Curiosity Issue 5

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Research . Rethink . Relearn

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Nelson Mandela: It's in your hands Like • Reply • 1h





4 EDITORIAL Living the legacy – Professor Zeblon Vilakazi 5


6 GUEST EDITORIAL Advocate George Bizos: A country for all its citizens 8 FEATURE At the end of the rainbow 12 It's in your hands 14 The Brothers Manhattan captured Mandela 16 More than Mandela’s wife 18 Sustaining a legend through song 20 PROFILE Dr Lindelwa Dalamba: Notes on South Africa through a jazz lens 22 mARTdiba 24 A hospital just as Madiba imagined it 26 The Mandela-Obama effect 28 Q&A The making of Mandela in the media 2




30 A Long Walk to Freedom vs the Mthatha Archives 32 Where does Daddy live? 34 The 47-year long Wits LLB that never was 36 Mandela: Pacifist or military strategist? The moment dictated the means



38 Creating collective memory 40 No new Mandela – yet 42 Brand Mandela: What’s in a name? 44 Dare not linger 46 Mandela: Walk a mile in his shoes 48 GUEST COLUMN Professor Adam Habib: Facets of a legacy 50 HISTORY Evolution of an anthem

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18 July 2018 was momentous because it marked the centenary of a remarkable leader who transformed our world and left a legacy difficult to emulate.

elson Rolihlahla Mandela would have turned 100 this year, but he didn’t – despite being a global icon, a strategist, a peacemaker, a pioneer, an elder and a leader. He said that we have limited time to spend on Earth and that time ought to be spent effectively. By the time we depart from this Earth, we should have left the world in better shape. This is one of the key aspects explored in this issue of Curios.ty, which celebrates 100 years of Madiba and his impact over a lifetime. Another unique feature of this issue is that almost every story demonstrates an intersection between Madiba, his life, and his alma mater, the University of the Witwatersrand, at different times, through different voices and lenses. He first registered as a student at Wits in 1943 and spent six years on the campus, a period of great difficulty for him as the only black student in the law school at the time. However, it was during his time at Wits that Madiba formed life-changing, long-term relationships with many people who fought alongside him against apartheid, defended him in court, and paid with their lives for the freedoms we enjoy today. These luminaries included Ruth First, Joe Slovo, Bram Fischer, JN Singh, Ismail Meer and Ahmed Kathrada. Advocate George Bizos reflects on their days at Wits in the following pages. Despite his early difficulties with Wits, Madiba accepted an honorary doctorate from the University in 1990. He

ABOUT CURIOS.TY Curios.ty is a print and digital magazine that aims to make the research at Wits University accessible to multiple publics. It tells the stories of pioneering research at Wits through the voices of talented researchers, students and academics. First published in April 2017, Curios.ty is published three times per year. Each issue is thematic and explores research across faculties and disciplines at the University that relate to that theme. This issue is themed MANDELA 100. The stories explore and pay tribute to the complex, multifaceted legacy of the late statesman, global icon and Wits alumnus. The font used in some sub-headings is based on Mandela’s own handwriting and was designed by Billy Argel ( 4

bequeathed funds to Wits in his will when he passed away in 2013, an indicator of his generosity. Madiba’s handwritten notes at the Rivonia Trial are held in Historical Papers at Wits, alongside important historical materials that are being digitised. The Mandela Institute, a research centre named in honour of Madiba, was established in the Wits School of Law in 2000. In 2004, Madiba attended the sod-turning of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, located on the University’s grounds in Parktown. This high-tech specialised facility opened its doors in December 2016 and serves as an important site for postgraduate specialist training and world-class clinical research involving Wits academics and researchers. There are the hundreds of students, academics, researchers, activists and leaders who studied every aspect of Madiba – his life, his policies, his roles – and many who interacted with him and walked alongside him over the decades. Their stories are reflected on the following pages and I hope that they will inspire you to live Madiba’s legacy today and in the future. Professor Zeblon Vilakazi Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Postgraduate Affairs

CONTRIBUTORS Shirona Patel Head: Communications Dr Robin Drennan Director: Research Development Reshma Lakha-Singh Public Relations and Events Manager Refilwe Mabula Communications Officer Deborah Minors Senior Communications Officer and Curios.ty Sub-Editor Schalk Mouton Senior Communications Officer and Curios.ty Editor Lauren Mulligan Multimedia Communications Officer and Curios.ty Creative Director Erna Van Wyk Senior Multimedia Communications Officer Buhle Zuma Senior Communications Officer

LAYOUT AND DESIGN Nadette Voogd COVER Design by Lauren Mulligan. Photograph by Louise Gubb PRODUCED BY: Wits Communications and Wits Research Office Fifth Floor, Solomon Mahlangu House, Jorissen Street, Braamfontein Campus East TEL. EMAIL WEB

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All material in this publication is copyrighted and all rights are reserved. Reproduction of any part of the publication is permitted only with the express written permission of the Head of Communications of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily the views of the University or its management or governance structures. © 2018



A number of Wits experts are featured in this edition of Curios.ty. View the profiles of all the researchers and contributors at:


Shireen Hassim is Professor of Politics at Wits, now seconded to the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WiSER). Her research interests are feminist theory and politics, social movements and collective action, the politics of representation and affirmative action, and social policy. She leads the Governing Intimacies: Sexualities, Gender and States in the Postcolonial World project. Her latest book project theorises why and how various feminist claims on the state are so easily incorporated without impacting the underlying state power relations, and those between state and society.


William Gumede is Associate Professor in the Wits School of Governance. He is the course leader in the School of Public Policy at the Central European University in Budapest; Founder and Chairman of the Democracy Works Foundation; and Chairman of ActionAid. He was former Deputy Editor and Managing Editor of the Sowetan newspaper. He is the author of best-selling books, including South Africa in BRICS (Tafelberg). He edited and wrote the introduction to Nelson Mandela: No Easy Walk to Freedom (Tafelberg).








Professor Achille Mbembe is a National Research Foundation A1-rated researcher in the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WiSER). He earned his PhD in History at the Sorbonne, Paris, in 1989 and a D.E.A. in Political Science at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques. He has written extensively on African history and politics. On the Postcolony was published in Paris in 2000 in French, and the University of California, Berkley, published the English translation in 2001. Wits Press published an African edition in 2015.


Professor Noor Nieftagodien holds the National Research Foundation Chair in Local Histories, Present Realities at Wits, where he is also the Head of the History Workshop and lectures in History. He is currently researching the relationship between local popular movements and the local state in the Vaal. He has published on aspects of popular insurgent struggles, public history, youth politics and local history, and co-edited a book on the history of the ANC. He previously co-authored books with the late Phil Bonner.


Dr Neo Lekgotla laga Ramoupi is a Senior Lecturer in History in the School of Education at Wits and he was a 2016-2017 AHP Postdoctoral Fellow. His research interests include human rights in education, decolonising curriculum education in Africa, African language policy in education, and the cultural history of Robben Island. He is a Ford Foundation International Fellow and a graduate of Howard University (USA) where he earned a PhD that explored the role of songs in the African liberation struggle.


Dr Bob Wekesa is a Senior Lecturer and coordinator of the Mid-Career Honours programme in Journalism and Media Studies at Wits. He is a research associate with the Wits African Centre for the Study of the United States and the Wits Africa China Reporting Project. His research focuses on the intersection of media and foreign policy and he is widely published in the fields of media, diplomacy and foreign policy. His PhD is from the Communication University of China.


A country for

its citizens

Advocate George Bizos SC is proud to call Nelson Mandela his life-long friend. After 65 years of friendship, Bizos knew Mandela intimately and worked with him closely. His friend, says Bizos, was committed to creating a better country for ALL its citizens.



met Nelson Mandela when I was in my first year at Wits University. The students were all called to a meeting, where we were informed that someone had complained to the government that there were black students sharing benches, and even walking around with white girls at Wits. But it was okay, the chairman of the meeting told us. It was all sorted out. The government had been told that it was just a “small group of leftists” that behaved so badly. At the time, I was four years older than all the other first year students, as I had missed a couple of years of school when I first came into South Africa as a refugee. I don’t know what had gotten in to me, but I put up my hand and said: “If it means fighting for equality for all of our fellow students, then I am a leftist, and proud of it.” The next day, the Afrikaans newspaper, the Transvaler, ran the headline Linksgesind, en trots daarop! (Leftist, and proud of it!), for their front page lead story. My name was mentioned in the article. Days later, I got a message that another Wits student wanted to meet me. His name was Nelson Mandela. I met him. We became friends. In the 65 years that I’ve been friends with Nelson Mandela, I represented him twice – in the Treason trial, and in the Rivonia Trial. It was I that convinced him not to end his six-hour speech in the latter stages of the trial with the words “I am willing to die”. At least, I pleaded, add the words “… if needs be”, which he did. We had grown close, Nelson and I. While in prison, we kept in constant contact. Nelson had asked me to look after his children while he was locked up, and I ran some errands for him. There were no secrets between Nelson and I, and, when he was released in 1992, the bond between us became even stronger. Never did we think we might fail. Never did we think we will not get to live in the South Africa that we were fighting for. A South Africa that belongs to ALL South Africans. At a rally in Soweto, two days after Nelson’s release, I was sitting with Arthur Chaskalson, who later became Chief Justice. We heard Cyril Ramaphosa’s voice over the sound system, calling for Arthur and me. Nelson wanted to see us. When we walked up to him, Nelson said that he wanted us to join him. “You want us to carry an ANC card?” we asked him. “I don’t want your R12,” he replied, referring to the cost of an ANC membership. “I want you to write the Constitution”. It took us four years to write the Constitution. We went all over the world to do research to write the foundation on which this democracy is founded. It didn’t just come willy-nilly. It was a strenuous process that involved a lot of considerations, careful wording and consultation with the best legal minds South Africa – and the world – had to offer. It is because of my commitment to this supreme law of the country that I refuse to resign. I am an old man of more than 90 years old. But my work is not done. During apartheid, a large number of people were killed by the Security Police. When the cases got to court, a lot of them were thrown out with a judgement that there was “no one to blame”. My colleagues and I at the Legal Resources Centre have just recently successfully overturned a judgement on Ahmed Timol, who was tortured and thrown from the 10th floor of the then John Vorster Square building in Johannesburg. There are 60 other cases like this. Until their judgements are reversed, I will not rest. It hurts deeply when people come up to me and say that Nelson Mandela was a sell-out. I reply by pointing them to the Freedom Charter. It starts with these words: “We, the People of South Africa, declare for all our country and the world to know: that South Africa

Advocate George Bizos.

“We, the People of South Africa, declare for all our country and the world to know: that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people.”

belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people.” The Freedom Charter was written, literally, by the people of South Africa. Ordinary people, like you and me. It was adopted by over 3 000 delegates in Kliptown in 1955. While Nelson was present at the Congress of the People, he was not actively involved in the writing of this great document, nor in its adoption, as he was banned, and had to hide on the outskirts to witness the event. Yes, Nelson Mandela was a great man – one of the greatest that the world has ever seen. He made unprecedented sacrifices to this country that he loved dearly. But Nelson never acted on his own. With every careful decision that he made – even when offered a deal to be released from prison – he first consulted with his colleagues, and the leadership of the ANC. The liberation of this country was never a one-man operation, and every decision made – whether right or wrong – was made for the benefit of all and especially for the future of this country. So, to those who say Nelson was a sell-out, I say you are in a minority and you don’t know what you are talking about. I am George Bizos. I am a refugee, and I am a friend of Nelson Mandela. C

Brett Eloff





It has been over two decades since democracy and diversity colourfully splashed South Africa. Yet the pot of gold eludes the rainbow nation. Nelson Mandela embodied kaleidoscopic reconciliation in 1994, but what is the prism fracturing his legacy in 2018? UFRIEDA HO



stone’s throw away from Wits University in Braamfontein is a small art gallery that this winter exhibited an artwork featuring Nelson Mandela with arm raised in Nazi salute, superimposed on the flag of the Third Reich. This was fiery artist Ayanda Mabulu’s statement on what he considers Mandela’s capitulation to white capital the moment that South Africa was being re-born as a democracy. It’s one person’s middle finger and artistic shock tactic, but it’s also a glimpse of the not-so-fringe factions that are angry, disappointed with the South Africa of 2018, and determined to slay dead-hero narratives.


