A strange love for Mandela

ajukwaAmai Jukwa and Garikai Chengu
In this piece we make the case that Mandela was essentially used by white capital and that the fawning adoration expressed by white people is insincere and self-serving. What appears to be love for Mandela is actually self-love, a subconscious act of white self-preservation.

The white establishment considered Nelson Mandela a terrorist and imprisoned him for 27 years. Dick Cheney (the former US Vice President) voted against imposing sanctions on the South African apartheid government arguing that Mandela and the ANC were terrorists.

Asked in 2000 if he regretted his vote, Dick Cheney maintained that at the time Mandela was indeed a terrorist but had “mellowed” since his release from prison.

That last point (that Mandela had mellowed) is important and is a recurring theme when one examines white adoration for Mandela.
What did Dick Cheney mean when he said Mandela had mellowed? Nelson Mandela initially advocated the Freedom Charter as a means to end economic apartheid.

The Freedom Charter stated that, “the mineral wealth beneath the soil, the banks and the monopoly industry shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole . . .”

This was completely unacceptable to the white establishment. They wanted to keep the minerals and all else they had forcibly taken from black South Africans.

The moment Mandela agreed to renounce all claims to economic justice he immediately became a good boy in the eyes of white capital. This is what Dick Cheney meant when he said Mandela had mellowed.

Not only did Mandela allow the whites to get away with the wholesale theft of land and mineral resources but he also allowed them to get away with gross human rights abuses.

He agreed to offer an amnesty for all human rights abuses committed under apartheid. A group of white police officers that roasted a young black man while drinking beer and gloated that the “meat smelt good” were forgiven. The victim’s mother wanted them brought to trial but Mandela said no.

It is no wonder that the white world fell in love with him. He protected them from prosecution. The idea that reconciliation was in favour of black South Africans (the victims) is an assault on reason itself. The only people who benefited from the policy are the white criminals who were guilty of an assortment of human rights violations.

The clear duplicity

It is worth noting that while Europeans jump up and down applauding Mandela for reconciliation they have not adopted the supposedly noble policy in their own lands.

Earlier this year Hans Lipschis, a 93-year-old former Nazi guard, was arrested in southern Germany. Why don’t the Europeans do the very thing they are praising Mandela for and forgive this Nazi who is elderly and frail?

It is ridiculous that Mandela forgave white thugs for roasting a young black man but the same whites that are applauding him for that generosity are unwilling to forgive a frail Nazi guard. The duplicity is clear.

It is equally clear that the celebration of Mandela has nothing to do with the virtues of forgiveness and reconciliation. What white people are actually celebrating is the fact that Mandela let them get away with it. It is not that they believe in forgiveness and reconciliation as principles by which people must live.

If they did then we would never have witnessed the Nuremburg Trials and the continued hunt for elderly Nazi’s in the year 2013.
Mandela’s release from prison in 1990 was a turning point in South Africa’s economic history.

Mandela had previously espoused the Freedom Charter’s principles of black economic empowerment, which consequently led to the white establishment labelling him a terrorist.

However, after his release, Mandela “mellowed” and forsook the Freedom Charter and began to speak of economic reconciliation with white capital. He immediately became a darling of the West.

During his 1990 visit to the United States, Mandela said in New York: “The ANC will re-introduce the market to South Africa.”
With democratic elections in 1994, racial apartheid was ended but economic apartheid had a new face, a legitimising black face.

President Mandela perpetuated economic apartheid by choosing not to implement the Freedom charter, which he had previously vowed he would never depart from. Instead, Mandela chose a path of neo -liberalism that put the interests of white capital over black labour.

This meant that the Boers kept everything they had pillaged from blacks, the mines, the land, and control of the economy.

One U-turn after another


There is a popular but specious argument that Mandela did all this to avert civil war. This is nonsense. If the whites were sorry for the evil they had done to black South Africans and were ready to restitute by giving back (or at least sharing) this stolen property I am puzzled as to what would have led to a civil war.

The civil war argument actually suggests that the whites were unwilling to give anything back and only agreed to a settlement on the grounds that the blacks would maintain the economic status quo and not seek to prosecute perpetrators of human rights violations.

Most disappointingly, nationalisation of the mines was abandoned by Mandela’s administration. In fact, in 1991 mining mogul Harry Oppenheimer held meetings with apartheid government officials and the ANC.

Two years later these meetings between white mining capital and the ANC continued at the Development Bank of South Africa, and resulted in an agreement to leave most of South Africa’s US$14 trillion dollars in mineral reserves firmly in white hands.

