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A man for all seasons 1918 - 2013



A man for all seasons 1918 - 2013


In his own words


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. “But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” (Conclusion of his three-hour defence speech at his 1964 trial for sabotage and treason) “In the name of the law, I found myself treated as a criminal... not because of what I had done, but because of what I stood for, because of my conscience. No-one in his right senses would choose such a life, but there comes a time when a man is denied the right to live a normal life, when he can only live the life of an outlaw because the government has so decreed to use the law. “The question being asked up and down the country is this: Is it politically correct to continue preaching peace and non-violence when dealing with a government whose barbaric practices have brought so much suffering and misery to Africans? I cannot and will not give any undertaking at a time when I, and you, the people, are not free. Your freedom and mine cannot be separated. I will return.” (Message read by his daughter Zinzi to a rally in Soweto in 1985) “A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness... The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.” On reconciliation (on acceptance of the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, shared with then President FW de Klerk) “I found solitary confinement the most forbidding aspect of prison life. There is no end and no beginning; there is only one’s own mind, which can begin to play tricks. Was that a dream or did it really happen? One begins to question everything. Did I make the right decision, was my sacrifice worth it? In solitary, there is no distraction from

these haunting questions. “But the human body has an enormous capacity for adjusting to trying circumstances. I have found that one can bear the unbearable if one can keep one’s spirits strong even when one’s body is being tested. Strong convictions are the secret of surviving deprivation; your spirit can be full even when your stomach is empty.” On his time imprisoned on Robben Island (from Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, The Long Walk to Freedom, 1994) “Perhaps I was blinded to certain things because of the pain I felt for not being able to fulfil my role as husband to my wife and father to my children. “It seems the destiny of freedom fighters to have unstable personal lives... to be the father of a nation is a great

honour, but to be the father of a family is a greater joy. But it was a job I had far too little of.” On fatherhood (The Long Walk to Freedom, 1994) “One issue that deeply worried me in prison was the false image I unwittingly projected to the outside world; of being regarded as a saint. “I never was one, even on the basis of an earthly definition of a saint as a sinner who keeps trying.”On his public image (from Mandela’s second autobiography, Conversations With Myself, 2010): “The value of our shared reward will and must be measured by the joyful peace which will triumph, because the common humanity that bonds both black and white into one human race will have said to each one of us that we shall all live like the children of paradise... “But there are still some within our country who wrongly believe they can make a contribution to the cause of justice and peace by clinging to the shibboleths [dogmas] that have been proved to spell nothing but disaster. “It remains our hope that these, too, will be blessed with sufficient reason to realise that history will not be denied and that the new society cannot be created by reproducing the repugnant past, however refined or enticingly repackaged.” (Presidential inauguration speech, May 10, 1994) “We enter into a covenant that we shall build a society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall without any fear in their hearts, assured of the inalienable right to human dignity, a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.” “Never, never, and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another... The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement. Let freedom reign. God bless Africa!” Address to international AIDS conference, Durban, July 2000

A man for all seasons 1918 - 2013



A colossus among men

“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. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” – Nelson Mandela


o those who observed him closely, Nelson Mandela always carried himself as one who was born to lead. As his former cellmate and longtime friend, Ahmed Kathrada, said recently: “He was born into a royal house and there was always that sense about him of someone who knew the meaning of leadership.” The Mandela who led the African National Congress into government displayed a conspicuous sense of his own dignity and a self-belief that nothing in 27 years of imprisonment had been capable of destroying. Although Mandela frequently described himself as simply part of the ANC’s leadership, there was never any doubt that he was the most potent political figure of his generation in South Africa. To the wider world he represented many things, not least an icon of freedom but also the most vivid example in modern times of the power of forgiveness and reconciliation. Back in the early 1990s, I remember then President, FW Klerk, telling me he how he found Mandela’s lack of bitterness “astonishing”. His fundamental creed was best expressed in his address to the sabotage trial in 1964. “I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination,” he said. “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. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” Early years Born in 1918, Rolihlahla Dalibhunga Mandela was raised in the village of Qunu in the Transkei in the Eastern Cape. He was one of 13 children from a family with close links to the royal house of the Thembu people. Mandela often recalled his boyhood in the green hills of the Transkei with fondness. This was a remote landscape of beehiveshaped huts and livestock

grazing on poor land. He was only nine when his father died of tuberculosis. Always closer emotionally to his mother, Mandela described his father as a stern disciplinarian. But he credited his father with instilling the instincts that would help carry him to greatness. Years later , he would write that “my father possessed a proud rebelliousness, a stubborn sense of fairness…” His death changed the course of the boy’s life. The young Mandela was sent from his home village to live as a ward of the Thembu royal house, where he would be groomed for a leadership role. This meant he must have a proper education. He was sent to a Methodist school, where he was given the name Nelson. He was a diligent student and in 1939 went to Fort Hare University, then a burgeoning centre of African nationalism. Mandela and the ANC It was at Fort Hare that Mandela met the future ANC leader, Oliver Tambo, with whom he would establish the first black law practice in South Africa. Both were expelled from the university in 1940 for political activism. First as a lawyer, then an activist and ultimately as a guerrilla leader, Mandela moved towards the collision with state power that would change his own and his country’s fate. The late 1950s and early 1960s were a period of growing tumult in South Africa, as African nationalists allied with the South African Communist Party challenged the apartheid state. When protest was met with brute force, the ANC launched an armed struggle with Mandela at its head. He was arrested and charged with treason in 1956. After a trial lasting five years, Mandela was acquitted. But by now the ANC had been banned and his comrade Oliver Tambo had gone into exile. Nelson Mandela went underground and embarked on a secret trip

to seek help from other African nations emerging from colonial rule. He also visited London to meet Tambo. But soon after his return he was arrested and sentenced to five years in jail. Further charges, of sabotage, led to a life sentence that would see him spend 27 years behind bars. He worked in the lime quarry on Robben Island, the prison in Cape Town harbour where the glaring sun on the white stone caused permanent damage to his eyes; he contracted tuberculosis in Pollsmoor Prison outside Cape Town, and he held the first talks with government ministers while he was incarcerated at the Victor Verster prison farm. In conversation, he would often say prison had given him time to think. It had also formed his habits in sometimes poignant ways. I recall a breakfast with several other journalists, where Mandela was briefing us on the latest political talks. The waiter approached with a bowl of porridge. Tasting it briefly, the ANC leader shook his head. “It is too hot,” he said. The waiter went away and returned with another bowl. This too was sent back. The waiter was looking embarrassed as he approached for the third time. Fortunately the temperature was now cool enough. The famous broad smile appeared. The waiter was heartily thanked and breakfast – and our questions – were able to continue. “That was a bit fussy wasn’t it,” I remarked to a colleague afterwards. My colleague pulled me up short with his reply. “Think about it. If you spent 27 years in jail, most of the time eating food that was either cold or at best lukewarm, you are going to end up struggling with hot food.” There it was, expressed in the most prosaic of realities, a reminder of the long vanished years of Nelson Mandela. Prison had taken away the prime of his life. It had taken away his family life. Relations with some of his children were strained. His marriage to Winnie Mandela would end in divorce. But as I followed him over the next three years, through embattled townships, tense negotiations, moments of despair and elation, I would understand that prison had never robbed his humanity. I remember listening to him in a dusty township after a surge of violence which threatened to derail

No bitterness: Nelson Mandela shakes the hand of FW de Klerk, the head of a regime that imprisoned him for 27 years

negotiations. Fighting between ANC supporters and the predominantly Zulu Inkatha movement had claimed thousands of lives, mainly in the townships around Johannesburg and in the hills of Natal. In those circumstances another leader might have been tempted to blame the

enemy alone. But when Mandela spoke he surprised all of us who were listening: “There are members of the ANC who are killing our people… We must face the truth. Our people are just as involved as other organisations that are committing violence… We cannot climb to free-

dom on the corpses of innocent people.” He knew the crowd would not like his message but he also knew they would listen. As an interviewee, he deflected personal questions with references to the suffering of all South Africans. One learned to read the expressions on his face for a truer guide to what Mandela felt. On the day that he separated from Winnie Mandela, I interviewed him at ANC headquarters. I have no recollection of what he said but the expression of pure loneliness on his face is one I will always remember. But my final memory of Nelson Mandela is one of joy. On the night of May 2, 1994 I was crammed into a function room full of officials, activists, diplomats and journalists, struggling to hear each other as the music pulsed and the cheers rang out. The ANC had won a comprehensive victory. On the stage, surrounded by his closest advisers, Nelson Mandela danced and waved to the crowd. He smiled the open, generous smile of a man who had lived to see his dream. (Feagal Kearne, BBC News)