Shortly after Mandela slipped into “belonging to the ages”, as former US president Barack Obama put it at Mandela’s memorial in December 2013, it signalled open season on Mandela’s halo. Mabulu’s “black Nazi” rendition of Mandela is just the most recent recasting of Mandela. Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema called Mandela a “sell-out”, before backpedalling and saying the “old man” made too many compromises. Former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe reportedly called Mandela “too much of a saint to white people” and when Winnie Madikizela-Mandela died earlier this year, some columnists and commentators didn’t fete her life for its extraordinariness in its own right, but did so by taking down her ex-husband Nelson Mandela by a few pegs first. Populists have leveraged the power of rhetoric and muddied the “woke” agenda to call for necessary chaos and nihilism. The distraction of Twitter echo chambers and the noise of shallow ahistorical analysis has also become a deafening distraction. At the same time, South Africa has arrived at the moment of Mandela Centenary celebrations with a resurgent invocation of the man for virtually every do-good cause. The contradictions and tension points of these divergent streams of thoughts raise the question of whether Mandela is a relevant guiding spirit for a South Africa of 2018, or if he’s a phantom, haunting the present with old missteps and compromises.


Professor Achille Mbembe of WISER (the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research) calls it “purgatory”, the limbo space Mandela’s legacy finds itself in as competing needs and agendas duke it out for prominence, five years after his death. “They are not sending him to hell, but are putting him in purgatory and there are terrible years ahead still for Mandela’s legacy. This is the typical cycle of what happens in post-colonial societies,” he says. Mbembe adds, “Those who are comfortable with the current situation hold onto a sanitised image of him. The younger generations still in search for radical transformation are keen to burn his memory because they need something that’s more threatening to the status quo, something insurrectionary, more directed to the present and the future than to the past.” Both narratives rely on a hyperbolic qualification of Mandela, Mbembe says, pointing out how exaggerations on both sides are simply not in tune with the historic figure that Mandela was. “There is a facile critique of Mandela that is ridiculous. It’s function is to cover our own cowardice. “There should be nothing more we can ask of him, he’s given all that he had to give. We should take responsibility for ourselves, for our present and for our future, in memory of what he did for South Africa, Africa and the human race at large,” says Mbembe. For him, to define Mandela’s legacy requires balance and historical context, in a country where deep inequalities grow deeper, fear and anxiety grips people, and technologies that are enabling in one way are, in another way, responsible for “democratising ignorance and stupidity”. “The drama of our time is the drama of wilful ignorance, of nihilism masquerading as radicalism, of parochialism pretending Nelson Mandela waves through the window of his cell at Robben Island. Jürgen Schadeberg Nelson Mandela depicted as Hitler in the controversial artwork by Ayanda Mabulu.


to be wisdom or common sense. This is the cultural background against which the struggle over Mandela’s image and legacy is unfolding. Viscerality is threatening to replace reason in the public sphere. We know that democracy cannot survive the loss of reason as a key means of exchange, communication and debate. If this trend is not properly arrested then we will end up seeing the very end of a reasoning public in favour of fake sentiments, passions and irrationality,” says Mbembe. For Professor Noor Nieftagodien in the Society, Work and Development Institute (SWOP) at Wits and the History Research Group, the challenge to debating Mandela’s legacy for 2018 relevance requires the framing of Mandela within an historical lens, to better understand the many facets of the man. The debates about his legacy also have to do with our contemporary political struggles and anxieties.


Nelson Mandela leaves the courtroom during the Treason Trial in 1953, Jürgen Schadeberg

Writing in the Daily Maverick in 2014, author and former Ruth First fellow at Wits, Sisonke Msimang identified four Mandelas: the unapologetic radical; the principled pragmatist; the teddy bear grandfather; and the strident social justice activist. She posed the question of whether Mandela’s decision to “prioritise forgiveness and reconciliation over justice and redistribution in 1994 was a wise one”, especially as racist incidents continue unabated and capital, opportunity and access remain out of reach for the majority of black people. She answered her own question in the piece with the historical framing of which Nieftagodien speaks. “It was clear that he [Mandela] was a man who responded sensitively and astutely to the contexts with which he was confronted. So the trait that bound those four personas was Mandela’s ability to make the right decision at the right moment,” writes Msimang. Nieftagodien says, “In the early 1990s the task ahead seemed simpler and more straight-forward because most parties agreed the main task was to end apartheid and inaugurate a democratic order.”

Captionand Winnie Mandela saluteCopyright Nelson their followers after he was released from the Victor Verster prison in 1990.


Graeme Williams

South Africans celebrate at the Union Buildings in Pretoria during Nelson Mandela’s inauguration in 1994.

Nieftagodien adds that the ANC and Mandela were aware of the deficiencies in the negotiated settlement. Mandela, it could be argued, took a pragmatic approach, focusing on the key objective of slaying the dragon of apartheid. It was hoped (perhaps naïvely) that, having political power, the new ruling party would be able to overcome the multiple problems bequeathed by apartheid. The likes of the Constitution, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission processes and even Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s declaration of South Africa as “The Rainbow Nation” would fill in the gaps in that honeymoon period of a “New” South Africa. Now, nearly a quarter of a century later, many promises have remained pie-in-the-sky for too many people. The realities are that there is deepening poverty that still affects the majority of black people, high unemployment, gender inequality, the unresolved land issue, racism and even the continued destruction of the environment. “It’s easy for Mandela to become the embodiment now of people’s frustration, but people need to remember that Mandela did not create these problems by himself, nor did he make these decisions by himself,” says Nieftagodien. He thinks, though, that it is healthy for South Africans to debate Mandela’s legacy, to have vociferous disagreements and deeper interrogation. For Nieftagodien, it’s at the heart of understanding what kind of a South Africa we want to build and the kind of South Africans we want to be. Like Mbembe, Nieftagodien says new rules of engagement need to apply. Sensationalism and political point scoring that polarise the debate into “saint” or “sell-out” camps he considers cheap shots and narrow agenda-setting. It’s a dangerous distraction to the bigger issue of fixing South Africa’s problems. “Moving forward we should be looking at the heart of the deep structural problems of society and about the policies and the collective decisions that will guide South Africa now,” he says. Ultimately, he says, no leader should be placed on a pedestal. Mandela himself never wanted to be placed on a pedestal, he points out.


Professor William Gumede from the Wits School of Governance, however, thinks that the “Mandela Effect” shouldn’t be written off as sentimental cheerleading for the memory of a dead man. Gumede says Mandela’s ability to inspire and the fact that he exited office untainted represents a gold standard for leadership

Paul Weinberg

that endures. It’s a worthy reminder in an era where leadership, vision and innovation is seemingly in short supply. South Africans won’t easily forget the images of Mandela being sworn in as the first democratic president; the Madiba jive, or the time he donned the number 6 Springbok jersey and walked into the Ellis Park rugby stadium. They won’t easily forget how it made them feel. Gumede says being able to invoke the mythology of Madiba Magic gets people to do better in their own spheres and to reflect on duty, sacrifice and action – especially in a fast world of clicktivism, hashtag glut and selfie overload. “Maybe the next phase for South Africa is not about the big, glamorous plans for growth and development but about just getting government to work and getting better leaders. We haven’t taken education seriously in this country post1994; our education system has got weaker. Prior to 1994 we had a lot more education outside the school system, within our communities, but after 1994 many Black people who had an education or opportunity moved out of the townships. As a result, today there’s much more segregation between whites and blacks and blacks and other blacks. And it’s along these lines that Mandela’s legacy has been polarised,” he says. Madiba Magic has the power to unify and reconcile. It’s why people put his beaming image on a T-shirt, knit a blanket, or give 67 minutes of their time each year in his memory to a good cause. “That was part of Mandela’s legacy – he could be many things to many people,” says Gumede.


And from the small magic Gumede points to what he considers Mandela’s ultimate living legacy: South Africa’s constitutional dispensation. In reviewing Mandela’s writings and speeches from the 1940s onwards it was clear, Gumede says, that Mandela was talking about democracy, not just freedom, even as the shackles of colonialism were firmly in place. That’s exceptional, he notes. Former Constitutional Court judge Albie Sachs said in a lecture on The Constitution as a framework for Struggle: “If we want further change, the way to get there is not to trample on the Constitution, but to stand on it. Not to abuse the Constitution, but to use it.” The gift of a constitutional dispensation is what defends the artist Mabulu’s right to paint exactly what he likes, and it’s what defends his detractors’ rights, too, to declare that they hate it. C


It's in hands Blaming Nelson Mandela for all that has gone wrong since South Africa’s new democracy is to give others – the ANC leadership, business and civil society – a free pass on what they could have done better, and to ultimately shirk responsibility from what we can do as individuals to make change happen. WILLIAM GUMEDE


laming Nelson Mandela for our current faults conveniently shifts introspection from the mistakes that the ANC and leaders subsequently made in power. Mandela’s historic contribution to the infant democracy was to help cobble together a broadbased consent for the new constitutional democratic order. The Mandela-era will indelibly be associated with the early formative years of the new democracy: the new policy-making process, building the new democratic institutions, the legislative overhauls, and the early trust building – so essential – between the different groups who once stared at each other over the barrel of a gun. Throughout the transition, his leadership helped to maintain the majority black poor’s trust and loyalty towards the ANC and for the new democratic order, as well as ease the fears of the predominantly white middle class, business and society frightened of black majority rule. Mandela was South Africa’s first national leader with cross-racial appeal, trusted by large majorities of all ethnic groups. This was crucial in the transition to bring blacks and whites – who viewed each other with suspicion – together across the divides. Mandela’s catch-all embrace is the reason why he contemporarily can be so many things to so many people. South Africa’s former president is no longer an ANC symbol. He is a South African symbol. He left behind a crucial historical endowment for the future: a leader who groups together the values that people who fought each other over centuries can jointly own. When forging divided peoples, as in South Africa, it is crucial that there are uniting founding fathers and mothers, which all conflicting groups readily embrace. Mandela also left South Africa a gold standard of leadership we can refer to when current and future leadership fails. He espoused leadership in his personal behaviour that was both ethical and honest, with a sense of duty and governance, according to the values of the democratic constitution and in the interests of the widest number of people, rather than for personal enrichment or


the interests of a small elite, ethnic group or political faction. After spending almost three decades imprisoned by the apartheid regime for his political activism against their brutal system, his ability to overcome his personal anger, bitterness and resentment to his former oppressors, and to partner with them to build a new more inclusive, just and equitable society, gives us an example of an almost super-human individual compromise for the greater good of society. Mandela is also the father of our constitutional dispensation. Unlike most post-independence African leaders and his ANC peers, Mandela firmly believed in democratic constitutional governance, even while he was a liberation fighter. More recently there has been criticism, wrongly, of provisions of our constitution that allegedly undermine redress policies. Yet, the constitution provides rules within which we govern, exercise power and resolve societal conflicts – and with amble space to pursue redress of historical wrongs. Mandela’s African nationalism was far more embracing and inclusive and non-racial in outlook than the narrow Africanism, populism and tribalism espoused by many leaders in the ANC today. While a fierce opponent of apartheid, Madiba was also a fierce opponent of the abuses, corruption and autocratic behaviour exhibited by fellow black leaders. For him, black solidarity stopped when his fellow black leaders behaved undemocratically or were corrupt or uncaring. Nelson Mandela was also proof that individuals can make a difference. To follow his example, individuals must become more involved in public activities, whether it is sitting on school boards, attending meetings of local municipalities or supporting community organisations and charities with money and time. Government's failure at multiple levels has prompted many citizens to withdraw where possible from using public services. Those who can afford access to private institutions do so, and avoid crumbling state hospitals or schools. They employ private security, rather than relying on the undependable police for their safety.