Mandela also made a U-turn on plans for a modest white wealth tax that could have gone a long way to fulfilling his promise to eradicate poverty affecting the “poorest of the poor”.

White businesses and businesspeople that had benefited immensely from apartheid were spared from paying reparations, all in the name of reconciliation. This is complete rubbish.

Every battle has spoils. After defeating the Nazi’s, the allies demanded reparations from Germany and to this day the Nazi’s are being hunted. How is it that the whites tell blacks to be good little forgiving Mandela’s when they do the exact opposite to perpetrators in Europe?

Instead of nationalising companies, Mandela coaxed foreign investors into the country. His sudden ideological shift laid the groundwork for London-based steelmaker LNM Group to buy Africa’s biggest steelmaker and British bank Barclays to assume control of South Africa’s biggest bank.

Haunted by saintly concessions

Clearly, South Africa had merely travelled from apartheid to neo-liberalism. Sadly, Mandela was the bridge between the two. Under Mandela, blacks regained the crown but whites were left with the crown jewels.

Those blacks whose land was forcibly taken under apartheid did not get it back.  Whose hero then is Mandela? Is he a hero to the landless blacks or to the criminal Boers who stole land and were allowed to keep it? This is a simple question.

Mandela’s saintly concessions will haunt South Africa’s quest for economic equality for generations to come. Mandela went into prison a revolutionary calling for justice but he came out a broken man, a cuddly puppy in the hands of white capital.

Three cruel decades in a white man’s prison can break a man.

Decades of apartheid, and the era of neo-liberalism ushered in by President Mandela, have resulted in South Africa being the world’s most racially unequal society in the world.

A rich, mainly white minority owns the lion’s share of wealth and access to quality education and healthcare. Whites comprise just nine percent of the population and yet they control a staggering 80 percent of the wealth and 75 percent of the best arable land.

This is scandalous.  Among the 295 companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, blacks account for just four percent of CEOs, and two percent of CFOs.

Since Mandela took power in 1994, the number of South Africans living on less than a dollar a day has doubled, but so has the number of South African millionaires, most of whom are white.

Prior to pursuing neo-liberalism in 1990, Nelson Mandela was a true African revolutionary who called for political and economic emancipation.

Leaders that supported Mandela’s anti-apartheid movement were revolutionaries like Fidel Castro, Muamar Gaddafi, Robert Mugabe and Yasser Arafat.

Western leaders wanted nothing to do with him.  When the whites were calling Mandela a terrorist Mugabe and Gaddafi called him comrade and gave a home to the ANC.

When these same whites slaughtered Gaddafi, Mandela said nothing. Not only so, Mandela allowed himself to be co-opted by the Western media to speak about the supposed “failure” of leadership in Zimbabwe. Mandela is indeed a hero but tough questions must be asked as to whose hero he is.

Jailers to friends

In paying tribute to Mandela, it is a supreme irony that his praise singers, from the US administration to the British government, all sided with South Africa’s apartheid government.

South Africa’s apartheid regime is remembered as one of the worst crimes against humanity of the 20th century. America fully supported it.

“If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don’t care,” once remarked Nelson Mandela.

The US government placed Mandela on a terrorist watch list until 2008 – long after his term as South Africa’s President, and even longer after he received the Nobel Peace Prize.

The New York Times reported that when George Bush Sr was head of the CIA he tipped off South African intelligence agencies, allowing them to arrest Mandela. Twenty-eight years after Bush Sr helped imprison Mandela, he called him to say that all Americans “rejoiced at his release”.

In 1989, David Cameron led an anti-sanctions fact-finding mission to South Africa with a pro-apartheid lobby firm sponsored by apartheid President PW Botha. Such is the extent of white duplicity. Speaking on the death of Mandela the same man now claims that Mandela “inspired” him.

What bunkum!

The West is eager to paint Mandela as a saint. What they are actually saying is that to forgive white violations is saintly. This celebration of Mandela is meant to lull South Africans into a mindset in which they unquestioningly speak of a rainbow nation without asking difficult questions about equity and justice.

The ultimate objective of this excessive white idolisation of Mandela is to develop an atmosphere in which those that want land reform, to nationalise the mines or to redress apartheid injustices are ostracised as a vengeful lot that violates the noble spirit of Mandela.
Africans must be good forgiving boys like Mandela.

This is manipulative nonsense and the white establishment will soon learn that their attempt at mass manipulation has not worked.