A man for all seasons 1918 - 2013

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela 1918-2013


olihlahla Mandela was born into the Xhosa-speaking Thembu people in a small village in Transkei in the eastern Cape of South Africa, on July 18, and was given the name of Nelson by one of his teachers. His father Henry was a respected adviser to the Thembu royal family. His father died when Mandela was nine, and he was placed in the care of the acting regent of the Thembu people, chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo. In 1941, aged 23, Mandela, who was educated at the University of Fort Hare, an elite black institution, ran away from an arranged marriage and went to Johannesburg. Two years later, he enrolled for a law degree at the mainly white Witswaterand University, where he met people from all races and backgrounds. He was exposed to liberal, radical and Africanist thought, as well as racism and discrimination, which fuelled his passion for politics. ANC involvement The same year, he joined the African National Congress (ANC), a multi-racial nationalist movement trying to bring about political change in South Africa, and later co-founded the ANC Youth League. He married his first wife, Evelyn Mase, in 1944. They were divorced in 1958 after having four children. Mandela qualified as a lawyer and in 1952, opened a law practice in Johannesburg with his partner, Oliver Tambo. In 1952, Mandela also became one of the ANC’s deputy presidents. Together, Mandela and Tambo campaigned against apartheid, the system of forced segregation on the basis of race, devised by the all-white National Party, which came to power in 1948 and oppressed the black majority. By the late 1950s, faced with increasing government discrimination, Mandela, his friend Tambo and others began to move the ANC in a more radical direction. In 1956, Mandela was charged with high treason, along with 155 other activists, but the charges against him were dropped after a four-and-ahalf year trial. Resistance to apartheid grew, mainly against the new Pass Laws, which dictated where black people were allowed to live and work. In 1958, Mandela married Winnie Madikizela, who was later to take an active role in the campaign to free her husband from prison. The ANC was outlawed in 1960 and Mandela went underground, travelling around the country in disguise as a chauffeur.

Mandela was arrested in 1956 and charged with treason along with 155 others. The trial lasted four-and-ahalf-years, and ended with him being acquitted

attended by 228 delegates from 19 political parties. After much turmoil; extremism, both black and white; and compromise, the sides agreed to a peaceful path towards a multi-party elections and government. In the midst of realising his political aspirations in 1992, Mandela separated from his wife, Winnie, on the grounds of her adultery. She had also been convicted on charges of kidnapping and accessory to assault.

Nelson Mandela and his first wife, Evelyn Ntoko Mase

Sharpeville Tension with the apartheid regime grew, and soared to new heights in 1960 when 69 black people were shot dead by police in the Sharpeville massacre. The government declared a state of emergency and banned the ANC. In response, the organisation abandoned its policy of non-violence and launched a campaign of economic sabotage. Inspired by Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement in the Cuban Revolution, Mandela helped establish the ANC’s military wing “Umkhonto we Sizwe” or “The Spear of the Nation”. He was appointed its commander-in-chief and travelled abroad to receive military training and to find support for the ANC. Life imprisonment On his return, he was arrested as a result of a tip-off from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and sentenced to five years in prison. In 1963, Mandela and other ANC leaders were tried for plotting to overthrow the government by violence. Speaking from the dock in the Rivonia court room, Mandela used the stand to convey his beliefs about democracy, freedom and equality. “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities,” he said. “It is an ideal for which I hope to live for and to see realised. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” In the winter of 1964, deemed violent communist agitators, he and his colleagues were sentenced to life in prison. They were held in Robben Island prison, off the coast of Cape Town. In the space of 12 months between 1968 and 1969, Mandela’s mother died and his eldest son was killed in a car crash, but he was not allowed to attend the funerals. He remained in prison on Robben Island for 18 years before being transferred to Pollsmoor Prison on the mainland in 1982. As Mandela and other ANC leaders languished in prison or lived in exile, the youths of South Africa’s black townships did their best to fight white minority rule. Hundreds were killed and thousands were injured before the schoolchildren’s uprising was crushed. But all was not lost, during his years in prison, the man condemned as a terrorist by the South African government and many Western governments, including the United Kingdom and the United States (he would remain on the U.S. terror list until 2008) became an international symbol of re-

sistance to apartheid. Renewed international interest in his plight came in July 1978, when he celebrated his 60th birthday. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in Lesotho, the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding in India in 1979, and the Freedom of the City of Glasgow, Scotland in 1981. In 1980, the ANC led by the exiled Tambo, launched an international campaign against apartheid, but ingeniously decided to focus it on one cause and one person – the demand to release Mandela. The slogan "Free Mandela!" was developed by journalist Percy Qoboza. The international campaign, which led the United Nations Security Council to call for his release, culminated in the 1988 concert at Wembley stadium in London when some 72,000 people – and millions more watching on TV around the world – sang “Free Nelson Mandela”. Popular pressure led world leaders to tighten the sanctions first imposed

Key dates 1918 – Born in the Eastern Cape 1944 – Joined African National Congress 1956 – Charged with high treason, but charges dropped 1962 – Arrested, convicted of sabotage, sentenced to five years in prison 1964 – Charged again, sentenced to life 1990 – Freed from prison 1993 – Wins Nobel Peace Prize 1994 – Elected president 1999 – Steps down as leader 2001 – Diagnosed with prostate cancer 2004 – Retires from public life 2005 – Announces his son has died of an HIV/AIDS-related illness 2010 – Appears at football World Cup 2013 – Dies after a period of prolonged illness and hospitalisation

on South Africa in 1967 against the apartheid regime. In 1990, the South African government led by President FW de Klerk responded to internal and international pressure and released Mandela, at the same time lifting the ban against the ANC. In 1991, Mandela became the ANC’s leader. Talks on forming a new multiracial democracy for South Africa then began. The Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) began in December 1991 at the Johannesburg World Trade Centre,

A respected global statesman In December 1993, Mandela and de Klerk were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Five months later, for the first time in South Africa’s history, all races voted in democratic elections and Mandela was overwhelmingly elected president. He headed a government dominated by the ANC – which had no experience of governance – but containing representatives from the National Party and Inkatha, De Klerk as first deputy president. In a tense South Africa, Mandela saw national reconciliation as the primary task of his presidency. He worked to reassure South Africa's white population that they were protected and represented in “the Rainbow Nation” and the former avid boxer and sportsman seized a sporting event to bring the nation together. He encouraged

for the poor, and slum townships continued to blight major cities. He entrusted his second deputy, Thabo Mbeki, with the day-to-day business of the government, while he concentrated on the ceremonial duties of a leader, building a new international image of South Africa. In that context, he succeeded in persuading the country’s multinational corporations to remain and invest in South Africa. Still, it proved an impossible task to fulfil the election promise of prosperity for all. However, many analysts point out that great strides were made in delivering some of the Freedom Charter aspirations in the early years of the new South Africa. Retirement In 1997, Mandela stepped down as ANC leader and in 1999 ,his presidency of South Africa came to an end. After stepping down as president, Mandela has become South Africa’s highest-profile ambassador, campaigning against HIV/AIDS and helping to secure his country’s right to host the 2010 football World Cup. On his 80th birthday, Nelson Mandela married Graca Machel, the widow of the former president of Mozambique. In 2004, at the age of 85, Mandela retired from public life to spend more time with his family and friends and

"Amandla": The triumphant return of Nelson Mandela

black South Africans to get behind the previously hated national rugby team, the Springboks, a symbol of apartheid, as South Africa hosted the 1995 Rugby World Cup. After the underdog Springboks won an epic final over New Zealand, Mandela presented the trophy to captain Francois Pienaar, an

Nelson Mandela’s children With Evelyn Mase: Thembekile born 1945, died 1969 Makaziwe born 1947, died aged nine months Makgatho born 1950, died 2005 Makaziwe, born 1954 With Winnie Madikizela-Mandela: Zenani born 1959 Zindziswa born 1960

Afrikaner, wearing a Springbok shirt with Pienaar's own number on the back. He won the hearts of millions of white rugby fans and black Africans began to embrace the Afrikaners who had embraced their “Madiba” or Tata (father). He also set up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission headed Archbishop Desmod Tutu. Now, Mandela’s greatest problem as president was the housing shortage

engage in “quiet reflection”. But his charitable work continued. On August 29, 2007, a permanent statue to him was unveiled in Parliament Square, London. He continued travelling the world, meeting leaders, attending conferences and collecting awards after stepping down as president. After his official retirement, his public appearances were mostly connected with the work of the Mandela Foundation, a charitable fund that he founded. On his 89th birthday, he formed The Elders, a group of leading world figures, to offer their expertise and guidance “to tackle some of the world’s toughest problems”. Possibly his most noteworthy intervention of recent years came early in 2005, following the death of his surviving son, Makgatho. At a time when taboos still surrounded the AIDS epidemic, Mandela announced that his son had died of AIDS, and urged South Africans to talk about AIDS “to make it appear like a normal illness”. In 2010, he appeared at the closing ceremony of the football World Cup. He died on December 5, 2013, aged 95. His charisma, self-deprecating sense of humour and lack of bitterness over his harsh treatment, as well as his amazing life story, partly explain his extraordinary global appeal. (Sources: BBC, the Daily Telegraph)