Lauren Mulligan

But many citizens who care deeply about South Africa are also now increasingly withdrawing from democratic activities and public life, while, understandably, focusing inwards on their personal and immediate family groups. They often argue that, as individuals, there is little they can do to change the rising corruption, indifference and lack of accountability by government and elected officials. Some white South Africans also perceive, because of their ‘whiteness’, they are not wanted in, neither can they influence public life, dominated by a predominantly black ANC government and elected representatives. On the other hand, some black South Africans argue that as individuals they are powerless, because they are not politically, socially or through family connected to the small ruling elite dominating the governing ANC. As paradoxical as it may sound, with government and elected representatives increasingly failing to perform their public duties – individuals, non-government actors and civil society organisations will have to not only double efforts to hold government and elected representatives accountable, they will also have to fill the public service delivery gap left by government and elected representatives’ failure. In fact, as government and public representatives disappoint, we urgently need a more social role for individual citizens, to counter such failure. Social solidarity with disadvantaged individuals from whatever colour must underpin the new social role for individual South Africans. Social solidarity across race will not only help break racial barriers and distrust, but it will lead to social stability, and help foster a common South Africanness. Not only would such a new social activism slowly but surely help build the South Africa of our dreams, it will also bring individuals new positive meaning and purpose to their own lives. With the hand he was dealt by history, Mandela has made his contribution within his capabilities, within his context and within his own sphere of influence – which was albeit wide. The rest is our responsibility. C


• F orm inclusive lobby groups of all race groups to protest against potholes and corrupt policemen at local level • Shame, shun and protest against corrupt government • Elect and support honest officials • Volunteer your time, skills or funding to help in a needy community, for instance, teach maths, life skills or sports at a poor school • Mentor a child in a poor household and ‘adopt’ his or her education by funding it • Go one step further, and ‘adopt’ his or her whole household by regularly helping and getting involved • Give your domestic worker or gardener practical skills like driving, reading, writing or first aid (PAY for the education of their children!) • Better-sourced schools can adopt or twin with less advantaged schools • Above all, make sure you become more socially active – irrespective of your political affiliation. Elect better leaders, and hold them accountable. For your company:

• Give shares of your company to ordinary employees, instead of signing deals with politically-connected individuals • Invest in a new kind of BEE – train artisans, plumbers, boilermakers and electricians en masse • Follow the example of South Korean, Japanese and Taiwanese companies after WWII – provide employees with skills, housing and bursaries for their children




Three brothers captured Nelson Mandela shortly before he became South Africa’s first democratically elected President in 1994. These brothers are the three rating agencies – Standard & Poor’s, Fitch, and Moody’s. Patrick Bond, Professor of Political Economy at Wits coined the nickname to describe state capture of a different kind that happened at South Africa’s democratisation.


hese brothers were far mightier and meddling than those famous siblings from Saxonwold. These three brothers from Manhattan have done much to mould the fiscal and monetary policies of South Africa’s Treasury and Reserve Bank. Bond says that Mandela’s relationship with these brothers has left South Africa, 24 years on, with the highest Gini income coefficient in the world. Mandela’s failure to spread more of the country’s wealth to the majority of the ’have nots’ has returned to tarnish his legacy. To some, Mandela is a sell-out who allowed an inherited economy to continue to benefit the rich at the expense of the poor. However, the question according to Bond is, “Did Mandela choose the economy South Africa has today? “Was he pushed, or did he jump? My sense is that people end up in conditions not of their choosing,” says Bond, the first policy drafter in Mandela’s administration in mid-1994. What Mandela faced in 1994 was an unpromising macroeconomic environment. The country had just come out of its longest-ever depression, from 1989-1993. The African National Congress (ANC) inherited a public sector deficit that had reached 9% of the GDP in 1993. However, the party that came to power had dampened the influence of those on the left of the ANC. The voices of the working class and the poor were weakened when many of their leaders and organisers were drawn into government and parliament. Bond also points to what he calls “masterful political management” by Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Alec Erwin, Trevor Manuel, Tito Mboweni and Maria Ramos, who were able to outwit the left and centre-left critics. There were other challenges during those early days that stifled economic growth. Just as South Africa was re-entering international markets, the economy was saddled with the repayment of a $25 billion foreign debt and rapid deindustrialisation – the result of joining the World Trade Organization on adverse terms. The newly democratic South Africa, through pressure from the Clinton Administration, had been classified as a transitional country not as a developing country. A result of this, according to Bond, was that labour intensive firms – including clothing manufacturing, textiles and appliance industries – failed. All the while, the rich got richer. The wealthy one percent of South Africans found their share of the national income rise from 11% in 1991 to 20% by 2002. Helping the rich was a corporate tax rate that declined from 56% in 1994 to 28% today. Meanwhile, by 2008, soaring interest rates had left 20 million South African borrowers with what the National Credit Regulator called ‘impaired credit profiles’ – these being people who had missed at least three payments. Also, in that time, the South African state spent less as a share of the GDP on social programmes than did any of the world’s top 40 economies besides China, India and South Korea.

“Was he pushed, or did he jump? My sense is that people end up in conditions not of their choosing." South Africa today has an official unemployment rate of 26%. Counting those who have given up looking for jobs adds another 10%. Employment prospects have been ravaged by corruption and the divide between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ has never been wider. “Mandela decided not to fight certain fights,” says Bond. The BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa] countries don’t offer much hope either. “They too have rising inequality rates”, explains Bond. Only Brazil has stemmed this through fiscal support to welfare and a large increase in their minimum wage.

CIVILIAN COUNTER-REVOLUTIONARIES But not all is lost, according to Bond. He refers to the “fourth industrial counter-revolution” – this is ordinary citizens working for a better society, outside of government. An example of these counter-revolutionaries, says Bond, are those South Africans who refuse to pay their e-toll bills. “The spirit here is not bottom-down, it is bottom-up,” says Bond. The shining example of ordinary folk bringing about change was when the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) pushed government to roll out AIDS medicines, and the de-globalised production of generics. The TAC was able to win this at the World Trade Organization in 2001 and the rollout of generic anti-retroviral drugs to four million HIV-infected South Africans began in 2004. South Africa’s life expectancy rose from 52 to 64 years as a result. “The TAC was proof that we could do it. Ordinary people raised the life expectancy,” says Bond – and Mandela had his hand in this. By then Mandela had left the Presidency and the influences of the three brothers from Manhattan. Mandela famously donned that T-shirt that read “HIV positive” and in doing so threw his support behind the campaign to save the lives of millions of South Africans. C

Lauren Mulligan



Winnie Madikizela-Mandela married Nelson Mandela on 14 June 1958, just six years before he was sentenced to life imprisonment. Before Mandela’s incarceration and throughout it, Madikizela-Mandela waged her own war against apartheid and patriarchy. The couple divorced on 19 March 1996 after 38 years but the Mother of the Nation was much, much more than the former president’s wife.


o other woman – in life and after – occupies the place that Winnie Madikizela-Mandela does in South African politics. A stalwart of the African National Congress (ANC), she nevertheless stands above, and at times outside, the party. Her iconic status transcends political parties and geographical boundaries, generations and genders. In her particular life, we may see more clearly the violence wrought by colonialism and apartheid, the profound consequences of fraternal political movements to whom women were primarily ornamental. Her political power stemmed from the visceral connection that she was able to make between the everyday lives of black people in a racist state, and her own individual life. Fearless in the face of torture, imprisonment, banishment and betrayal, she stood firm in her conviction that apartheid could be brought down. She said what she liked, and bore the consequences. Her very life was a form of bearing witness to the brutality of the system.


Many obituaries will outline the broad sweep of her life; few will mark the extent to which her revolutionary ideas were shaped before she even met Nelson Mandela. To most of her social circle in the 1950s, for a long time into the 1980s, and certainly for Nelson Mandela’s biographers, Madikizela-Mandela was a young rural naïf who charmed the most eligible (married) man in town. This way of seeing her as primarily beautiful, and not as an emerging political figure, has coloured both contemporaneous accounts of Madikizela-Mandela (for she was surely too young and beautiful to have a serious political idea) as well as scholarly accounts of the period (which focused on the thoughts and actions of men). This misrecognition resonated in the ANC, which had no way of accommodating Madikizela-Mandela’s political qualities other than by casting her in the familiar tropes of wife and mother. Astutely, she embraced the role of mother and wife of a political leader and fashioned it into a platform for her own variant of radicalism, drawing on recent memories of the forcible dispossession of land and its impact on the Eastern Cape peasantry, and black consciousness. She kept those traditions alive in the ANC, especially in the everyday politics of the townships, when the leadership of the party was crafting new forms of non-racialism and at times vilifying black consciousness. Even though she was not part of the inner circle of the black consciousness movement, being older than the students leading it at its height, she was an ally in words and spirit.


In the tumult after the 1976 uprising, she built a bridge between different political factions. In the early 1990s, when Nelson Mandela was urging armed youths to give up violent strategies, it was Madikizela-Mandela they called on (along with the then leader of the South African Communist Party Chris Hani) to defend their change in tactics. She played a similar role in brokering between moderates and radicals in the ANC and its breakaways up until her death. This was a form of gendered politics made possible by her status as mother of the nation, uniting warring sons and holding together her political family, even if peace was maintained only in her presence.


Winnie Madikizela was born in a rural Eastern Cape village called Bizana in September 1936. Her parents, Columbus and Gertrude, were teachers and her childhood was marked by the stern Methodism of her mother and the radical Africanist orientation of her father. Rural life, with its entrenched gender roles, shaped her childhood. Not only was she aware of her mother’s desire to bear another son, but she and her sisters were expected to care for their male siblings. She was barely eight when her mother died months after giving birth to Winnie’s brother. Her childhood was cut short, and she had to leave school for six months to work in the fields and to carry out, with her sisters, all the daily chores of the household, from preparing food to cleaning. In her large and rambunctious family in which her parents upheld discipline with physical punishment, she learned to defend herself with her fists, when necessary. Her rural background made her aware of land dispossession as a central question of freedom. By her own account, she learnt about the racialised system of power early in her life. She was to retain the theme of land dispossession by colonialism throughout her political career. Associated with this was the idea that race was central to colonialism. Taught by her grandmother that the source of black suffering was white power, her framing of politics was defined completely by the ways in which her family understood the relations of colonialism, and by their personal experiences of humiliation.