This article was written by Amai Jukwa and Garikai Chengu, a scholar at Harvard University

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  • lesly

    Well said

  • Chief

    I’ve the opposite view. Mandela was in power for 5 years and his record must be compared to Zim in 1985 and Namibia in 1995. Can anyone honestly say that much had changed in these 3 countries after 5 years? Especially in relation to the structure of capital? Is it not a fact that Zimbabwe only made fundamental changes after 2000; 2 decades later?
    My point is that the negotiated settlements placed handicaps on the new governments in many sectors. As Zim we could not move on the land, though we could have done better in creating a black businesses class. We only had our first indigenous bank in 1992, besides those that were directly state owned that we had inherited.
    As for poverty in SA the truth is that Mandela introduced the largest social welfare system of any developing country that provides grants to the aged, disabled, low income earners, orphans. In total over 12 mil people are receiving these grants since around 1996. So its untrue that poverty has increased in SA, certainly not in relation to other countries in the region.
    Mandela is celebrated across the world for many different reasons, not just by whites but also by different victims of white capital such as black Americans.

    • HEZVO-KA

      You’re using your HEART rather than your HEAD!!…if you’re willing not to be sentimental then you would know that the reason Madiba is greatly revered by whites is simply that he did not rock the white boat!! Mandela left the whites with a firm control over the economy, land, media, judiciary, etc so he was thus a “good boy”.
      During the early 1980s when Bob had introduced a similar policy of reconciliation with whites he was similarly a darling of the west as evidenced by the awards, honorary degrees, British knighthood, and other kudos.
      The unflattering truth is that issues like land redistribution or economic transformation cannot be done over a cup of tea with smiles all round – these are tough decisions which have to be fought for! If Mandela had dared to address these issues, he would have been dismissed by the whites as “a failed African leader who started with so much promise”

  • chadende

    Who will liberate black south Africans, Mandela was broken into submission, MBEKI was haunted out, The showerman is a virtual robot of white capital, Ramaphosa is one of them & already has Marikana blood on his hands, Juju is just a small clueless boy? I really feel sorry for black south Africans.
    We in Zimbabwe are suffering as result of our leadership who have decided to take the bull by the horns but we are aware that it will pay off in the future just like the decision taken in the 1960s to take up arms against white settlerism.

  • mkanya

    Nhai Mai Jukwa, Mandela could have compromised a lot like you put in this article, but isn’t that the case with most cease fire deals. Look at Bob, did he not compromise a lot on the Lancashire settlement. Didn’t we have to make so many amendments and finally had to adopt a new constitution recently. Didn’t Mugabe reconcile with the same whites (the Smiths and General walls) and allowed them to dominate us economically till only recently. Ini ndinoti Mandela(just like Mugabe) did well in bringing political power to the blacks, its up to the next leaders(Mbeki, Zuma and the likes) to bring economic freedom to the masses! Mandela did not close the doors for further amendments!!

  • Wolves Witches and Giants

    You guys are very intelligent and well informed. I just wish you would focus all your energies onto what is happening in our country. We have hordes of street kids, potholes, poor governance in local authorities and incompetent officials yet you remain mum over those issues.

    We are Zimbabwean and no matter how great Mandela was he does not have an impact on our society, he is from another country. Please bombard us with strategies on how we can develop.

    I would really be happy if Mai Jukwa would wake up guns blazing attacking the City Council of Harare on their incompetence. Then the following Tuesday action being taken and Mai Jukwa talking about how the Matebeleland Water Project is urgent and who is stalling it. Mai Jukwa talking about urban schools rotting, schools like Ellis Robins, Allan Wilson, Highfield High come to mind come to mind, Mai Jukwa talking about how our leadership does not fire anybody even if they are incompetent.

    Mai Jukwa talking about how silly it is for govt to keep on giving farmers inputs 10 years after they got the farms,but no, you only divert attention to white people, white people, foreigners and people we do not interact with. How many white people does my mother encounter in Gokwe, zero. Her maize, fertilizer, dovi, chicken do not need white people to be there.

    Please focus on us and our problems and how we can best solve them instead of things which are of zero significance to us. Get rid of the see saw mentality whereby you need to put someone down so that you can be up.


      If you’re a regular reader of the column you would know that Mai Jukwa does NOT always focus on whites!…did you read the articles on the Passport Office, Murambatsvina II, etc?!

      • Wolves Witches and Giants

        Good for her and she must stay focused. I hope she does an Indepth on Chinese abusing our brotherss and sisters at the workplace instead of treating them like Demi gods in her articles. Thats much closer to home.