A man for all seasons 1918 - 2013



Spectre of Belsen and Buchenwald: Life under apartheid by

Nelson Mandela

October 5 1955 [Article written in October 1955]


achel Musi is 53 years of age. She and her husband had lived in Krugersdorp for 32 years. Throughout this period, he had worked tor the Krugersdorp municipality for £7.10 a month. They had seven children ranging from 19 to 2 years of age. One was doing the final year of the Junior Certificate at the Krugersdorp “Bantu” High School and three were in primary schools, also in Krugersdorp. She had several convictions for brewing traditional African beer. Because of these convictions she was arrested as an undesirable person in terms of the provisions of the Native Urban Areas Act and brought before the Additional Native Commissioner of Krugersdorp. After the arrest but before her trial her husband collapsed suddenly and died. Thereafter, the Commissioner judged her an undesirable person and ordered her deportation to Lichtenburg. Bereaved and broken-hearted, and with the responsibility of maintaining seven children weighing heavily on her shoulders, an aged woman was exiled from her home and forcibly separated from her children to fend for herself among strangers in a strange environment... In June 1952, I and about 50 other friends were arrested in Johannesburg while taking part in a defiance campaign and removed to Marshall Square. As we were being jostled into the drill yard one of our prisoners was pushed from behind by a young European constable so violently that he fell down some steps and broke his ankle. I protested, whereupon the young warrior kicked me on the leg in cowboy style. We were indignant and started a demonstration. Senior police officers entered the yard to investigate. We drew their attention to the injured man and demanded medical attention. We were curtly told that we could repeat the request the next day. And so it was that Samuel Makae spent a frightful night in the cells reeling and groaning with pain, maliciously denied medical assistance by those who had deliberately crippled him and whose duty it is to preserve and uphold the law. In 1941, an African lad appeared before the Native Commissioner in Johannesburg charged with failing to give a good and satisfactory account of himself in terms of the above Act. The previous year he had passed the Junior Certificate with a few distinctions. He had planned to study Matric in the Cape but, because of illness, on the advice of the family doctor he decided to spend the year at home in Alexandra Township. Called upon by the police to produce proof that he had sufficient honest means of earn-

ing his livelihood, he explained that he was still a student and was maintained by his parents. He was then arrested and ordered to work at Leeuwkop Farm Colony for six months as an idle and disorderly person. This order was subsequently set aside on review by the Supreme Court but only after the young man had languished in gaol for seven weeks, with serious repercussions to his poor health ..... Pernicious Face of Apartheid The breaking up of African homes and families and the forcible separation of children from mothers, the harsh treatment meted out to African prisoners, and the forcible detention of Africans in farm colonies for spurious statutory offences are a few examples of the actual workings of the hideous and pernicious doctrines of racial inequality. To these can be added scores of thousands of foul misdeeds committed against the people by the Government: the denial to the non-European people of the elementary rights of free citizenship; the expropriation of the people from their lands and homes to assuage the insatiable appetites of European land barons and industrialists; the flogging and calculated murder of African labourers by European farmers in the countryside for being “cheeky to the baas”; the vicious manner in which African workers are beaten up by the police and flung into gaols when they down tools to win their demands; the fostering of contempt and hatred for non-Europeans. the fanning of racial prejudice between whites and non-whites, between the various non-white groups; the splitting of Africans into small hostile tribal units; the instigation

Institutionalised racism Under apartheid, white and black South Aficans were not allowed to mix. For much of the 20th Century, two vast monoliths had provided South Africa with its ruling elite: the National Party and the Dutch Reform Church. Their creed was based on an idiosyncratic Afrikaner reading of the Bible, with the Boer community cast in the role of the Chosen People. The origins of apartheid – apartness – went right back to the very beginnings of European rule in Southern Africa, but it was only with the election of the first National Party government in 1948, in a whiteonly ballot, that racial segregation was thoroughly codified in law.

In legal terms, apartheid had three main pillars:

The Race Classification Act, which classified every citizen suspected of not being European according to race. The Mixed Marriages Act, which prohibited marriage between people of different races. The Group Areas Act, which forced people of certain races into living in designated areas (Source: BBC News) of one group or tribe against another; the banning of active workers from the people's organizations, and their confinement into certain areas. All these misdemeanours are weapons resorted to by the mining and farming cliques of this country to protect their interests and to prevent the rise of an all-powerful organized mass struggle. To them, the end justifies the means, and that end is the creation of a vast market of cheap labour for the farms. That is why homes are broken up and people are removed from cities to the countryside to ensure enough labour for the farms. That is why non-European political opponents of the Government are treated with such brutality. In such a setup, African youth with distinguished scholastic careers are not a credit to the country, but a serious threat to the governing circles, for they may not like to descend to the bowels of the earth and cough their lungs out to enrich the mining magnates, nor will they elect to dig potatoes on farms for wretched ra-

tions. Unite in the Struggle for Liberation Nevertheless, these methods are failing to achieve their objective. True enough they have scared and deterred certain groups and individuals, and at times even upset and temporarily dislocated our plans and schemes. But they have not halted the growing struggle of the people for liberation. Capable fighters and organizers are arising from amongst the people. The people are increasingly becoming alive to the necessity or the solidarity of all democratic forces regardless of race, party affiliation, religious beliefs, and ideological convictions. Taking advantage of this situation, the - people's organisations have embarked on a broad programme of mutual co-operation and closer relations. The Freedom Charter recently adopted by people of all races and from all walks of life now forms the ground-plan for future action. However, the fascist regime

that governs this country is not meeting this situation with arms folded. Cabinet ministers are arming themselves with inquisitorial and arbitrary powers to destroy their opponents and hostile organizations. They are building a monoparty State, the essence of which is the identification of the Nationalist Party with State power. All opposition to the Nationalists has been deemed opposition to the State. Every facet of the national life is becoming subordinated to the overriding necessity of the party’s retention of power. All constitutional safeguards are being thrown overboard and individual liberties are being ruthlessly suppressed. Lynchings and pogroms are the logical weapons to be resorted to, should the onward march of the liberation movement continue to manifest itself. The spectre of Belsen and Buchenwald (Nazi concentration camps) is haunting South Africa. It can only be repelled by the united strength of the people of South Africa. Every situation must be used to raise the people's level of understanding. If attacks on the people`s organizations, if all discriminatory measures, be they the Industrial Conciliation Amendment Act, Bantu Education, or the classification of the Coloured people, are used as a rallying point around which a united front will be built, the spectre of Belsen and Buchenwald will never descend upon us. From: Nelson Mandela, Freedom, Justice and Dignity for All in South Africa. Published by the Ministry of External Affairs, India, in cooperation with the United Nations Centre against Apartheid, 1978 (ANC archives)



A man for all seasons 1918 - 2013

Measured defiance O

ne of Nelson Mandela’s most famous speeches was made at the start of the 1964 trial at which he was found guilty of sabotage and sentenced to life imprisonment. It is known as the Rivonia trial, after the Johannesburg suburb where some of the defendants were arrested. Here are selected excerpts from his three-hour defence – his last public words before he was released from prison in 1990. I do not... deny that I planned sabotage. I did not plan it in a spirit of recklessness, nor because I have any love of violence. I planned it as a result of a calm and sober assessment of the political situation that had arisen after many years of tyranny, exploitation, and oppression of my people by the whites. I admit immediately that I was one of the persons who helped to form Umkhonto we Sizwe [armed wing of the African National Congress], and that I played a prominent role in its affairs until I was arrested in August 1962. I, and the others who started the organisation, did so for two reasons. Firstly, we believed that as a result of government policy, violence by the African people had become inevitable, and that unless responsible leadership was given to canalise and control the feelings of our people, there would be outbreaks of terrorism which would produce an intensity of bitterness and hostility between the various races of this country which is not produced even by war. Secondly, we felt that without violence there would be no way open to the African people to succeed in their struggle against the principle of white supremacy. All lawful modes of expressing opposition to this principle had been closed by legislation, and we were placed in a position in which we had ei-

The Rivonia trial electrified South Africa

ther to accept a permanent state of inferiority, or to defy the government. But the violence which we chose to adopt was not terrorism. Four forms of violence were possible. There is sabotage, there is guerrilla warfare, there is terrorism, and there is open revolution. We chose to adopt the first method and to exhaust it before taking any other decision. Our fight is against real, and not imaginary, hardships or, to use the language of the state prosecutor, so-called hardships. Basically, we fight against two features which are the hallmarks of African life in South Africa and which are entrenched by legislation which we seek to have repealed. These features are poverty and lack of hu-