After six short years together, Madikizela-Mandela’s husband, Nelson, was sentenced to life imprisonment. By this stage, she too was inextricably involved in the national liberation movement, politics with single parenting. She was attuned to the mood of the people, and was more of an empathic leader than a theorist or tactician. Madikizela-Mandelas joined the ANC Women’s League and the Federation of South African Women, and participated in several

“An ode to Winnie”, controversial artist Ayanda Mabulu’s artwork depicts Winnie Mandela.

campaigns. She was militant to the core. On one occasion, when a policeman arrived at her house with a summons and dared to pull her arm, she assaulted him and had to defend herself in court for the action. She was far from being a bystander, or a passive wife patiently waiting for her husband’s release from prison. In her autobiography, Madikizela-Mandela credits several other women for influencing her politically. Among these were Lilian Ngoyi, Florence Matomela, Frances Baard and Kate Molale, all leaders of the Federation. For her, they were the “top of the ANC hierarchy” although at the time no women were in fact in any formal leadership positions in the ANC. The ANC only allowed women to become full members in 1943, and during the 1950s, women were locked in an intense battle for recognition within the movement. Gender was her political resource, enabling her to draw on effective qualities to form political communities and providing a mode in which she could enter into the lives of people in the townships. She embraced the role of mother and wife of a political leader and fashioned it into a platform from which she challenged the apartheid state. The ANC could barely contain the nature of leadership that Winnie represented. Like many women in the movement, she was marginalised from its powerful decision making structures. Unlike

male leaders, her personal life was constantly under the spotlight (no doubt aided by a zealous security machinery that kept her under constant surveillance), and she was judged harshly and unfairly for her private choices. Although she was a masterful player of the familial categories of wife and mother, she felt reduced by them too. Commentators like to use words such as "maverick" and "wayward" to describe her, but these tendencies developed because the regular structures of the ANC could not easily accommodate a powerful woman with a radical voice. Stepping outside the agreed parameters of the official party line, as she frequently did, was a form of asserting her independence, a form of refusal of the terms of political cadreship that were available to women in the ANC and in society more generally. The endless stream of photographs that picture her in romantic embrace with Nelson Mandela, even now in her death, and despite their divorce, miss this fundamental point: the marriage was only a small part of her life, not its definitive point. To present her simply as wife, mostly as mother, is to erase the many struggles she waged to be defined in her own terms. This is an edited version of the article first published in The Conversation Africa on 3 April 2018. C



THROUGH SONG Songs written and sung about Mandela celebrate his political activism, 27-year-long incarceration, his presidency of party and country, his retirement, and death. The oeuvre symbolising the life of the man whom Amnesty International chose as its Ambassador of Conscience in 2006, is expansive. These are a selection of the most evocative. NEO LEKGOTLA LAGA RAMOUPI


rguably, no other leader in history and human rights has had so many songs of freedom, protest, struggle, liberation, love and admiration composed in their name. Two illustrations demonstrate this: Firstly, the Free Nelson Mandela Music Festival Concert held at Wembley, England, on 11 June 1988 for Mandela’s 70th birthday. In the foreword of this concert book, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, writes, “June 11, 1988 is a date which will be written indelibly into the history of our freedom struggle. The great gathering in Wembley Stadium of artists from all over the world to pay tribute to our cause was a source of great inspiration to all our people.” Mandela was still in prison at the time.


Secondly, the 46664: The Event at Green Point Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa in 2003. This time, Mandela was there in person to host this triumphant African musical extravaganza. These songs, despite being in Mandela’s name, are the songs of the people of South Africa, Africa, and for the global community of international solidarity. Mandela’s struggle, from his birth in 1918 – eight years after the establishment of the Union of South Africa in 1910, and six years after the formation of the ANC – through his inauguration as the first African president of South Africa on 10 May 1994, symbolises not only the Africans’ struggle for freedom and liberation, but also for humanity. The Mandela name was kept alive in South Africa’s townships

BLACK PRESIDENT (1990) BY BRENDA FASSIE The year 1963 The people's president Was taken away by security men All dressed in a uniform The brutality, brutality Oh, no, my black president Him and his comrades Were sentenced to isolation For many painful years For many painful years Many painful years Of hard labour They broke ropes But the spirit was never broken Never broken Oh, no, my, my black president He broke ropes But his spirit was never broken Never broken Oh oh oh, my president Now in 1990 The people's president Came out from jail Raised up his hand and said 'Viva, viva, my people' He walked the long road Back, back to freedom Back, back to freedom Freedom for my black president Let us rejoice for our president Let us sing for our president Let us pray for our president Let us sing, let us dance For Madiba gave us freedom We thank you Lord For listening to our prayers Night and day Oh oh oh, my president Madiba Zulu /Xhosa lyrics My president I will die for my president I will sing for my president I will stand and say Viva, viva, viva, viva, viva, viva. and rural areas and in Africa through song, particularly after the apartheid government banned his image and name in any media after he was sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island in June 1964 after the Rivonia Trial. “Mandela’s cause was the people’s cause”, commented eminent South African jazz musician Jonas Gwangwa in the 2013 documentary, Music for Mandela by Canadian filmmaker, Jason Bourque. In this regard, the book, Blues People: Negro Music in White America (1963) by Amiri Baraka resonates with the South African context:

Wits University students enjoy the music at the Free Peoples Concert, held on 23 February 1973. Josh Spencer

JOHNNY CLEGG, ASIMBONANGA (1987) Asimbonanga (We have not seen him) Asimbonang' uMandela thina (We have not seen Mandela) Laph'ekhona (In the place where he is) Laph'ehleli khona (In the place where he is kept) Oh the sea is cold and the sky is grey Look across the island into the bay We are all islands till comes the day We cross the burning water. “As I began to get into the history of the music, I found that this was impossible without at the same time getting deeper into the history of the people. That it was the history of the people ... That the music was explaining the history, as the history was explaining the music, and that both were expressions of and reflections of the people!” Similarly, Hugh Masekela, “the father of South African jazz”, said, “Song is the literature of South Africa”. Without these songs, the majority of which focused on Mandela, we cannot narrate our history. Amongst many others, Miriam Makeba,

“It is music and dancing that makes me at peace with the world and at peace with myself” – Nelson Mandela Lucky Dube, Stevie Wonder, Sting, Chicco Twala, Vusi Mahlasela, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Tracy Chapman, Salif Keita, Youssou N’Dour, Burning Spear, Shabba Ranks, and Carlos Santana wrote songs and sang about Mandela. Arguably two of the most famous South African recorded songs about Mandela are by South Africans. These are Brenda Fassie’s Black President (1990) and Johnny Clegg’s Asimbonanga (1987). The apartheid government banned Asimbonanga. Twenty-five years later, Clegg, the “white Zulu” of South African music, received the Order of Ikhamanga from former president Jacob Zuma on 27 April 2012 for his musical contributions during the struggle. C








A patriot at heart, Dr Lindelwa Dalamba is enchanted by South Africa’s cultural history. She is a musicologist and jazz historian in the Wits School of Arts with a particular interest in South African jazz history in exile. This, she says, is a lens for her to study the country’s past.


ooking at South African jazz history is one way to look at South African history. South African jazz history is a means to get into parts of our past. You can’t get enough from the music itself in terms of South African jazz without looking at the history of this country and how it shapes the music and how other people imagined it,” says Dr Lindelwa Dalamba. Her interest in South African history was sparked during her undergraduate studies at Rhodes University where she majored in music, history and English. At the time, the music stream of her degree did not teach South African jazz or South African music of any kind. She subsequently saw this as a gap, which she tapped into for her Master’s degree at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, studying jazz legends, Miriam Makeba, Joe Mogotsi, and Hugh Masekela. Her PhD from Cambridge University went beyond the borders of South Africa and focused on the social and musical dynamics of South African jazz in Britain.


Dalamba’s path in jazz was carved from an early age. Having grown up listening to jazz, it was almost obvious that she would play it as well when she learnt to play music. Her father, who was an avid jazz enthusiast, introduced her to the genre when he first brought home LPs of classic South African jazz. The East London born music historian, started playing her first musical instrument – a recorder – in Grade 2, at the age of eight. By the time she got to Grade 7, Dalamba was playing so well that she decided to try playing the saxophone and the flute. But it was the saxophone that eventually won her heart and she would spend hours over weekends with her new-found love with a saxophone that she borrowed from school. Her father later gave her a saxophone – a gift she says was one of her best ever from her father. “I will never forget that day. It was on my birthday and I was busy practicing when I saw my dad come out of the car, brandishing this thing and I could see it was a saxophone case – I immediately ran to him and hugged him. That saxophone was my passport to everything,” she beams. As a young trained instrumentalist who grew up in a femalecentric family, Dalamba dispels the myth that jazz is only for males and older people. “Patriarchy was never naturalised in my family. It is important to show that music does not 'naturally' belong to or is more comprehensible to a specific demographic.”


The jazz fundi joined Wits in 2012, soon after her PhD and a year before the passing of former statesman, Nelson Mandela. The month of July saw the world celebrate the centennial birthday celebrations Mandela – an iconic global leader who was hailed in many songs such as Free Nelson Mandela, Asimbonanga, Black President and others. Dalamba says Mandela inspired music across the globe. “Mandela was a musical symbol. Many artists paid homage and Dr Lindelwa Dalama.

Lauren Mulligan

“Songs about Madiba remind us about the history of South Africa.” tribute to him in their songs. He was one of the many struggle heroes that had an interesting relationship with musicians and also inspired their music. Songs about Madiba remind us about the history of South Africa,” she says. Born in the mid '80s during political upheavals in the country, Dalamba is fascinated by musical history and how jazz music tells the story of South Africa. “Jazz music was a form of expression and communication about the challenges of the country during the apartheid era. Through jazz, we are reminded of the scars of the country’s past.” She uses the late jazz veteran, Hugh Masekela’s music as an example to explain this hypothesis. “Hugh’s music reminded us of the townships, it reminded us of stories that actually gave birth to this jazz, the people who gave birth to this music and the spaces that gave birth to this music that we have now forgotten, because the music has moved to the urban spaces.” Most importantly, with his song, Thuma Mina, which President Cyril Ramaphosa quoted in his inaugural State of the Nation Address, “Hugh Masekela reminded all politicians what it means to be a committed politician,” she says.


As a young jazz history lecturer who has been in academia only for a few years, Dalamba is proud of the growth of the study of South African jazz history in her School. Her blossoming career as a Wits academic is one of her greatest achievements, contributing to the University’s research output. “When I arrived at Wits, there were hardly any jazz history students. I would supervise people doing popular music only. Today I don’t even have space, because every single student of mine is doing South African jazz history.” When it comes to her work, she is inspired by Wits alumnus, Professor Christopher Ballentine, who was her Master's supervisor. She tries to be similarly inspiring to her students and always lends a hand. Her students, who are from the post-apartheid era, intrigue her as they have different perspectives to she who comes from the transitional generation. She is always pleased to see her students progress. “I love seeing an undergraduate student decide to pursue postgraduate studies in South African jazz.” Like her favourite jazz musician, Charles Mingus Jr. who was an American jazz double bassist, pianist, composer and bandleader, Dalamba wants her students to not only enjoy and play jazz music, but to become historically cognisant of it. C


mARTdiba Art is a permanent record of the time. History and words can interpret and alter facts, but an artefact captures a moment, frozen in time. The art of Mandela and Mandela as art are treasure troves of iconic art. LEM CHETTY