    • Shelley

      All of Africa and globally women of all stripes will be denied the full rights of equity and equality until they humble themselves by praising and honouring Winnie Mandela. Mother Mandela kept the ANC alive, continued to place Nelson Mandela’s plight first and foremost in the global forum. Winnie Mandela suffered unspeakable atrocities by the Apartied régime, yet few honour Mother Mandela’ s courageous battle against white oppression not just in South Africa but globally. Praise and adulation to Winnie Mandela, as she should have been the first black president of South Africa. Mother Mandela’s mandate as president of South Africa would be for the best interests of a native people who endured every human Right violation by an evil and ungodly apartied system that was governed by a people who were and still are free to commit atrocities as they see fit. Only full blown evil would roast a human and stand there watching. Unfortunately full blown evil is not recognized by any judicial system.

  • Sam Khumalo

    If in 1985, President Mugabe had handed over power to someone, what would be his legacy? Would we say he had done nothing for this country? How can we compare Mandela’s contribution in 5 years to someone’s 30 years. Comparisons should be made on Zimbabwe’s government achievements from 1980 to 1985.

    • MaraMechavio

      Mugabe has done more for us by ruling longer than Mandela.Tell me when Blacks in SA will get their land back.

  • Mauruka

    Mai Jukwa.. is it not duplicity on your part co-authoring an article attacking America with a Harvard scholar…muno medu mashaya mavarsity here.
    Are you also of an inferiority complex against our local universities…?

    • Abel

      washaya bhururu. what has migration and getting education elsewhere got to do with anything?

  • Bill

    Afa Anaka

  • Muzambiringa

    It dawned on me, that even though I was only a nipper at the time, the death of Cde Samora Machel cut me to the “quicker”! It is sad.

  • Ralph – London

    I tend to agree with your argument to an extent, but I think it is unfair to assume that ALL “whites” are of this mindset.

    It’s all about money and power. Race doesn’t even come into it. People like Cheney only care about who can be influenced to ensure they keep the lion’s share of money and power….

  • Nicholas Utaunashe Makumana

    It is only after death that many African leaders are praised for their deeds (vafa vanaka) by these white leaders yet they would have contributed to the downfall of many African leaders. Mandela suffered 27 years of imprisonment in the hands of the whites yet by the end of the day they gave him the noble peace price, how sarcastic is that? In Europe the whites are still hunting for the Nazi leaders so that they can pay for the damages they have caused but in Africa we are told to forget about the past. This is the time African leaders should fight against inhuman treatment by these white people and stop treating them as our ‘gods’. Africans should prove that they can improve their own status without any aid from them.How can one say he is independent yet the means of production is controlled by the minority and you are told to keep quiet about that. Africans should be in a position to distinguish lions from sheep and this is the right time to do so. Libya was destroyed in the name of human rights violations and Mandela was labeled a terrorist for fighting for his country, the same people paint Mandela a saint and we keep on praising them. Africa unite, stand up and fight for your mother land.

  • KK

    Let us debunk a few myths posted in this article.

    The decision to have a Truth and Reconciliation committee was a collective decision made by the ANC and not solely Nelson Mandela’s, the ANC opposed retroactive trials as seen in Nuremberg after WWII. Nelson Mandela himself said that his term as president would be focused on Nation Building after that he would step down and his successors would then focus on the issues of land reform etc so those issues were not abandoned as you claim here in your article.

    You’ve also said that the ‘The only people who benefited from the policy are the white criminals
    who were guilty of an assortment of human rights violations.’ This is completely false as the ANC itself also benefited from this process as they had committed human rights violation on MK Cadres in Lusaka as the TRC records show. The TRC was aimed at human rights violations on both sides.

    Your article is interesting and makes a few good points but overlooks truth in pursuit of a specific agenda.

    • Jotham

      Your comment is just a collection of regurgitated writings from old fashioned facts that are very misleading.

  • Ude Eko

    George Herbert Walker Bush [George Bush Sr] was director of the American Central Intelligence Agency between 1976 and 1977. Nelson Mandela was arrested in 1962. Why smear someone you dislike just to make your point? This whopper alone invalidates the article in my eyes.

  • Thokozile

    Momz munonyora imi! Ndosaka makamakwa neMDC. Murikuvabatisa straitjacket. Ndizvo zvimwe zvakamakirwa mudhara wedu wegwazhi nemasutu Mugabe vachida chemakhakhi Tsvangson

  • posh

    Zvigotipeiko tanzwa nenhamo