Excerpts of his Rivonia speech

man dignity, and we do not need communists or so-called agitators to teach us about these things. South Africa is the richest country in Africa, and could be one of the richest countries in the world. But it is a land of extremes and remarkable contrasts. The whites enjoy what may well be the highest standard of living in the world, whilst Africans live in poverty and misery. The complaint of Africans, however, is not only that they are poor and the whites are rich, but that the laws which are made by the whites are designed to preserve this situation. There are two ways to break out of poverty. The first is by formal education, and the second is by the worker acquiring a greater skill at his work and thus higher wages. As far as Africans are concerned, both these avenues of advancement are deliberately curtailed by legislation. The lack of human dignity experienced by Africans is the direct result of the policy of white supremacy. White supremacy implies black inferiority. Legislation designed to preserve white supremacy entrenches this notion. Menial tasks in South Africa are invariably performed by Africans. When anything has to be carried or cleaned the white man will look around for an African to do it for him, whether the African is employed by him or not. Because of this sort of attitude, whites tend to regard Africans as a separate breed. Pass laws, which to the Africans are among the most hated bits of legislation in South Africa, render any African liable to police surveillance at any time. I doubt whether there is a single African male in South Africa who has not at some stage had

a brush with the police over his pass. Hundreds and thousands of Africans are thrown into jail each year under pass laws. Even worse than this is the fact that pass laws keep husband and wife apart and lead to the breakdown of family life. Africans want to be paid a living wage. Africans want to perform work which they are capable of doing, and not work which the government declares them to be capable of. Africans want to be allowed to live where they obtain work, and not be endorsed out of an area because they were not born there. Africans want to be allowed to own land in places where they work... Africans want to be part of the general population, and not confined to living in their own ghettos. Africans want to be allowed out after 11 o’clock at night and not to be confined to their rooms like little children. Africans want to be allowed to travel in their own country and to seek work where they want to and not where the Labour Bureau tells them to. Africans want a just share in the whole of South Africa; they want security and a stake in society. Above all, we want equal political rights, because without them our disabilities will be permanent. I know this sounds revolutionary to the whites in this country, because the majority of voters will be Africans. This makes the white man fear democracy. But this fear cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the only solution which will guarantee racial harmony and freedom for all. It is not true that the enfranchisement of all will result in racial domination. Political division, based on colour, is entirely artificial and, when it disappears, so will the domination of one colour group by another. (Source: BBC News)

MADIBA 7 How a prisoner became a legend

A man for all seasons 1918 - 2013


s the imprisoned Nelson Mandela became the face of a global campaign against apartheid, within South Africa a ban on his image meant people weren’t sure what he looked like – and he became a mythological figure, recalls William Gumede, African writer, trade unionist and former youth leader. Nelson Mandela was very fond of telling a story of how, in the early 1980s, while at the windswept Robben Island prison where he had been banished for opposing the apartheid regime, he was taken to the mainland in Cape Town for a medical check-up. His prison warders generously agreed to his request that he be allowed to stroll on the beach for a few minutes. Walking on the beach, Mandela, the world’s most famous political prisoner, was anonymous. Having been in jail since the early 1960s, and his pictures banned from being circulated in public or published in the media, very few people knew his appearance. On the beach that day no-one as much as glanced at him. Later, with a glint in his eye, Mandela said he’d wondered what would have happened had he suddenly shouted: “I am Nelson Mandela.” The images of Mandela imprinted on people’s minds were, by then, 20 years old. They were from the last photos to be taken of the defiant activist before he had been carted off to jail in 1962. In prison he had been allowed only a select few visitors, mostly immediate family. Fellow inmates, who were released earlier, would try to describe him but it was not quite good enough. Such was the level of security that by the 1980s no-one appeared to have been able to smuggle out an up-to-date photo

A prison van carrying Mandela and other ANC activists to trial in 1962

of Mandela from Robben Island. By then, Mandela had become one of the world’s Scene from a 1985 anti-apartheid riot in Duduza township most quoted public figures. But in apartheid South Africa his words and teachings, like those his name ensured activists revered him even more. of other ANC activists – were banned. There were injunctions that came with heavy penalties for This enforced silence had ultimately done nothing to quell those who broke them. Carrying the image of Mandela or the curiosity of a new emerging generation of anti-apartheid being overheard saying his name could result in torture and activists in the late 70s and early 80s, in South Africa and overseas. a prison sentence. Books about Mandela were banned – unless they portrayed The long-term imprisonment of most of the ANC’s top leadhim as a terrorist. Media organisations were prevented from ers in the early 1960s, the banning and locking-up of lower level leaders and the brutal campaign of fear pursued by the reporting on him or using his pictures. He was not the only prisoner subject to these restrictions, apartheid government were a crushing blow and threatened but the way the state tried to erase his image, his words and the group’s very existence. continued on page 10



A man for all seasons 1918 - 2013


Nelson Mandela: A

Mandela, Winnie and one of his gr

Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1944. Mandela qualified as a lawyer and in 1952 set up South Africa's first black law firm with Oliver Tambo. Fearing a ban by the apartheid government, the ANC asked Mandela to make plans to ensure the party could work underground. He was arrested in 1956 and charged with treason along with 155 others. The trial lasted four-anda-half-years, and ended with him being acquitted. In 1958, he married his second wife, Winnie Madikizela

Mandela was born in the rural Transkei on July 18, 1918 into an African royal family largely dispossessed by colonising, his grandfather had been a king and his father was a chief. But himself was destined not for royalty but for revolution

In 1993, Man bring stability

After police killed 69 protesters in Sharpeville in March 1960, the government feared retaliation, so it declared a state of emergency and then banned the ANC. The organisation formed a military wing, led by Mandela. In 1962, Mandela was arrested and tried for leaving the country illegally. In 1963, while in prison, he was charged with sabotage. He and seven others were sentenced to life in 1964 and jailed on Robben Island

Under pressure from the “Free Mandela� campaign, the international community started to tighten sanctions which had been first imposed on the apartheid regime in 1967. By 1990, the pressure led to President FW de Klerk lifting the ban on the ANC. On February 11, 1990, Mandela was freed after 27 years in prison. Crowds cheered as he and his wife, Winnie left the prison grounds. The next year, Mandela was elected ANC president at the party’s first national conference. Talks began on forming a new, multi-racial democracy

Mandela ste polls in 199 profile amb his retireme

A man for all seasons 1918 - 2013



A life in pictures

e of his grandchildren after his release

In 1994, for the first time in South Africa’s history, people from all races voted in democratic elections. The ANC won and Mandela became president. He told crowds at his inauguration on May 10, 1994: “Let freedom reign, God bless Africa!” His deputy, Thabo Mbeki, took over the day-to-day running of government, leaving Mandela free to promote the country abroad

The symbolic moment of reconcilation. Mandela congratulates Springbok captain Francois Pienaar after South Africa’s victory in the 1995 Rugby World Cup final. Mandela, in one of the most audacious political gambles of his career, appeared before the mostly white crowd of 62,000 wearing a Springbok jersey to shake the players’ hands before kick-off. The-then All Blacks coach Laurie Mains said the atmosphere in the stadium was electric as South Africa’s first black president sported a garment that was indelibly associated with the apartheid regime (Reuters)

1993, Mandela and South African President FW de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for efforts to ng stability to South Africa. The Nobel Committee said both men had made “a brilliant contribution to peace”

andela stepped down as ANC president in 1997 and his successor Thabo Mbeki led the party to victory at the olls in 1999. On his 80th birthday, Mandela married his third wife Graca Machel. He became South Africa’s highestofile ambassador, campaigning against HIV/AIDS and helping secure the 2010 football World Cup. He announced s retirement from public life in 2004. Joking with reporters, he said: “Don’t call me, I’ll call you”

The former president made few public appearances after his 90th birthday, although he appeared at the closing ceremony of the 2010 football World Cup, hosted by South Africa.In January 2011, Mandela was admitted to hospital with a respiratory infection and he suffered repeated infections over the next two years. His lungs had been damaged when he worked in a prison quarry


A man for all seasons 1918 - 2013

How a prisoner became a legend (continued from page 7) Then, in the late 1960s, the ANC’s overseas wing decided to change the direction of the anti-apartheid struggle. It launched a global movement as an attempt to give the campaign new momentum, energy and focus. It fell upon Nelson Mandela to be the face of this new global campaign. His release from custody became the central pillar of the anti-apartheid campaign.

“I am prepared to die”