n Nelson Mandela’s personal office in Houghton, there is a stately wooden desk covered in brightly coloured cattle figurines. The artworks form part of a vast collection of gifts to Madiba, the beloved icon whose image artists preserved in wood, copper, bronze, clay, ink and on canvas. The Nelson Mandela Foundation’s Verne Harris chuckles when he recalls the cattle. “Madiba avoided saying what his favourite things were, because it excluded people, but if he liked something, it would go to his office or to the house. The porcelain herd he loved because it reminded him of his actual cattle in the Eastern Cape,” says Harris. In a basement of the Foundation’s offices, Harris opens a vault that houses “Madiba Art” that has been catalogued and curated over the years. “Value is subjective. Some of it is fantastic, some quite grotesque,” Harris says, recalling a bust of Madiba in papier-mâché, painted gold, that was created by a prisoner in Johannesburg. The Foundation went to visit the prisoner to thank him for the effort, says Harris. The vault is filled with macabre masks, statuettes, and endless rows of paintings, including one from actor Robert De Niro, whose father was a renowned artist. A gift from Michelle Obama, former first lady of the USA, is a bizarre three-armed bronze of Dr Martin Luther King, but most of the art depicts Mandela himself – in every medium, form and size imaginable. Another art haul is expected for Mandela’s centenary – this is apart from street art around the world that depicts Mandela in mosaic, graffiti and abstract pieces as far as Venice Beach, Los Angeles; Paris, France; and Bristol, England. “I think artists depicting Madiba make the mistake of not interpreting him. Just trying to depict him was not easy at all. But it also loses his soul,” says Harris. “Zapiro [cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro] does a great job of depicting his personality. The cartoons are my personal favourite,” he says, revealing an ink drawing by a US cartoonist of former first lady, Graça Machel and Madiba, beaming from their disproportionate caricatured faces. Whether as street art for a hair salon, murals, or towering statues around the world, Mandela was humble about art dedicated to him, says Harris. The nine metre bronze statue at the Union Buildings in Pretoria – as famous for its grandeur as for the fact that the sculptor hid a tiny rabbit in Mandela’s ear – had people up in arms because they felt it disrespected the icon. Harris says the Foundation did not take a position on it, because Mandela was shy about grand gestures in general. “When he got back from London from unveiling a statue in Parliament Square he said, ‘Please, don’t make any more statues of me.’ I think he was awkward about the iconographic nature of it,” says Harris. There is a cache of valuable Mandela art, some priceless, such as the famed South African artist, Marlene Dumas’ painting held at the Apartheid Museum. For curator and Wits alumna, Natalie Knight, who produced one of the biggest exhibitions of professional art dedicated to Mandela at the Origins Centre at Wits in 2012, it is in the eclectic and unusual that you see the adoration of Mandela. Her favourites include the works by Joachim Schonfeldt, circular paintings depicting Mandela’s life in the townships, Jane Makhubele’s Madiba shirts made from goldplated safety pins, and Collen Maswanganyi’s sculpture, Fruits of the Long Walk to Freedom. “These works I have kept in my personal collection – except for the sculpture by Collen which was sold after the show. A work that I find particularly poignant and that I am exhibiting in the 2018 show is a work by Velaphi Mzimba. He created his work on an old door that he found in his garage. He chose the moment that

All the artists showed their love and reverence for Mandela – except for artist Alfred Thoba, who was critical of Mandela and the ZCC Mandela was released after 27 years in prison, and he based it on an extract from the book, The Long Walk to Freedom: ‘As I walked out of the door towards the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew that if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison’,” said Knight. One of the highlights of the exhibition was a lithograph, titled Tennis Court, by Mandela himself. Knight recalls another show, which she curated in London at the South African Embassy in 2013, a few months before Mandela’s death. “The theme was, We love Mandela. All the artists, including cartoonist Zapiro, known for his vitriolic depictions, showed their love and reverence for Mandela – except for artist Alfred Thoba, who was critical of Mandela and the ZCC [Zion Christian Church],” she said. There are several exhibitions scheduled for the centenary. Music, art and theatre will converge to remember and honour Mandela. Whether priceless kitsch or invaluable artefact, it's all testament to the ideals that Mandela stood for, and for which South Africa and the world yearn. As Knight says: “Art is a permanent record of the time. History and words can interpret and alter facts but a painting captures the moment and it is frozen in time. Mandela’s invaluable contribution should never be underestimated. His name and legacy should be acknowledged and revered.” C



CopyrightHospital is a facility that “Madiba would be proud of”. The Nelson Mandela Children’s

A hospital just as Madiba envisioned it

Lauren Mulligan

Based at Wits University, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital is a true icon of the legacy that South Africa’s favourite son has left behind. UFRIEDA HO



ou have to look pretty hard to find an image of Madiba in the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH). That’s the point about real legacy – it doesn’t need a plaque, a statue or even a hashtag to manifest. In fact, the majority of the young patients at the NMCH don’t remember when Madiba was president. They don’t know his story of sacrifice, revolution and looking on tempests and not being shaken. History lessons will be for another time for these patients. Their and their carers’ priority is for them to heal – perhaps exactly as Madiba would have wanted. Bearing Mandela’s name, though, does mean the hospital must deliver. On a wintery June morning, the one-year-old hospital in Parktown seems way too quiet. There is no buzz of people waiting, staff making rounds, and no children playing on the gleaming playground equipment. Public relations officer, Lulu Herkt, takes on board all these first impressions that she knows emanate from bad press when the hospital seemed behind schedule, and in a funding crunch. South African healthcare, after all, has a shocking track-record and there’s a glut of white elephants masquerading as service delivery. Her response comes in the form of a hospital tour. At radiology, one of the first sections to open at the hospital, there are murals of giraffes with peeping antlers reaching for the stars. The beds are thoughtfully child-sized and even the MRI scan chamber is customdesigned for a small human. Beyond the pristine and prettiness the radiology department has successfully relieved the patient load on the Charlotte Maxeke and Chris Hani Baragwanath hospitals and given access to high-tech digital imaging for more children. “We are a referral and academic hospital, which is why it may seem quiet at times. We don’t want to open departments with fanfare then fail because we haven’t planned properly. That’s why we’re opening in phases,” says Herkt. South Africa’s icon was always present in the minds of those involved in planning the hospital. “He was the elephant in the room,” says Professor Keith Bolton, former Chief Executive of the NMCH, of how Mandela – although absent – came to be part of virtually every decision around planning a hospital like the NMCH. “Just thinking about his vision made you want to do things better, to think bigger,” says the paediatrican, who never met Madiba but was hooked from the moment that the Chief Executive of the NMCH Trust, Sibongile Mkhabela, approached Wits University’s team of paediatricians over a decade ago, saying: “The old man wants a hospital”. “We couldn’t get the 3 000-bed hospital we hoped for, but we did get a hospital that has the intention to be run as a private hospital but is accessible to every child, whether or not they can pay,” says Bolton. Wits donated the land for the hospital. Being just metres from the Wits Faculty of Health Sciences and its teaching hospital, the

“This is Madiba’s living legacy.” Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital, the former hockey field that was part of the Education Campus was a perfect fit. Wits would also be the affiliate university to the NMCH. The board of trustees in turn had to raise the R1 billion needed to ensure the hospital could fill the gaps required of a specialised tertiary and quaternary institution. Tertiary and quaternary refers to specialised care available in referral centres. Bolton retired two years ago from the NMCH board, but at 72-years-old still works mornings at the Rahima Moosa Hospital. He admits that the NMCH retains a special place in his heart. “Once a week we have an X-Ray and MRI assessment day. When I’m told the X-rays were done at the NMCH, I do get a tear in my eye,” he says. The NMCH is run by a trust, with Nelson Mandela’s wife, Graça Machel, as its Chairperson. It survives on fundraising, but clinical staff are paid by the state. “We don’t want to drain the public healthcare system of health professionals who might flock here for better pay, or for the NMCH to be another hospital under pressure with casualty in-patients,” says Herkt. “We’re trying a different model.” One of the things that are different to other hospitals is the family-oriented healthcare. There are no set visiting hours; there is accommodation available for parents; siblings’ play areas; lounges with Wi-Fi; and social workers to explain operations and give support. Dr Despina Demopoulos is a paediatric intensivist. In her ICU unit there are children desperately ill, but she’s smiling. A baby on a sophisticated blood cleaning and pumping machine has the best chance of recovery, and a toddler with severe pneumonia is going to be just fine, she says. “It’s been a dream to be part of the NMCH team. One of our patients’ dads said to us recently ‘Madiba would have been proud of you’ – that’s thanks enough,” she says. The NMCH is at its fledging stage, but Bolton says it cannot be allowed to fail. “It has to be a hospital of true integration of services, accessibly and collaboration on all levels, just as Madiba envisioned,” he says. Staff get emotional when speaking about working in a hospital that bears Madiba’s name. As Herkt continues her informal tour, she’s interrupted by a surgeon who has good news: the NMCH surgery team say they will be ready to hit the target of completing 100 general surgeries in July. It will coincide with the Mandela centenary celebrations, just as they had hoped. Herkt beams at the news: “This is Madiba’s living legacy.” C



or many people in Africa, the US and around the world, the apex of the Mandela centennial celebrations was the delivery of the 16th annual Nelson Mandela Lecture on 17 July 2018 by former US president, Barack Obama. In a sense, the curtain-raiser event took on the semblance of the main event – Mandela’s 100th birthday on 18 July 2018. It should not come as a surprise that most news on the Mandela centennial captures Obama and conversely, news on Obama in recent weeks encompassed discussion on Mandela. A phenomenon that can be referred to as the Mandela-Obama effect has emerged, which fuses the personas of the two great men. Beyond the starry-eyed comment and reportage before, during and after Obama’s Mandela speech, there are deeper points of significance worth subjecting to incisive analysis. Questions abound: What is the place of the two leaders in world politics? Are their legacies – separately and jointly – assured for posterity or are their contributions threatened by new realities? Beyond the often orchestrated adulation and occasionally blistering critique, what are their shortcomings? What are the points of intersection, convergence and divergence?


Perhaps the most salient points of convergence is that both served as the first black president of their racially divided countries, earned global recognition, were awarded the Nobel Prize and emerged as the leading black figures of the 21st Century. Both showed rebellious character traits in their youth. They were activists in their university days: Occidental, Columbia and Harvard for Obama; Fort Hare and Wits for Mandela. Coincidentally, one of Obama’s early speeches was in support of the anti-apartheid movement, which he has attributed to Mandela’s imprisonment. Trained as lawyers, their legal practices were focused on civil and human rights work. Similarities can factor in their physical attributes. Both are lean and tall. Their athletic physiques perhaps inspired their involvement in sports: Obama as a basketballer-turned-golfer; Mandela a boxer-turned-rugby enthusiast. Both had a down-to-earth touch in their public lives. Firm handshakes and the joy of being amongst crowds; these qualities of empathy served to endear them at a personal level to the people they encountered. Comfortable in their skins, they did not mind being self-deprecating, a trait that further enhanced their “soft power”. Obama endeared himself to both blacks and whites, thus inspiring the potential for a post-racial America. Mandela is credited for a reconciliatory approach that helped South Africa transition from apartheid to democracy. On the basis of their moderate dispositions, some have criticised them


THE MANDELAOBAMA EFFECT Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama are widely seen as two of the greatest leaders in the world in modern history, with many commentators comparing them to each other. Bob Wekesa, senior lecturer in Journalism and Media Studies at Wits, points out the similarities and differences between the two men.

for being over-cautious, focusing more on racial harmony than justice for their black constituencies.


The obvious difference is that Mandela passed into history after his death in 2013 at the age of 95 while, at 56 in 2018 an assessment of Obama is a work in progress. Obama became president in 2009 at the age of 47 while Mandela became president in 1994 at the age of 77. Mandela was already a global hero by the time he became president; Obama was virtually nondescript by the time he ran for the Illinois senate seat and eventually the US presidency in 2008. Mandela’s

popularity grew gradually during his 27 years of incarceration while Obama burst onto the global stage. Although both are Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Mandela deserved his while Obama’s was in some respects inspired by the euphoria of his election and announced only months into his presidency. They lived in different epochs. One of the peaks in Mandela’s political career was reached at the height of the Cold War when he and his comrades served life imprisonment in 1964; Obama’s major peak was achieved in the post-Cold War era with election as US president in 2008. From the social-cultural and identity perspective, Mandela was designated for

Former US President Barack Obama delivers the annual Nelson Mandela lecture at the Wanderers Stadium in July this year.

a royal role in the AbaThembu royal court while Obama was a “commoner” raised by his mother, a stepfather and grandparents. Thus, Mandela’s leadership style is much more “African” in orientation, while Obama’s is much more “worldly”.


