range of political and legal issues. How objective was he? A demonstration of his lack of impartiality was his speech in Havana on 26 July 1991. Nelson Mandela supported the Cuban version of the battle of Cuito Cuanavale by saying: “The defeat of the apartheid army (at Cuito Cuanavale) was an inspiration to the struggling people in South Africa! Without the defeat of (sic) Cuito Cuanavale our organizations would not have been unbanned! The defeat of the racist army at Cuito Cuanavale has made it possible for me to be here today! Cuito Cuanavale was a milestone in the history of the struggle for southern African liberation!"
Chester Crocker, with his backing of CIA knowledge, and with arguably a more arms-length objectivity, saw it quite differently. If one accepts Chester Crocker’s countering opinion, Mandela’s views can be regarded as grossly distortive “Black Consciousness Propaganda”.
- Nelson Mandela personified opposition to black oppression. Undoubtedly Mandela was symbolic to the large and unsuccessful peasant populations, implying that they, also, via their vicarious surrogate, Nelson Mandela, could triumph over the white civilization. This re-ignited the symbolism of Mahatma Gandhi, who also had a reputation for passifism. Ironically he was also a lawyer, who obtained, from the British Government, the benefit of training in law. But his “passifism” must also be doubted.
Far from “rescuing” the masses from impoverishment the income of most peasant South Africans has decreased since “independence”. Small numbers of selected elite blacks, on the other hand, have become exceptionally wealthy
- He exhibited supreme statesmanship as President of South Africa. Nothing could be further from the truth. Prior to the release of Nelson Mandela and the truce offered to the ANC, Mandela and the ANC were approached by South Africa’s very successful financial and industrial cohort. This was as an “economic truce within a political truce”. It must be remembered that the entire population of South Africa, in distinction from the rest of Africa and most of the rest of the world, were the beneficiaries of the extraordinary successful system evolved by Colonialism. In pre-independence meetings with ANC, notably in Lusaka, the high probabilities are that the cohort wanted to explain to the ANC that they would be inheriting a jewel. It would have been pointed out to them that damaging this financial axis would damage the entire country, probably in an irreparable fashion. Those affected by damaging the South African economy would be the most vulnerable, the poorest.
There could have been no other reasons for the Lusaka meeting other than that portrayed here. Paternal, as it might have been, for Mandela to heed this cautioning from the people then in power was vital to the future welfare of the entire population of South Africa and beyond.
The preservation of South Africa’s economy depended upon Mandela’s leadership.With huge international and internal support no politician could have had a stronger mandate than Nelson Mandela.
Despite such support, and despite august warnings, Mandela failed totally to protect the existing structures, and within a short period after “independence” it became clear to the financial and industrial core of South Africa that the ANC would proceed on its own agenda, which would destroy the industrial/financial infrastructure of South Africa.
This resulted in the financial axis, exemplified by Anglo American, Liberty Life and Old Mutual, rapidly exiting. While powerful companies in South Africa had sufficient resources to relocate into the First World many lesser businesses did not and remained trapped. Therefore individuals, seeing themselves threatened, emigrated en masse, thus further reducing the professional and other skilled resources of the country, and so by a cascade damaging the financial benefit which had made black South Africans the best cared for, best educated, healthiest and most affluent in (at least) sub-Saharan Africa.
Once in office Mandela took control of only one portfolio, Race Relations, which was unlikely to be controversial, and could hardly fail. However, in the circumstances, this instantly invested him with more virtue. He took some interest in the military where he tried to ensure the language of operation was not English. He was rapidly over-ruled, having displayed an astounding lack of common-sense, let alone a lack of statesmanship. For the rest he delegated to his ministers showing little interest in their management, and so effectively abdicating any leadership.
Therefore Mandela’ failed as a politician by not recognizing the extraordinary infrastructure which he, and the ANC, had inherited. He failed protect it and failed to support the existing structures in a way which could multiply South Africa’s past success. The jewel which was South Africa – in stark contrast to the rest of Africa - should have been obvious to the blindest. But Mandela permitted the progressive erosion of the South African infrastructure by nepotism and crime at an administrative level and by gain-seeking individuals - primarily those with political connections to him – and who were (nominally) under his “statesmanship”. Most of the “statesmanship” purported to originate from Mandela’s office was in reality orchestrated by the now defunct Thabo Mbeki. An illusion of his political capacity was thrust upon him by a surge of world wide emotion which obscured his limited intrinsic abilities,
Mandela abandoned his role as leader of the country after the least possible period, and while it still needed stable leadership. However he was in office long enough to accumulate a substantial wealth, which further distanced him from the increasing poverty of the population under his control.
No saintly asceticism here.
Conclusion. The greatest condemnation that must be leveled at Mandela was his failure to accept that with universal franchise all playing fields had been leveled. He failed to demand that the future success of individuals and groups would depend upon their intrinsic capabilities. Instead, he over-saw an astonishing exercise which effectively said that the groups coming into power should have their past inferiority recognized by being given advantageous benefits, in the form of black empowerment, affirmative action and similar. This shows the hollowness to his oft quoted statements
“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve”.
Further, those persons who had previously created the successful socio-financial axis were intentionally and unfairly discriminated against. This inflicted a substantial deprivation of human rights and an injury to those individuals who had historically created for their communities from the parched earth of what had been a derelict country when they arrived.
This paper aims to be factually correct. To ensure veracity Mandela and others are invited to respond correcting any inadvertent errors.
 In a separate essay it will be posed that the black population, if extremists are excluded, fully recognised that the basis of apartheid was no more than the natural, and expected, protection by the white population of their complex culture, and material social creation. The indigenous population recognised that apartheid was not a system of malice, and far from exploiting the indigenous culture, it offered the opportunity for the indigenous population to enter the realm of capitalist Christian Democracy.
2 Report (Truth and Reconciliation Commission (South Africa)) 2: 333. http://www.doj.gov.za/trc/
5 ^ Crocker, Chester A. (1992). High Noon in Southern Africa: Making Peace in a Rough Neighborhood. W.W. Norton. ISBN 0393034321. http://books.google.com/books?
6 Gandhi, also famed for pacifism actively encouraged the British to recruit Indians in Natal into the army, during the Zulu war. He argued that Indians should support the war efforts in order to legitimize their claims to full citizenship.
7 Anglo-American Corporation has moved almost all its gold interests out of South Africa.
8 Semi-official figures state that one quarter of the white population has emigrated. The true figure will be considerably higher.
9 The number of “Mandela Trusts is obscure, but there are at least three. Best known is the Mandela Children’s Fund. Totally separate and less known is the Nelson Mandela Trust holding funds available to Mandela personally. One of the scams relating to “Nelson Mandela Signed Artwork” was expected to make for the Nelson Mandela Trust (i.e. Mandela personally) 200,000,000 rand in two years. Clearly there are immense funds in Mandela’s purse.