At the time of his arrest on August 5, 1962, Mandela was by no means the ANC’s top leader. He was at best below the likes of Walter Sisulu, the ANC general secretary, and Oliver Tambo, its deputy president. Yet this elevation of Mandela to be the face of the ANC also propelled him to the number one spot in the organisation. The Free Mandela campaign in the West became one of the most effective global media movements. It was also one of the most fashionable causes. World figThe cell in Robben Island of Prisoner 46664 – Mandela ures such as Bertrand Russell, Simone de Beauvoir, and Ilya Ehrenburg put their names to the campaign. The ANC allowed overseas satellite groups relative freedom to adapt their campaigns for their particular local circumstances, nuances and protest movements. In the UK, the local anti-apartheid movement hosted an annual Bicycle for Mandela event. In the Netherlands, they issued a Mandela coin in opposition to the Krugerrands. In the U.S., the committee launched an “Unlock Apartheid’s Jails” campaign, under the chairmanship of actor Bill Cosby. So successful had the global Free Mandela campaign become that in 1978, the prime minister of apartheid South Africa, John Vorster, bemoaned the fact that the world was seeing Mandela as the “real” leader of black South Africa. By the mid-80s, musicians such as Bruce Springsteen and Miles Davis were sprinkling some stardust on the anti-apartheid movement. The song “Free Nelson Mandela” became a Top 10 hit in Britain as well as The campaign to free Mandela spread around the world Guyanese artist Eddy Grant’s “Gimme Hope Jo’anna” We divided ourselves into cells which met in secret. And in , a well-known anti-apartheid reggae anthem. The song was these cells we would talk about Mandela, the ANC and lesbanned by the South African government. sons from other people’s struggles around the world. The image of Mandela the silenced global statesman was Invoking Mandela’s name or his image risked severe retstarting to set. Back in South Africa, however, his progresribution. But doing so became an act of defiance for antision to the top took a different course. apartheid activists. We wore T-shirts and badges, and carMandela’s long spell of incarceration had led him to deep ried flags, all with Mandela’s face on, knowing we could be reflection. arrested and tortured. At the start of his prison term on Robben Island, Mandela The apartheid police had its omnipresent networks of spies wrote: “In prison you come face to face with time. There’s or “impipis” in the black community who would rush to nothing more terrifying.” inform on anyone who dared mention Mandela’s name at Under the tutelage of Walter Sisulu, one of the underrated church prayer, school or community meeting, ANC leaders, Mandela overcame his own “feelings of rage In high school, in 1985, at the height of the student revolt, and impotence”. one of my fellow teen anti-apartheid activists was arrested His genius was in his pragmatism – his generosity of spirit. and given a 30-day jail sentence for drinking out of a mug What set him apart from his fellow detainees was that he which had the face of Mandela painted on it. was wise enough to be influenced by new ideas and in turn Another spent three days in jail for writing “Free Mandela” was able to soften and broaden the minds of other young on her school dress. radicals, helping him recruit activists from opposing ideoloI was sjambokked – beaten with a traditional South African gies to the ANC. leather whip which police carried during the apartheid era Eventually, these new converts, when they were released – kicked and klapped (slapped) by police for drawing a rathfrom Robben Island, spread Mandela’s ideas to a wider auer crude image of Mandela, next to the words “Liberation dience outside. Before Education”, on my tattered canvas school bag. In the early 80s, to me and my fellow black student activBut we students weren’t the first to get behind the Mandela ists, Mandela was still a radical, the “Black Pimpernel” who charge. had co-founded Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the In 1980, Percy Qoboza, the editor of the Sunday Post, a black ANC. newspaper in Johannesburg, launched a local campaign for The rest of the world was becoming acquainted with a more the release of Mandela. It led to a wider call which raised statesmanlike figure. But in the free-speech vacuum of the Mandela’s name again within South Africa after the blanket apartheid state, our Mandela had been freeze-frozen on the of silence enforced by the authorities. day he was arrested on August 5, 1962, for his clandestine Some 86,000 people publicly signed a petition sponsored by attempts to plan sabotage against the state. the Sunday Post to release Mandela – opening themselves up to prosecution for promoting a banned person. Soweto The Free Nelson Mandela campaign became the glue that It was this Mandela who so appealed to us high school radibrought together many of the disparate groups whose comcals, who came to political awakening in the 80s, leading us mon goal was to overturn white minority rule, under the to embark on a school boycott between 1984 and 1985. name of the United Democratic Front (UDF). Defiance was our core value. We dismissed teachers and parEnuga Sreenivasulu Reddy, the former secretary of the UN ents as too submissive to apartheid authorities, who should Special Committee Against Apartheid, wrote in 1988: “The be defied in the same way we defied the regime. release of Mandela became an issue uniting the broadest As youths we attacked symbols of apartheid and white opsegments of the South African people. All black leaders with pression. We threw stones at the police and army, barricadany following, as well as several white leaders, expressed ed roads with burning tyres and “redistributed” to the comsupport.” munity the contents of delivery vans of companies perceived The UDF launched a new, more energetic domestic camto be collaborating with apartheid government. paign to release Mandela, vowing that unless the Nationalist Senior ANC and anti-apartheid leaders, such as Archbishop Party government freed him, there would be no peace in Desmond Tutu, publicly disapproved, but as in William South Africa. Overnight “Release Mandela” committees Golding’s Lord of the Flies, the children would now be in were set up across the country, in every region, town and charge, not only of our education, but also our own upbringtownship, by UDF activists. ing. Our curiosity about Mandela remained insatiable. Our slogans were “No education without liberation”, “Victory Comrades who were released from Robben Island, having or death” and “Free Mandela our real leader”. been in secret meetings where messages from Mandela were

clandestinely distributed, were eagerly questioned on the leader’s views. Those who were lucky enough to have seen Mandela, even from a distance at Robben Island, let alone to have met or talked to him, were treated like royalty by us youth activists. Lawyers visiting the island prison were a particularly rich source of information for those hungry for news. But while beyond the shores of his island prison Mandela had unquestionably become the face of the fight against South Africa’s racist government, inside the jail he was locked in a decadeslong battle to have his vision for what the organisation stood for, accepted by fellow inmates. On Robben Island, the ANC leadership decided to set up a leadership structure to support activists who could have lost faith in the face of long jail sentences. This was called the “High Order”, and consisted of Mandela, Govan Mbeki – father of the future South African President Thabo Mbeki – and two others. Mandela was elected spokesperson.

The ANC High Order

* Walter Sisulu (1912-2003): Served 26 years imprisonment on Robben Island; released in 1989 and was elected ANC deputy president * Govan Mbeki (1910-2001): Imprisoned on terrorism and treason charges from 1964 until 1987; served in South Africa’s post-apartheid senate * Raymond Mhlaba (1920-2005): Member of ANC and South Africa Communist Party; jailed alongside Mandela and released in 1989 After his release from Robben Island in 1987, Govan Mbeki admitted that “nobody [on the island] could guess” that Mandela would become such an international figure and would rise to such heights. Mbeki was Mandela’s great rival while in prison on the island. Before he was imprisoned, Mbeki was a powerful figure in the ANC and Mandela’s senior by a mile. He later admitted that he “differed very strongly” with Mandela on a great many issues. Mbeki had challenged Albert Luthuli for the ANC presidency and lost narrowly. On Robben Island, Mandela and members of the High Order would secretly circulate their ideas on paper (often toilet paper) to the seven jails of the island prison, or in code in letters to family and to the ANC on the outside. They used every opportunity while doing hard labour, breaking stones on the island’s quarry, to clandestinely disseminate their ideas. While doing this, they had to evade the prying eyes of the prison guards and the prison censors.

Leadership battle

For three decades in Robben Island, there was an epic leadership battle in the ANC for supremacy between the African nationalists, led by Mandela, and the ANC Left, led by African communists such as Mbeki. Mbeki’s group argued that the ANC should seize power through military means, nationalise all industry, pursue Nuremberg-like trials to prosecute apartheid leaders for crimes against humanity, and set up a communist state with the South African Communist Party at its head at the southernmost tip of Africa. Mandela and his leadership group argued that the ANC was a broad church of all colours, ideologies and classes who were united in their fights against apartheid and racial prejudice. Mandela argued for a negotiated settlement between the apartheid government and the liberation movements, which would cobble together a constitutional, non-racial democracy. Mbeki feared Mandela was about to sell out, to strike a compromise deal with the Nationalist Party in return for his freedom. He smuggled an SOS to the ANC leadership in exile to express his fears. Mandela, in turn, smuggled an answer to the exiled leaders, assuring them he was not selling out and that he was acting in the best interests of the ANC members and supporters. According to Mbeki, who was released ahead of Mandela, it took a long time before fellow Robben Islanders were convinced that Mandela was not selling out. By the late 80s, my generation, the 1985 generation who were active in the internal struggle, had become suspicious of Mandela, fearing a compromise with the apartheid rulers was about to be agreed. Even at Mandela’s release in February 1990, there was a lingering suspicion among some comrades that he might have turned. It would immediately be proven wrong. In fact, Mandela had entered Robben Island a good leader, and returned a great leader. (BBC)

A man for all seasons 1918 - 2013


Inauguration speech Cape Town, May 9, 1994


r Master of Ceremonies, Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, My Fellow South Africans: Today we are entering a new era for our country and its people. Today we celebrate not the victory of a party, but a victory for all the people of South Africa. Our country has arrived at a decision. Among all the parties that contested the elections, the overwhelming majority of South Africans have mandated the African National Congress to lead our country into the future. The South Africa we have struggled for, in which all our people, be they African, Coloured, Indian or White, regard themselves as citizens of one nation is at hand. Perhaps it was history that ordained that it be here, at the Cape of Good Hope that we should lay the foundation stone of our new nation. For it was here at this Cape, over three centuries ago, that there began the fateful convergence of the peoples of Africa, Europe and Asia on these shores. It was to this peninsula that the patriots, among them many princes and scholars, of Indonesia were dragged in chains. It was on the sandy plains of this peninsula that first battles of the epic wars of resistance were fought. When we look out across Table Bay, the horizon is dominated by Robben Island, whose infamy as a dungeon built to stifle the spirit of freedom is as old as colonialism in South Africa. For three centuries that island was seen as a place to which outcasts can be banished. The names of those who were incarcerated on Robben Island is a roll call of resistance fighters and democrats spanning over three centuries. If indeed this is a Cape of Good Hope, that hope owes much to the spirit of that legion of fighters and others of their calibre. We have fought for a democratic constitution since the 1880s. Ours has been a quest for a constitution freely adopted by the people of South Africa, reflecting their wishes and their aspirations. The struggle for democracy has never been a matter pursued by one race, class, religious community or gender among South Africans. In honouring those who fought to see this day arrive, we honour the best sons and daughters of all our people. We can count amongst them Africans, Coloureds, Whites, Indians, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Jews – all of them united by a common vision of a better life for the people of this country. It was that vision that inspired us in 1923 when we adopted the first ever Bill of Rights in this country. That same vision spurred us to put forward the African Claims in 1946. It is also the founding principle of the Freedom