Mandela’s and Obama’s place is assured on the basis of the mere fact that they were not just presidents, but the first black presidents of their respective countries. The apex of their contributions lies in pursuing racial reconciliation. Criticism has been levelled at both for putative “betrayal” in not challenging poverty and inequality in South Africa and

Siphiwe Sibeko

Mandela’s and Obama’s place is assured on the basis of the mere fact that they were not just presidents, but the first black presidents… the US robustly enough. The interesting point to note is that criticism directed towards Mandela’s successors (Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa) invites nostalgia towards Mandela, thus propping up his legacy. Similarly, the blistering opposition to

Obama’s successor, Donald Trump’s style of leadership, helps to bolster Obama’s legacy. Their legacies are being ramped-up by the work of their foundations: The Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Obama Foundation. C






From “dangerous” black anti-apartheid fighter to iconic leader hailed the world over, to bitter ex-husband and “sell out”, the media have portrayed various narratives and images of Mandela. Bob Wekesa in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at Wits answers questions about the media coverage of Mandela. HOW WAS NELSON MANDELA FIRST PORTRAYED IN THE MEDIA WHEN HE BECAME PRESIDENT OF DEMOCRATIC SOUTH AFRICA?

Mandela was portrayed heroically, reaching nearmessianic heights when he became president in 1994. This was essentially the continuation of the framing of Mandela as a once-in-lifetime personality who endured 27 years in prison under the brutal apartheid regime but yet managed to navigate the country through difficult times. Media narratives framed the image of a personality who forged consensus by moderating extremist inclinations on the left in the black organisations, and extremist sentiments on the right representing white political organisations.


When Mandela became president, managing the high expectations of citizens became a challenge. Many of the black citizens were looking forward to benefitting from the new South African economy where they had been previously excluded. While a number of media commentators retained the optimism that Mandela represented, some started talking of Mandela’s failure to put the material advancement of blacks at the heart of his policy transformation. His messy and very public divorce with his former wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, tainted his messianic image. Soon, voices began to emerge critiquing Mandela for being overly focused on reconciliation to the detriment of social justice that blacks demanded. This tenor of criticism would go on to imply that Mandela had become a captive of the so-called “white monopoly capital”. It must, however, be pointed out that these voices remained in the minority with large demographics of the South African populace remaining grateful for the role that Mandela played.


Essentially, the shift from expressly positive to a more mixed portrayal was a function of the economic hardships that endured for a significant

The front pages of the South African media mourn Nelson Mandela’s death in 2013. Lefty Shivambu

portion of the South African population. This was further tarnished by the fact that South Africa remained one of the most unequal societies in the word with a tiny minority enjoying high levels of prosperity while the majority struggled to make ends meet. As hope for the transformation of livelihoods for the better were dashed, the blame was laid at Mandela’s feet by some of the opinion shapers. In some respects therefore, the media narratives were a function of the reporting on what we can refer to as “dreams deferred”.


The key issues that have led to negative sentiment which in turn lead to some form of a pessimistic portrayal of Mandela’s legacy are feelings of economic exclusion. This dented the positive portrayal of his legacy in the media specifically and the public. Of particular concern for those interested in maintaining a positive image of Mandela is the issue of land. It is thought that Mandela did not prosecute the historical dispossession of land from the blacks by the whites. This view goes that Mandela should have pursued the return of land in the hands of whites to blacks. However, Mandela’s legacy is based on his personal sacrifice and the delivery of a progressive constitution. As such, the resultant legacy is a mixed one: positive on the human rights front, negative on the economic rights front.


I think Mandela’s leadership style during his presidency has not been afforded sufficient consideration. In contrast to his successors, Mandela delegated much more and strove for consensus. Secondly, the media could have given the compromises he made much more attention. Looking at past and present coverage of Mandela, one does not get an indepth understanding of the decisions he and his cabinet reached and why. In other words, media coverage was rather superficial, focusing on the outcomes of Mandela’s presidency but with little in the way of the behind the scenes dynamics. C


A LONG WALK TO FREEDOM VS THE MTHATHA ARCHIVES A discrepancy regarding the historical facts and dates regarding Nelson Mandela’s father’s title as a headman in Madiba's autobiography, A Long Wak to Freedom, came to light during the research for a cookbook, Hunger for Freedom: The Story of Food in the Lives of Nelson Mandela. The following research is an edited version of the result of an investigation into the differences between the documentary record in the Mthatha archives and Mandela’s autobiography, on request of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. PHIL BONNER


he decisive figures in Nelson Mandela’s early life were his father Gadla Henry Mandela and Thembu chief regent Jongintaba Dalindyebo. Mandela considered himself to have inherited his father’s “straight and stately posture“ as well as his ”proud rebellious“ cast of mind and ”stubborn sense of fairness“. A critical moment of his father’s life in Mandela’s autobiography and which reflected these character traits was his father’s dismissal from his position of chief at Mvezo in Thembuland. According to Long Walk to Freedom, his father was summoned to the local magistrate’s court when a subject complained about an ox which had strayed from its owner. His father felt that, as a Thembu royal, the magistrate had no legitimate power to discipline him, and he is reported as retorting ”Andizi, ndisaqula“ (”I will not come, I am still girding for battle“). For this, according to Mandela, he was dismissed without enquiry, then deprived of most of his herd and his land, forcing the family’s move to Qunu where his father visited for a week every month. These events took place, according to Long Walk, ”when he was not much more than a new born child“. At age nine, on one of his father’s monthly visits, his father died, and Jongintaba became his guardian. In Mandela’s account, these events occurred ”in the 1920s“ and were constructed from others’ recollections. However, beyond this oral record, according to documents in the Mthatha Archives, Gadla Henry Mandela was installed as headman (in colonial parlance, not chief) of Mvezo in January 1915. He replaced the former headman Hlakayana, who had previously been a colonial policeman for 25 years. Commoners were frequently appointed to headmen positions. The local


magistrate held a public meeting attended by Chief Dalindyebo of the Thembu and residents were asked to nominate a new headman. None of the 12 residents present recommended anyone. The magistrate asked if Dalindyebo had a candidate and he nominated Gadla Henry Mandela, who was seemingly not a resident of Mvezo. The magistrate approved partly because ”there is no man in the location suitable for appointment“, partly because “he is a strong man“ and partly because ”his traditional stature should command respect“. The documentary account of Gadla’s dismissal also differs from the family history. He appeared before a magistrate’s enquiry, was cross-examined, found guilty and dismissed. He lost his position, as the autobiography asserts, but it’s unclear why this automatically entailed loss of his fortune, land and herd. Perhaps the biggest discrepancy is the date it took place, September 1926. Long Walk places this much earlier. If Mandela and his mother moved to Qunu in 1920-21, as seems likely, this was five to six years before Gadla’s dismissal. A key question is then why and when they moved. Mandela recalls first attending school at Qunu at the age of seven, some years after arriving there, which would have been 1925. His father apparently died in 1927. Something has evidently been left out of the family accounts. A common thread weaves its way through both Gadla and Hlakayana’s stories of dismissal: alleged irregularities over the allocation of land. This authority of the headman and the ability to deploy it for material benefit was both complicated and constrained by a programme of surveying plots, and the magistrate’s office compiling a register of authorised occupants. Gadla was arraigned in the magistrate’s office on five charges of

Land allocation was the hidden underside of Transkei politics. One of the problems was encroachment on commonage. Land was used as political capital in the Eastern Cape in Nelson Mandela's early years. It is still the case, almost a century later.

allotting unsurveyed land to five residents without the magistrate’s knowledge. Gadla’s defence was feeble. He brought no witnesses and for the most part simply denied the charges as fabricated. The complainants, by contrast, brought witnesses and presented detailed circumstantial evidence such as a description of the cash (four pound notes and a silver coin) or the animal (a black bull calf, white between the legs) with which he was paid for his services. Documentation shows there was nothing particularly unusual or excessive in Gadla’s behaviour, in terms of the unwritten headman protocols of the time. This is confirmed by the fact that he was not only preceded in the office of headmanship by a magisterial appointee but was followed by another, Ntabazulu Mtirara. Land allocation was the hidden underside of Transkei politics. One of the problems was encroachment on commonage. Magistrates said they did not have the time and resources to police it systematically. Headmen took advantage of this to allow encroachment on commons but began demanding payment for the allocation of plots. Only a year before Gadla’s dismissal, a trader, AT Wood, had written to Transkei’s chief magistrate about Gadla’s methods of allocating land: ”Selling of sites is quite a common thing, or so I am told by natives – and a good cow to the headman will often get a kraal”. Gadla was doing nothing out of the ordinary. It seems probable he was plunged into a spiral of economic decline because he had been displaced from centres of political power and had lost the support of the Thembu royal house. This, more plausibly than anything else, precipitated his family’s departure to Qunu (the chronological fit makes Nelson 28 months old) and which may conceivably have induced Gadla to exploit his position of headman for personal gain, and stripped him of political defences in court.


After Gadla’s death, Jongintaba at the Thembu ‘Great Place’ at Mqkekezweni became his guardian. However, Jongintaba remains a somewhat remote, inaccessible, even wooden figure in Mandela’s account. Other reports are different.

Christiaan Kotze

HISTORICAL NOTE: The Nelson Mandela Foundation acknowledges a discrepancy in Long Walk to Freedom regarding Mandela’s father. In the Frequently Asked Questions on their website, the Foundation states: ‘’His father died in 1930 when Mr Mandela was 12 and his mother died in 1968 when he was in prison. While the autobiography Long Walk to Freedom places Madiba’s father’s death in 1927, historical evidence shows it must have been later, most likely 1930. In fact, the original Long Walk to Freedom manuscript (written on Robben Island) states the year as 1930.’’

Chief Magistrate WT Welsh in a letter to the Secretary for Native Affairs in 1920 asserted that Jongintaba “is addicted to drink, is heavily in debt, and quite recently there was a writ for civil imprisonment out against him”. Probably £14 a year was expended on fees for Mandela alone, a financial burden which Nelson gives no sign of having registered, but makes Jongintaba’s fury at Mandela’s refusal to bow to authority at Fort Hare easier to understand. The constant threat of civil action which hung over Jongintaba seems to have passed Mandela by. Whether this played any part in prompting Jongintaba to try and force arranged marriages on Nelson and his own son Justice cannot be known, although Nelson’s sending down from Fort Hare apparently did. All we know for sure is that the two young men’s escape to Johannesburg to evade the threatening marriages, the first key decision Nelson made in his life, signalled the opening of Mandela’s new professional and political career. The Long Walk had begun. Nelson Mandela in Long Walk eschews any claim to the Thembu chieftainship. His grandson Zwelivelile ‘’Mandla’’ Mandela, however, portrays himself as the automatic heir to the headmanship of Mvezo on the grounds of a continuity stretching back to the 11th Century, and takes for granted that Gadla lived in Mvezo. The documentary record suggested otherwise. C



Nelson Mandela offered up more than anyone should be asked for to benefit his fellow South Africans.

Daniel Born

Larger than life, Nelson Mandela has become global public property – a symbol of liberty, equality and statesmanship for all. But to win the hearts of millions, he paid dearly – with the hearts of those he loved most. NOOR NIEFTAGODIEN


t the beginning of the 1940s Mandela was at a crossroads. Chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo, who became Mandela’s guardian after his father’s death, arranged wives for his son, Justice, and Mandela – whose studies at Fort Hare University had been derailed for supporting a boycott. Mandela and Justice fled to Johannesburg to escape customary restrictions. Johannesburg also offered Mandela new opportunities to pursue his dream of


becoming a lawyer. He found employment as a clerk at a law firm, which allowed him to pay for his Unisa studies. In 1943, he enrolled at Wits for a law degree. Mandela’s academic career was then a primary objective. Although he moved around in political circles, he initially refused to join any political party. His free time was spent courting women. Serious romance came his way when he met Evelyn Mase. He proposed within months, they were married in 1944 and qualified for a house in Soweto after

the birth of their first son, Thembekile. Fatherhood excited Mandela: “I enjoyed domesticity, even though I had little time for it. I delighted in playing with Thembi, bathing him and feeding him and putting him to bed with a little story,” he wrote in his autobiography. Although he had previously stayed in Alexandra only briefly, he wrote: “I always regarded Alexandra Township as a home where I had no specific house, and Orlando as a place where I had a house but no home.”

Mandela also had his first taste of an urban protest in Alexandra when he joined thousands in their defiant march to and from work in the 1943 bus boycott. Mandela felt he had moved from being an observer to becoming a participant and “to march with one’s people was exhilarating and inspiring”. Johannesburg in the 1940s was at the heart of protest politics. This milieu of struggle and Mandela’s association with key activists such as Walter Sisulu pushed him towards activism. He was elected onto the first executive of the Youth League and to the Transvaal African Congress executive, co-opted onto the ANC executive, and in 1951 was elected Youth League president. Makgatho, his second son, was born during the 1950 campaign. Although he was at the hospital for the birth, Mandela admits: “It was only a brief respite from my activities”. Politics began to shape every aspect of the family. As a sign of his dedication, Mandela named his second son after the organisation’s second president. As his responsibilities in the ANC increased, he inevitably spent less time with his family. Thembi, who was old enough to notice his father’s absence from home even asked his mother: "Where does Daddy live?". Mandela recalls the anguish he felt: “I did not relish being deprived of the company of my children. I missed them a great deal during those days”, but also said: “A man involved in the struggle was a man without a home life”.


At the ANC’s national conference in December 1951, Secretary-General Walter Sisulu announced the Defiance Campaign against unjust laws such as the Group Areas Act. Mandela emerged as a lynchpin in the Campaign which catapulted him from being an emerging leader to being a leader of a 100 000-strong mass movement. He said: “I had come of age as a freedom fighter”. But the Campaign also introduced state persecution. Mandela was arrested and charged under the Suppression of Communism Act and sentenced to nine months prisonment, suspended for two years, and banned from attending gatherings for six months. On 3 September 1953 under the same Act, his restrictions included being forced to resign from the ANC and being prohibited from attending meetings for two years. He lamented about being “isolated from people who think like me … I found myself treated as a criminal, an unconvicted criminal”.

“A man involved in the struggle was a man without a home life.” In 1952 he qualified as an attorney and, with Oliver Tambo, opened Johannesburg’s first black law firm.

Mandela converted part of the lounge into an office and the distinction between Mandela’s private and public lives virtually disappeared.



Evelyn was a committed nurse who had become involved in the Nursing Union but her enthusiasm did not extend to formal politics. By the early 1950s she had become a dedicated Jehovah’s Witness who spent much of her time distributing the church’s magazine, The Watchtower. Evelyn and Mandela both disapproved of the other’s life choices and when Mandela was arrested in 1956 on treason charges and then released on bail, he returned home to find she had left. The children were upset. Mandela recalls visiting Makaziwe’s crèche: “She did not know whether to run to me or retreat, to smile or frown. She had some conflict in her small heart… It was very painful.” Soon after his restrictions were lifted in 1955 Mandela visited his mother in the Transkei, and reflected later on the guilt he felt at seeing how she lived. “I wondered, not for the first time – whether one was ever justified in neglecting the welfare of one’s own family in order to fight for the welfare of others.”


In 1957 he met Winnie Madikizela. A whirlwind romance commenced and on 14 June 1958 the couple married. “Though I was on trial for treason, Winnie gave me cause for hope,” he wrote. His dramatic, wide-smiled appearances with Winnie seemed to belong to showbiz rather than to politics, and his image acquired a new dimension: not just the lawyer and revolutionary, but the lover with the adoring partner.

Mandela’s arrest on 30 March 1960 under the State of Emergency marked the beginning of a three-year period during which the state’s repression determined his political and personal life. Released in August, he was nominated to take charge of the ANC’s underground operation. Winnie remembered the moment his life in the underground commenced. He had come home with ANC leaders and said: “Oh, darling, just pack a few things for me in a suitcase”. “That was the last I saw of my husband as a family man, legally at home. There had been no chance to sit down and discuss his decision to commit himself totally.” Over the next 17 months Mandela became “a creature of the night”, mobilising support. “I welcomed the opportunity to be by myself, to plan, to think, to plot. But one can have too much solitude. I was terribly lonesome for my wife and family.” From October 1961 he moved to Lilliesleaf farm in Rivonia, where his family could visit. Winnie said: “So Zendzi [their youngest daughter] imagined that to be her home because it was the only place where her father had played with her”. Here, Mandela said, they had more privacy than at home. When he was arrested in August 1962, Mandela handled his own defence and spoke of his enforced underground life: “It has not been easy for me … living separated from those who are closest to me”. C

This is an edited version of a paper written for the Nelson Mandela Foundation in June 2006. 33


Nelson Mandela is amongst Wits University’s most famous alumni, but he is not a graduate of the University. Mandela tenaciously pursued an LLB over 46 years, which he finally achieved through the University of South Africa. BRUCE MURRAY


elson Mandela was a law student at Wits University from 1943 to 1949 but failed the final examination on three occasions between 1947 and 1949. On the third occasion, he applied to the Dean of Law, Professor HR Hahlo, for permission to write supplementary examinations in the three papers he failed. The Board of the Faculty of Law denied permission, as the regulations allowed for a maximum of two supplementary examinations.

“WOMEN AND AFRICANS NOT DISCIPLINED ENOUGH TO MASTER LAW” Evidently, the advice Hahlo subsequently gave Mandela was to abandon the LLB, which was required to become an advocate – a career Hahlo deemed unsuited to Africans (as it necessitated being part and parcel of the mores of the people – meaning whites – if the advocate were to get any business) and instead to qualify directly as an attorney. Mandela took the advice and passed the Attorney’s Admission examination at the end of 1951.


There is a strong tradition that places the blame firmly on Hahlo for Mandela’s failure to qualify for a Wits LLB. Hahlo was a racist who gave Mandela, the first African law student at Wits, the gratuitous advice that Africans and women were unsuited to the study of law. “His view,” Mandela recounted in his autobiography, “was that law was a social science and that women and Africans were not disciplined enough to master its intricacies.” Certainly, Hahlo was unhelpful – Mandela reckoned “he could have been more friendly and helpful to me” – but he was not unfair. Mandela ultimately passed all the courses for the LLB he took from Hahlo, six out of 14, except Jurisprudence in 1947. The examiners who consistently failed Mandela were the noted liberal advocate Rex Welsh, in Jurisprudence 1948-9, and the Scot, advocate RG McKerron, in the Law of Delicts 1947-9.


Mandela had always struggled with examinations at Wits, but

examinations while awaiting sentence in the Rivonia Trial, which many expected would be the death penalty. Sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island, he was permitted to continue with his LLB studies – the only prisoner allowed to study law. In 1967, he successfully completed Part 1 of the London University LLB examination, but at that point, he again stalled, and his task became impossible when, in 1970, the apartheid government put an end to his overseas supply of books through the British ambassador. Out of a sense that he was getting nowhere with his London University LLB, Mandela wrote in October 1974 to the Dean of the Faculty of Law at Wits inquiring whether it would be possible for him to write Wits’ final LLB examination in November 1975. The response he received from the Registrar’s office was cautious and legalistic rather than sympathetic, and the status of his credits questioned. Nonetheless, an application form was sent to him – but he never received it. The Department of Prisons blocked his correspondence with Wits and refused him permission to continue his LLB studies, whether through London, Wits, or UNISA.


FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: Some Wits students of the 1940s and 1950s at a class reunion for President Nelson Mandela, held in 1996, include Chief Justice Ismail Mahomed (front left), Justice Arthur Chaskalson (front right) and Justice Richard Goldsone (back right). With them is former Wits Vice-Chancellor Professor RW Charlton; Nelson Mandela receives his Honorary Doctorate degree from Wits in 1991; Nelson Mandela speaks at Wits shortly after being released from prison. Wits Historical Papers

his performance in his final-year LLB examinations is puzzling. By 1947, he had completed his articles with the law firm Sidelsky and Eidelman, and with the aid of a substantial loan from the Bantu Welfare Trust (which he never repaid), he was able to move from part-time to full-time study. Yet, in 1947, he failed all six papers badly, followed by four failures the next year, and three in 1949. A likely explanation is that Mandela’s activities in the newly formed ANC Youth League consumed him. In 1947, he became secretary, responsible for political organisation. By 1948, according to his wife, Evelyn, Mandela was often away from home days at a time, engaged in Youth League activities. After qualifying as an attorney, Mandela decided on another attempt at the LLB. He enrolled again at Wits for the 1952 academic year. He never really made a go of it though, becoming deeply involved as volunteer-in-chief in helping organise the Defiance Campaign. Wits cancelled his registration on 18 July for the non-payment of fees. In August, Mandela opened his own law practice, soon to be joined by Oliver Tambo.


Mandela still hankered after an LLB and at the end of the 1950s enrolled as an external student with London University. That was in the midst of the Treason Trial (1956-61), with Mandela one of the accused. In 1964, he wrote and passed his first London LLB

Ultimately, in 1981, it was the Dean of Law at UNISA, Professor Willem Joubert, who persuaded the government that it was ridiculous to continue blocking Mandela’s LLB. He enrolled for the UNISA LLB, and finally qualified in 1989, 46 years after his first registration for the degree at Wits. It was a remarkable feat of persistence, particularly as, since his imprisonment, there was no prospect Mandela would ever practice law again. Mandela’s experiences at Wits were certainly not without their influence on his personal and political development. In the first instance, Wits provided him with the legal education he required to launch his career as an attorney – his ambition since arriving in Johannesburg from the Transkei. Second, Wits represented Mandela’s first exposure to whites, and white prejudices, on any considerable scale. Wits had only recently begun opening its doors to black students, and Mandela was treated as something of an alien, rather than embraced, giving something of a personal edge to his participation in the emerging struggle against “the oppression of our black people”. Apart from white prejudice, Wits also exposed Mandela to a “new world”, a “world of ideas and political debates, a world where people were passionate about politics”. Wits opened up Mandela to political dialogue, and also friendships with persons of other races, many of them communists, which ultimately tempered his assertive anti-communist African nationalism, and his opposition to political alliances with other race groups. In the later view of certain “Africanists”, it was Mandela’s time at Wits that contributed to “a watering down of his affiliation to radical African nationalism [Africanism] and of becoming more amenable to the influence of communists”. As he conceded in his autobiography, his friendships with people like Ismail Meer and Ruth First, and his observation of their own sacrifices, made it “more and more difficult to justify my prejudice against the party”. Mandela never bore an enduring grudge against Wits, which he came to perceive as an important instrument of transformation. In 1982, while in Pollsmoor Prison, he ran for the post of Chancellor of Wits, and in 1991, after his release, he accepted an honorary doctorate in laws from the University. In the spirit of reconciliation, he requested a reunion of the law class of 1946, including those who had snubbed him as a student. The reunion took place in November 1996. “Wits made me what I am today,” Mandela said at the reunion. “I am what I am both as a result of people who respected me and helped me, and those who did not respect me and treated me badly.” C Bruce Murray is Emeritus Professor of History at Wits and author of Nelson Mandela and Wits University, a paper published in the Journal of African History in 2016. Murray is the author of the books Wits the Early Years: A History of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg and its Precursors 1896-1939 (Wits Press, 1982) and of Wits the Open Years: A History of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg 1939-1959 (Wits Press, 1997).