Nelson Mandela being sworn in as the first black president in South Africa

Charter we adopted as policy in 1955, which in its very first lines, places before South Africa an inclusive basis for citizenship. In 1980s the African National Congress was still setting the pace, being the first major political formation in South Africa to commit itself firmly to a Bill of Rights, which we published in November 1990. These milestones give concrete expression to what South Africa can become. They speak of a constitutional, democratic, political order in which, regardless of colour, gender, religion, political opinion or sexual orientation, the law will provide for the equal protection of all citizens. They project a democracy in which the government, whomever that government may be, will be bound by a higher set of rules, embodied in a constitution, and will not be able govern the country as it pleases. Democracy is based on the majority principle. This is especially true in a country such as ours where the vast majority have been systematically denied their rights. At the same time, democracy also requires that the rights of political and other minorities be safeguarded. In the political order we have established there will regular, open and free elections, at all levels of government – central, provincial and municipal. There shall also be a social order which respects completely the culture, language and religious rights of all sections of our society and the fundamental rights of the individual. The task at hand on will not be easy. But you have mandated us to change South Africa from a country in which the majority lived with little hope, to one in which they can live and work with dignity, with a sense of selfesteem and confidence in the future. The cornerstone of building a better life of opportunity, freedom and prosperity is the Reconstruction and Development Programme. This needs unity of purpose. It needs in action. It requires us all to work together to bring an end to division, an end to suspicion and build a nation united in our diversity. The people of South Africa have spoken in these elections. They want change!

And change is what they will get. Our plan is to create jobs, promote peace and reconciliation, and to guarantee freedom for all South Africans. We will tackle the widespread poverty so pervasive among the majority of our people. By encouraging investors and the democratic state to support job creat-

ing projects in which manufacturing will play a central role we will try to change our country from a net exporter of raw materials to one that exports finished products through beneficiation. The government will devise policies that encourage and reward productive enterprise among the disadvan-

taged communities – African, Coloured and Indian. By easing credit conditions we can assist them to make inroads into the productive and manufacturing spheres and break out of the small-scale distribution to which they are presently confined. To raise our country and its people from the morass

of racism and apartheid will require determination and effort. As a government, the ANC will create a legal framework that will assist, rather than impede, the awesome task of reconstruction and development of our battered society. While we are and shall remain fully committed to the spirit of a government of national unity, we are determined to initiate and bring about the change that our mandate from the people demands. We place our vision of a new constitutional order for South Africa on the table not as conquerors, prescribing to the conquered. We speak as fellow citizens to heal the wounds of the past with the intent of constructing a new order based on justice for all. This is the challenge that faces all South Africans today, and it is one to which I am certain we will all rise.

(ANC archives)


A man for all seasons 1918 - 2013

Nelson Mandela: AIDS campaigner T hough at first muted in his approach to the issues surrounding HIV/AIDS, Nelson Mandela eventually became a dedicated and extremely effective advocate for a more vigorous approach to the disease. When Mandela was released from prison in February 1990, HIV/AIDS had yet to make its full impact on South Africa. Following his election as

Nelson Mandela with his son, Makgatho (right) in 2003, who died from AIDS-related illness in 2005

president four years later, Mandela faced huge challenges and like so many other world leaders at the time – failed to fully understand the depth of the problem and did little to help those with AIDS. At the time, the African National Congress (ANC) was gripped by an ongoing debate about both the causes of, and treatment for, AIDS. Some figures, like Thabo

Mbeki, Mandela’s successor as president, openly questioned whether AIDS was caused by HIV. After Mandela left office in 1999, he campaigned for more research into HIV/ AIDS, for education about safe sex and for better treatment for those affected. However, most South Africans still did not mention the disease in public.

Controversy within ANC According to UN figures, the rate of HIV infection among adult South Africans rose from less than one per cent in 1990 to about 17.9 per cent by 2012. South Africa is currently home to more people with the virus than any other country – 6.1 million of its citizens were infected

ist that “personally, I don’t know anybody who has died of AIDS” and that he did not know if he had ever met anyone infected with HIV. One of his ministers suggested that people with HIV eat garlic and beetroot to combat the infection. In November 2003, Mandela – and his Nelson Mandela Foundation – stepped up the campaign, launching an HIV/AIDS fundraising campaign called 46664, after his prison number on Robben Island. He compared the urgency and drama of his country’s struggle against HIV/ AIDS to the fight against apartheid.

HIV/AIDS in South Africa People living with HIV: 6.1 million Rate of infection in adults aged 15-49: 17.9 per cent Children aged 0-14 living with HIV: 410,000 Deaths due to AIDS in 2012: 240,000 Orphans due to AIDS aged 0-17: 2.5 million Source: UNAIDS 2012 with HIV in 2012, including 410,000 children (aged 0-14), out of a population of just over 51 million. The causes of an epidemic on this scale have been many – primarily poverty, but also economic migration, the poor status of women, and unsafe sexual practices have all contributed to the rapid spread of the disease. Apart from the human misery caused by AIDS, its economic impact has been huge, with South African economic growth rates badly affected. Having put the issue of AIDS on the back burner when in office, Mandela began to make strong pronouncements on the subject after he stepped down in 1999. On World AIDS Day in 2000, he sent out a hard-hitting message, saying: “Our country is facing a disaster of immeasurable proportions from HIV/AIDS. “We are facing a silent and invisible enemy that is threatening the very fabric of our society. “Be faithful to one partner and use a condom... Give a child love, laughter and peace, not AIDS.” Mandela said his country should promote abstinence, the use of condoms, early treatment, counseling and drugs to reduce mother-tochild transmission. Urgency At the time, there was a marked reluctance on the part of the South African government to fund anti-retroviral drugs for those with HIV. The then President Mbeki outraged many people when he told a U.S. journal-

Pop stars like Beyonce, Youssou N’Dour and Dave Stewart supported the campaign, and a star-studded concert, held in Cape Town in 2003, was seen by a worldwide television audience of two billion. The money raised by Mandela’s initiatives has been used to fund research projects and provide practical support for South Africans with HIV/AIDS. The campaign received a further boost in 2005, when Mandela shocked the nation by announcing that his son, Makgatho, had died of AIDS. He urged people to talk about HIV/AIDS “to make it appear like a normal illness”. It was a significant move, which had a huge impact, said Michel Sidibe, head of the UN’s AIDS agency UNAIDS. “The country has become a leader in the AIDS response because of Mr Mandela, and is moving towards an AIDS-free generation thanks to his campaigning,” he said. Mandela also became a central figure in the African and global AIDS movement, Sidibe said. “He was instrumental in laying the foundations of the modern AIDS response and his influence helped save millions of lives and transformed health in Africa,” he said. “He was a statesman who had AIDS at the top of his agenda and he used his stature and presence on the global stage to persuade world leaders to act decisively on AIDS. His legacy will be felt by generations.” (BBC)

A man for all seasons 1918 - 2013


“I saw my Mandela... and all I could do was cry” By Pumza Fihlani


undreds of people walked past me as I made my way to where Nelson Mandela lay in a wood and glass coffin – all I could hear was the sound of my heart beating hard against my chest. There were two queues – one on either side of the coffin. Four men dressed in white uniform stood guard around it. In front of them a petite policewoman directed the flow of traffic: “One to my left, one to my right, please,” she said as I approached. She was no more than a metre from me but her voice sounded distant – drowned out by the sound of my beating heart, now louder and faster. The path to the coffin was lined with a red carpet. I saw the casket before I reached it. There it was, the box that would imprison Mandela for all eternity. As I got closer, my knees felt weak and heavy. It was as though I had forgotten how to walk. “Left, right, left right,” I said in my head – an instruction I had never before needed to give myself. My heart was now beating even faster and louder. I have been to many funerals in

my life and filing past an open coffin is standard practice at funerals for black South Africans. But of all the funerals I’ve been to, I have only cried twice after seeing a loved one. The first was at my beloved grandmother’s funeral in 2002, the second was at the burial of my cousin, who I had always regarded as an older sister. And now for Mandela, a man I had no worldly relation to but deeply loved. I loved him more than I realised until I saw him lying there, lifeless. Something about Mandela made you feel like he was exclusively yours, whether you had personally met him or had merely been in the same space as him. He could be in a room of thousands of people, look in your direction and make you feel as though you were the only one who mattered to him. That is a rare and special gift. My time with him in that temporary wooden arch was exactly like that. There must have been eight people inside, four on either side but it felt like I was alone – my

Queues wound down the road for the chance to say a personal goodbye to Nelson Mandela. Johannesburg has been experiencing unseasonal rain since Mandela’s death. Rather than seeing the rain as a dampener, many in South Africa have welcomed it. Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said: “It’s a blessing from the ancestors welcoming a son of the soil”

moment to say goodbye to my Mandela. And muttered a salute “Ah Dalibhunga” – the name he was given as chief. It is a sign of deep respect in the Xhosa culture, which Mandela and I share. As I shuffled out of the arch, police standing on either side, I felt my shoulders shaking and tears burning behind my eyes. Madiba was gone.

There was none of the singing we had seen in the past few days, just people crying and holding each other – many of them strangers. I’ve written countless articles about Mandela and used the phrase “Father of the nation” quite liberally. But today – today I understood what that truly felt like and it filled my heart with overwhelming grief.

There he was, the man who made me believe that nothing was out of reach – that people of my skin colour were not inferior, regardless of what some in the country believed. Dressed in a yellow African print shirt, his coffin lined with white flowers, he lay there in mortality but still a giant. He didn’t look like a man who had battled terrible sickness and that was important for me. No-one wants to remember a loved one looking frail. I watched families and strangers embrace, I now in the arms of Helene, a white colleague who I had only met yesterday, both of us feeling utterly broken. It hit me – this is what he and many others who had passed before him had spent so many years in prison for. It was so a black girl from an unknown village could cry in the arms of a white girl from a faraway land, knowing that we felt the same pain – that for me was profound. I stood up, took one more look at the arch and walked away, thinking: “Madiba, you are still here.” (Excerpt from BBC News)


A man for all seasons 1918 - 2013

The world remembers

President Donald Ramotar signing the Book of Condolence for the late South African President Nelson Mandela at State House (GINA)


resident Donald Ramotar: “Nelson Mandela was a giant in defence of human rights and for a free and just society, not only for his beloved South Africans, but for the oppressed the world over. The world is much poorer after his passing for he was one of the most outstand-

ing statesmen of all time.” The struggle Mandela led with other distinguished anti-apartheid fighters has entered into the annals of world history as one of the most defining periods in our world. However, it was not only the struggle but the manner in which it was conducted which will always remain an example and an inspiration for others working for social and economic justice everywhere. He was truly the father of his nation, tirelessly devoting his life to serving the people of South Africa with humility and dignity in leadership, and an unwavering commitment to preserving that hard-won unity and the pride of liberation. Former South African President FW de Klerk: “Nelson Mandela’s biggest legacy was his commitment to reconciliation, was his remarkable lack of bitterness and the way in which he did

not only talk about reconciliation, but he made reconciliation happen in South Africa. He was a remarkable man and South Africa, notwithstanding political differences, stand united today in mourning this great, special man.” South Africa’s Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, a leading figure in the struggle against apartheid (pictured on the opposite page in purple): “He was a unifier from the moment he walked out of prison. We are relieved that his suffering is over, but our relief is drowned by our grief.” People’s Progressive Party/Civic: Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was “one of the greatest freedom fighters”. “But it was his ability to rise above the political fray, reconcile differences and bring together people from all across the political and ethnic divide that

defined him as a true and genuine statesman. For him, no sacrifices were considered too great in his struggle for a free and dignified society. Not even the suffocating and toxic environment of repressive apartheid rule was enough to silence him or weaken his resolve for an end to the hated system of apartheid rule...He is rightly regarded as the father of a free democratic and modern South Africa.” A Partnership for National Unity: Mandela never wavered in his devotion to democracy, equality, and learning. “Despite terrible provocation, he chose forgiveness instead of hate. His life has been and will continue to be an inspiration to all who are oppressed and deprived, to all who are opposed to oppression and deprivation around the world.” Alliance For Change: “A fountain of inspiration to millions across the world,

Nelson Mandela became the ultimate symbol of forgiveness and reconciliation. After quarter of a century imprisoned by the racist “Apartheid” system in South Africa, Mandela walked free choosing to reject hatred, revenge and bitter memories for the sake of unifying South Africa for the benefit of all...These are the quality of a great leader. May we all take from this exemplary life the great lessons of tolerance, engagement, justice, equality, reconciliation and hope. The Alliance For Change extends deepest sympathies to his family and the people of South Africa. Farewell Madiba.” European Union Ambassador Robert Kopecký and British High Commissioner Andrew Ayre: Mandela was a great defender of human rights. His devotion to freedom and democracy, his forgiveness towards his former enemies, and his momentous achievements in bringing peace and reconciliation to his country made him an inspiration throughout the world. Burnham foundation: Mandela was the African leader, who by his ideas and actions has put death to many of the myths perpetuated about African leaders. His ability to reconcile, having been persecuted by the apartheid regime; his decision to retire from public life when his power was not challenged or in question; and his management and fostering of a democratic and transparent society have made humanity and Africans in particular, where ever they are proud and provides the governance paradigm to which all can aspire. The respect Mandela has gained internationally is in large measure due to his courage, clarity of vision, ability to adapt without being opportunist, uncompromising when necessary, concern for the poor, promotion of a South Africa in which all people are treated as equal and enjoy equality of opportunity and his statesman-like leadership when he progressed from political prisoner to president. Caricom Chairman Kamla Persad-Bissessar: “Mr Mandela displayed qualities which defined the zenith of human behaviour. Forgiveness, humility, integrity and undying love for his fellow human beings, particularly for his country and its people were his hallmark. He led a life that which may make emulation almost impossible. His struggles, redemption and victory took us to the zenith of human possibility and left a legacy of inestimable value to the world.” U.S. President Barack Obama: Mandela was a “giant of history”, the last great liberator of the 20th century. “It is hard to eulogise any man… how much harder to do so for a giant of history,

who moved a nation towards justice.” Mandela had taught the world the power of action and the power of ideas, and that it had taken a man like Mandela to free not only the prisoner but also the jailer.: “We will never see the likes of Nelson Mandela again. While I will always fall short of Madiba (Mandela’s clan name), he makes me want to be a better man.” ANC deputy leader Cyril Ramaphosa: Mandela’s “long walk is over… and he can finally rest”. Current South African President Jacob Zuma: Mandela was “one of a kind… a fearless freedom fighter who refused to allow the brutality of the apartheid state to stand in the way of the struggle for the liberation of his people”. Cuban President Raul Castro: Mandela was the “ultimate symbol of dignity and the revolutionary struggle”. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon: There was “sorrow for a mighty loss and celebration of a mighty life”. “South Africa has lost a hero, it has lost a father… He was one of our greatest teachers. He taught by example. He sacrificed so much and was willing to give up all he had for freedom and democracy.” Friend and fellow Robben Island inmate Andrew Mlangeni: Mandela had “created hope when there was none”. Shahida Rowe from Johannesburg: “The core of Mandela’s life was humanity. That is why I am here today and the world is celebrating. Thanks to him, I was recognised as a human being.” Universal Society of Hinduism President Rajan Zed in Nevada: With Mandela’s death, the world had lost someone unique and brave, whose vision of humanity embraced all peoples and set a milestone for the world with his efforts in pluralism, common ground, equality, colourblindness, and coexistence. “Mandela, who symbolised the victory of the human spirit, made huge contributions towards creation of a just society and pursuance of social justice.” Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Director General José Graziano da Silva: “We have lost one of the world’s passionate defenders of the right to food. As a true champion of human rights, Nelson Mandela understood that the hunger of millions of people was unjust and unsustainable.” Pastor Gerrit Strydom of the Dutch Reformed Church: "After all the years we had him in prison, he could have turned around and made South Africa a bad place for our people. But Nelson Mandela was the one guy who brought people together.”

A man for all seasons 1918 - 2013


The CIA and Mandela A loophole in U.S. sanctions against Pretoria


owever irritated it may be by the new American sanctions legislation, the South African government must be relieved that active American assistance in the gathering of intelligence on the black opposition is now specifically protected by law. The bill enacted this month over presidential veto stipulates: “No agency or entity of the United States may engage in any form of cooperation, direct or indirect, with the armed forces of the Government of South Africa.” This seems clear enough, but there then follows a crucial exception for “activities which are reasonably designed to facilitate the collection of necessary intelligence.” Nelson Mandela has had plenty of time to ruminate on the consequences of close intelligence cooperation between the United States and the South African regime. It was one of these “activities” that landed him in jail nearly a quartercentury ago – an incarceration, incidentally, that the new sanctions law is aimed at ending The fugitive leader of the African National Congress (ANC) was arrested in August 1962 while driving through the town of Howick, in Natal Province, disguised as a

By Andrew Cockburn, New York Times, October 13, 1986

(Nelson Mandela believed in forgiveness and reconciliation. But he also believed in truth. He combined these aspirations in launching a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, which was pivotal in facilitating the various factions to move forward. In that spirit of reconciliation, the truth about the CIA’s role in the capture of Mandela, which has now been silenced, should also be told.) white man’s chauffeur. At his subsequent trial, he was sentenced to life in prison. Nowadays, of course, all shades of opinion in the United States are united in pleading for his release. Such pleas might be a little more heartfelt if it were generally appreciated that his arrest came as a result of a tip-off from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to the authorities. According to recent reports in The Johannesburg Star and on CBS News, Mandela was travelling to meet a CIA officer who was working out of the United States Consulate in Durban, the capital of Natal. Instead of attending the meeting, the CIA man told the police exactly where and when the most hunted man in South Africa could be found. The South Africans secured this momentous intelligence at something of a bargain, since the CIA’s price was advance information on the apartheid regime’s future poli-

cy for the Bantustans, the so-called homelands, which was hardly the government’s highest state secret. Ever since that time, official American disapproval of apartheid has been deepening: the argument in this country has been how rather than whether to bring about change. But all the while, cooperation in the vital area of intelligence

has been rolling merrily along. At the end of the 1960s, the CIA supplied advice and assistance in the creation of the infamous Bureau of State Security. In 1975, the CIA worked closely with the South African military in their abortive invasion of Angola. Sometimes the closeness of the cooperation surprises even professional American intelligence personnel. An Air Force intelligence officer who visited Pretoria in the fall of 1984, after a tour of black African capitals, was bemused to be summoned by the United States Air Force attaché to give an intelligence briefing on his travels in the frontline states to an expectant group of South African military intelligence officers. His refusal to assist in what appeared to him to be a shocking and unauthorised partnership resulted in the termination of his intelligence career. This summer, the American me-

dia carried well-attested reports on the assistance being rendered to the cause of white supremacy by the National Security Agency, which is responsible for the collection of communications intelligence. It is a matter of routine for this agency to comply with requests from Pretoria to monitor communications channels used by the ANC. This intelligence, which the Boers could not obtain on their own and which is invaluable to them for their war on the ANC, is handed over in return for data on Soviet shipping movements that Washington could gather, albeit more laboriously, by other means. The clause in the new law exempting intelligence cooperation from sanctions is the first overt omission that such trade takes place. Nevertheless, the administration feels ashamed enough of this squalid business to have denied its existence with the full force of Secretary of State George P Shultz’s credibility. Nelson Mandela must find it truly ironic that a law designed in part to secure his release goes out of its way to protect precisely those activities that brought about his capture in the first place.

Should Mandela have done more? By Moses Magadza, Zimbabwean journalist and editor


andela is indisputably an icon of resistance and his positive legacies should be evaluated alongside his negative legacies By now word has reached even the most far-flung corners of the earth. Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s founding president and world-acclaimed antiapartheid icon, is no more. South African President Jacob Zuma confirmed that President Mandela, who was 95, died on the evening of Thursday (December 5, 2013) in Johannesburg. President Zuma hailed Mandela as South Africa’s “greatest son” and said the former president was now “resting … at peace”. As the world’s citizens come to terms with Mandela’s passing on, focus has once again fallen on his legacy. An icon of resistance There can be no denying the fact that Nelson Mandela represented the last breed of the African continent’s valuedriven politicians who catalysed change in South Africa using all manner of means. Most importantly, Mandela was indeed the longest-serving political prisoner on the continent in recent history. That we cannot take from him; he was an icon of resistance against oppression and racialism in any form. In many respects, Mandela was a model of reconciliation. He was in a rare class that arguably includes Namibia’s Founding President Sam Nujoma in

terms of embracing and successfully bringing about reconciliation in an environment in which no-one would have anticipated it possible. Imagine someone rising in Afghanistan or in Iraq and bringing about reconciliation with the West that allows former American President George W Bush to take a beer in Kabul without being lynched…Viewed in this light, Mandela’s was a revolutionary form of reconciliation that he brought to bear on our accursed continent. He relinquished power unlike others Mandela is to be credited, also for introducing modern-era parliamentary democracy in Africa. From South Africa’s independence in 1994, it has been possible to change successive presidents without any bloodshed or any complaints from any quarter of rigging or malpractice. One can argue that by so doing, Mandela provided inspiration for both people in leadership and aspiring leaders. He served his term and left power without having to be ejected or rejected by the people. When he relinquished power, he sat back and let the new rulers run the show without interference. The beneficiaries from his struggles and his brand of leadership have been across the board; encompassing the young and old across gender. Mandela even allowed a discussion about gay and lesbian rights in South Africa to a point where now South Africa allows same-sex marriages. To that extent Mandela was for all-inclusiveness and a

plural society. With regard to doing something for women, Mandela ensured that there was some parity and equality among the sexes. If one looks at the African National Congress (ANC) which he led, one realises that it represented women very broadly and perhaps thanks to the foundation Mandela and his administration put, women in South Africa hold very key positions in government

for equal access to resources in the country. It is also hard to say at the drop of a hat what kind of laws came into effect during Nelson Mandela’s tenure and to what extent they promoted the welfare of women and children. Nevertheless, with respect to access to education, Mandela and his administration did well and today female students are well represented in the country’s institutions of higher educa-

Mandela, though controversial to some, had enormous appeal both at home and abroad, enjoying an extraordinary relationship with South Africans and the admiration of other global icons like Pope John Paul II. Ergo, some believe he would have done more

and industry. South Africa today has one of the highest proportions of women in parliament in Africa. In terms of the cabinet, the country has a substantial number of women holding ministerial and other senior positions. It is difficult to say what Mandela did for women in terms of economic development. However, given that the national cake in South Africa does not seem to be too male-dominated, it can safely be said that Mandela tried to lay the foundation

tion. This can be seen as a major achievement. Mandela’s negative legacies Mandela’s many positive legacies notwithstanding, some people find it ironic that with his seemingly big heart for reconciliation and forgiveness, he was unable to forgive his wife of many years and compatriot in the struggle, Winnie Mandela, for her alleged shambolic sexual behaviour. It is difficult to marry the two personas of Nelson Mandela.

There is a contradiction here. One of the things that stick out like sore thumbs as one of Mandela’s negative legacies is what can be said to be his selective amnesia. Having walked that often-cited long walk to freedom and come into power in Southern Africa’s biggest economy, he did not do what many would have expected: to acknowledge, in one way or the other, the contribution of the many countries that were battered by pre-independent South Africa in pursuit of the independence of that country. Those countries include Namibia, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. One would have expected Mandela to have gone an extra mile in the journey that was started by another African called Dr Kwame Nkrumah who famously declared that the independence of Ghana would not be good enough unless and until the rest of Africa was independent and that Pan Africanism as an ideal was to be pursued, or words to that effect. Accordingly, one of Nelson Mandela’s negative legacies is that South Africa is today to a large extent closed to the rest of Africa. It is more open to white people than to Africans. You are more likely to be required to produce a transit visa in Johannesburg if you are a black person from Africa than if you are coming from Washington. This is one of the legacies of Mandela that are difficult to understand. One would have expected that Mandela would have been at the frontline of acknowledging support –

through bloodshed and economic retardation – by countries that stood by South Africa in its hour of need. Until now there seems to be no plans to show any form of gratitude. The downfall of apartheid did not come merely by Mandela being in prison for 27 years. Many other people and countries – especially the Frontline States – played a major role in South Africans’ struggle. Prior to his death, Mandela spent a long time in hospital. Few African leaders visited him or said anything substantial about his health. While this trend is difficult to read, one can put it down to respect for his privacy and acknowledging that the end was not too far for the man who once famously said that one of his greatest regrets in life is that he never became the heavyweight boxing champion of the world. It seems heads of state and government in Africa followed the example set by America’s President Barack Obama of not being too intrusive into what was essentially a private family matter, particularly when it was common cause that Mandela was critically ill. While it is very difficult to judge Mandela on the basis of what he did or did not do while he was president of South Africa mainly because he got into power when EVERYTHING was being set up, the man, even in death, remains a highly polarised subject. It is possible that the debate around his legacy will rage on, even long after he has been laid to rest. (Courtesy Pambazuka 2013-12-10, Issue 658)



A man for all seasons 1918 - 2013

"When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace" - Mandela


undreds of South Africans, world leaders, celebrities and relatives of Nelson Mandela paid tribute to the late anti-apartheid icon. People from all walks of life queued outside the Union Buildings, in Pretoria, where Mandela was sworn in as South Africa’s first black president in 1994, to have a final look at Mandela’s face through a glass bubble atop the coffin. Before the public were allowed in, Mandela’s extended family, including his widow and former wife Winnie MadikizelaMandela filed past the casket. Former president Thabo Mbeki and South Africa’s current leader Jacob Zuma also paid their

respects. So did FW de Klerk, South Africa's last apartheid-era president who was awarded a Nobel peace prize with Mandela for ending white rule. Celebrities like U2 frontman Bono and top model Naomi Campbell also paid their respects as Mandela lay in state. Many wept; other just stared at the coffin in silence. A patrolling police officer stood meters away holding a box of tissues. Mandela will be buried at his ancestral home in Qunu on Sunday, December 15. Family “humbled” In a statement, the Mandela family said the proceedings were a “fitting tribute”. “As he lies in peace at the Union Buildings, Madiba would be happy to know he is surrounded by thousands of South Africans, whom he loved and served – or served with – in the prosecution of the just struggle for democracy, and in laying the foundations in 1994 for a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic South Africa,” they said. “We are humbled that millions of South Africans who loved him, stood by him through his trials and tribulations, supported him... can now join us in

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