This year, it has been 20 years since South Africa invaded neighbouring Lesotho. It is also the year that we celebrate Mandela’s 100th birthday, and an opportune moment to consider the statesman’s position on the use of military force. CHRISTOPHER WILLIAMS


n the winter of 1998, protests roiled Lesotho after a controversial election sparked accusations of fraud and rigging by opposition parties. South Africa initially intervened diplomatically, by helping to set up a commission comprising legal experts from the region to determine whether the elections were free and fair. This commission failed to resolve Lesotho’s difficulties. Not only was the commission’s report delayed, prompting charges that it had been tampered with, the report’s central finding (when it was finally released) was diffident: “We are unable to state that the invalidity of the elections has been conclusively established.” This weak double negative only exacerbated disagreements between the competing parties. At the same time, Lesotho’s perennially restless military staged a mutiny and forced many of the army’s senior commanders to resign at gunpoint. The situation became anarchic – protestors prevented civil service employees from going to work and impounded government vehicles, while the military rank-and-file looked on and did nothing to protect a government it opposed. Mandela later described the situation as a “virtual coup”. Lesotho’s government was paralysed and the country’s Prime Minister, Pakalitha Mosisili, feared that any day his administration would be toppled. Over the course of the crisis, he sent two desperate letters to Mandela and several other Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of state, requesting a military intervention to stabilise Lesotho. President Mandela was travelling in the United States while Lesotho degenerated into chaos. Deputy-President Thabo Mbeki was also away during this period, leaving Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Minister of Home Affairs, to deal with the crisis as Acting President. Buthelezi gained approval to dispatch a SADC military force from regional allies in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, as there was a growing norm throughout Africa that military coups would not be tolerated. Mandela and Mbeki were also consulted, and, according to Buthelezi “supported military intervention, but acknowledged that the final decision lay on my shoulders”. On September 22, 1998, 600 members of the South African National Defence Force (later joined by 200 soldiers from Botswana as part of a SADC force) entered Lesotho to “stabilise the situation for the purposes of achieving a lasting political solution”. The result was a bloody confrontation during which nine South African soldiers, 58 members of Lesotho’s military, and an estimated 47 Basotho civilians died. Much of downtown Maseru, Lesotho’s capital was destroyed. Despite this death and destruction, the military intervention prompted renewed discussions between the belligerent Basotho parties. This eventually resulted in the creation of the inclusive Independent Political Authority, which went on to propose helpful revisions to Lesotho’s electoral system to avoid future conflicts. In Mandela’s final State of the Nation Address early in 1999, he claimed, “There is no doubt that SADC’s collective initiative succeeded in creating the space for this country’s political leaders to find a peaceful resolution of their differences”. Criticisms of South Africa’s decision to intervene in Lesotho are legion, but very little of this literature focuses on Mandela. This is a mistake. As Mandela told reporters a few days after the intervention, he had had regularly consulted with Buthelezi


PACIFIST OR MILITARY STRATEGIST? THE MOMENT DICTATES THE MEANS during the crisis and therefore, “It is wrong to suggest that Chief Buthelezi made a mistake. If there is an accusation that a mistake was made, then all of us are involved. But I am not in the slightest doubt that we have done the correct thing”. Surprise at South Africa’s military intervention stemmed in part from an inaccurate image of Mandela as a principled pacifist in the vein of Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. Mandela, however, held very different views on the use of military force from these international icons – Mandela was a pragmatist, not a peacenik. In the days after the intervention, Mandela was bombarded with questions about South Africa’s military mission. At one point he was asked to “reconcile the commitment to peace he kept in his battle to end apartheid with the military action in Lesotho”. Mandela replied: “It does not depend on ideology; it depends on an analysis of the situation”. He stressed that South Africa’s “belief is in peaceful solutions” but then added, “Whether we’re going to continue with that policy indefinitely must depend on the reality on the ground”. Mandela said that South Africa had “tried peaceful means” to resolve the conflict in Lesotho. After those means were unsuccessful, “only then did we use force”. This was a direct continuation of Mandela’s previous view on military force, not a deviation from it. When reflecting on the formation of Umkhonto we Sizwe [the military wing of the African National Congress], he stated, “We have always believed in nonviolence as a tactic. Where the conditions demanded that we

Nelson Mandela meets military leaders during a secret tour of Africa in 1962. This picture originally appeared in the SPARK newspaper.

should use non-violence we would do so; where the conditions demanded that we should depart from non-violence, we would do so.” Despite his approval of military force in the case of Lesotho, Mandela believed such an approach had limited utility. He told reporters, “It is our belief that issues of this nature can’t be settled through military intervention … They need [a] political process, a political solution”. Military intervention was required “to ensure that there is peace and stability, so that the Basotho themselves can sit down and explore a political solution”. Many commentators have failed to heed Cornell West’s warning: “Let us not make Nelson Mandela some kind of icon on a pedestal, belonging to a museum.” Fetishising Mandela exclusively as a man of peace marginalises him as a military strategist. Carl von Clausewitz, one of Mandela’s intellectual inspirations, emphasised thinking clearly about the relationship between end goals and the means needed to pursue them. This type of strategic thinking served Mandela well

throughout the struggle for a democratic South Africa, and, at times, led him to advocate the use of force. In October 1998, a month after the Lesotho intervention, Mandela began to draft a sequel to his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. Though he never completed the volume, his draft of the introductory chapter resides in the Mandela Centre for Memory. The introduction to this work provides insight into how Mandela understood the Lesotho crisis and conceived of the appropriate use of military force. “The actual situation on the ground may justify the use of violence, which even good men and women may find difficult to avoid. But even in such cases the use of force would be an exceptional measure, whose primary aim is to create the necessary environment for peaceful solutions.” C Read more on Mandela’s thoughts around military force in Conversations with Myself, a collection of his speeches, letters, conversations and publications.

Christopher Williams is a visiting lecturer and researcher in International Relations in the School of Social Sciences at Wits. He is a PhD candidate in the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. His research interests include foreign policy decision-making and the foreign and security policies of African states. His dissertation examines South African peacemaking in Africa during the Nelson Mandela Administration, with a particular focus on how South Africa’s own negotiated transition affected its later conflict resolution efforts.


CREATING COLLECTIVE MEMORY Creating a collective memory in a country with a fragmented past and persistent inequality needs money, skills and political will to preserve its history for purpose and access. ERNA VAN WYK

Original versions of newspaper clippings and documents that are digitised through the WITS-NRF Digitisation Capacity Development Initiative includes the original handwritten notes of Nelson Mandela’s six-hour-long speech delivered at the Rivonia Trial.


reating a collective memory in a country with a fragmented past and persistent inequality needs money, skills and political will to preserve its history for purpose and access. The recently launched WITS-NRF Digitisation Capacity Development Initiative at Wits University is driving efforts to digitise and make available online South Africa’s vast historical collections, including a comprehensive “Mandela Archive”. Since the early ’90s, varying materials related to former President Nelson Mandela, held in galleries, libraries, archives


and museums (GLAMs) in institutions such as the Nelson Mandela Foundation or the Historical Papers Research Archive at Wits, have been collected and digitally preserved in individualised efforts to “digitise Mandela” and to make these collections available to the public to enhance a collective memory. The next step is to bring these archives together. This goal has been set as one of the first three outcomes of the new WITSNRF Digitisation Capacity Development Initiative: To establish a National Digital Library Aggregator Pilot Project – a central online portal from where viewers can access South Africa’s precious


collections, including the possibility of a digital “Mandela Archive”. “Similar projects have already been done in Europe, for instance, with the Europeana Collections – a portal where thousands of GLAMs share cultural heritage for enjoyment, education and research,” says Gabriele Mohale, archivist in the Historical Papers Research Archive situated in the Willem Cullen Library on Wits’ Braamfontein East Campus. “It is very costly and European countries have more money. Most institutions in Africa are inhibited by their lack of funding and as such have only taken baby steps towards purposeful digitisation for access and preservation of South Africa’s rich historical heritage,” she adds. Now, with the WITS-NRF Digitisation Capacity Development Initiative, participating institutions could combine their efforts in implementing such a pilot project between five institutions: the Historical Papers Research Archive at Wits, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the University of Cape Town, the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, and the National Archives of South Africa. “These institutions are already applying main archival and international standards of description and it will allow us to link our institutions’ archival collections and create a multi-institutional repository, endorsed by the International Council on Archives, in a portal or aggregator where the user can put in one search term and get the output from these five participating institutions,” Mohale says. “Given South Africa’s fragmented past, archives, preservation and the digitisation of material such as the Nelson Mandela Papers here at Wits, are some of the ways to create a collective memory and enduring legacy for Madiba,” says Mohale.

Established in 1966, the Historical Papers Research Archive at Wits is one of the largest and most comprehensive independent archives in southern Africa – housing over 3 400 collections of historical, political and cultural importance, encompassing the mid-17th Century to the present. Its Nelson Mandela Papers is a collection of records in preparation of Mandela’s two trials: the ‘State vs Nelson Mandela’ in the Pretoria Regional Court 1962, and ‘The State vs Nelson Mandela and Others’ (Rivonia Trial) in the Supreme Court (Transvaal Provincial Division) in 1963/1964. “Digitising archives is important to not only preserve material for future generations or to create easy and open access to history, but also bring those forgotten materials back out into the current agenda. In South Africa we are historically fragmented in terms of understanding and knowledge of our histories, and digital archives play a role in accessing and enhancing memory,” Mohale says. C


No new Mandela – yet ... Sello Hatang, Head of the Nelson Mandela Foundation shared some intimate moments with the former statesman. Hatang recalls these nostalgically and shares his ideas on what Mandela’s legacy means for the country. SHAUN SMILLIE


n May 2009, Sello Hatang saw in Nelson Mandela something that the statesman hid from the public. For a moment, as the former president walked through the Alexandra township back room that he had lived in when he first came to Johannesburg, Hatang could see Mandela was filled with sadness. “Madiba had said while he was in prison that one of his greatest fears was that he would come out of prison and that everybody that he knows would have died,” explains Hatang. “I saw that when we went to that house, and he was asking about where is so-and-so, where is so-and-so. And all of them had died.” Hatang realised Mandela had spoken of this fear in a letter he had written to a friend. But the former president’s mood quickly brightened when he saw a child walk past. He asked one of his aids to invite the child and his friends into the house. “You could see his mood lift as he asked them how old they were and where they were from. In my mind, this was to him the connection to ancestry, passing on and the future,” said Hatang. The Madiba that Hatang got to know on those trips was different to the world leader that the likes of his long time aid, Zelda Le Grange, and Achmat Dangor and Shaun Johnson had to manage. Their Mandela could at times be controversial and was known to go against the wishes of his advisors. He famously would be told not to mention a particular awkward incident or an issue related to a person he was about to meet. The first thing he would do is bring up the topic. Some said it was his way of breaking the ice. “I was exposed to a mellow Madiba, who had entered retirement,” recalls Hatang, who worked with Mandela for three years. But there were still hints of the old man, with his famously dry sense of humour, like the time Hatang accompanied Mandela to the Freedom Park Memorial in Pretoria, on what was to become one of the last official visits Madiba was to make before his health failed him. During the walkabout, Mandela kept asking if Samora Machel, Mozambique’s first president, was listed on the monument alongside the names of those who had died during the liberation struggle. “He asked, ‘Did you include Samora Machel, and Dr Mongane Serote [the Freedom Park Trust Chief Executive] said, ‘Yes, we did'. Then he asked again, ‘Did you include Samora Machel?’ Then, after


the third time, Madiba said, ’I am just double-checking, because when I get back home, I have to tell my wife that that part is covered’.” Eight years later, Mandela passed away. It is now Hatang’s job to promote the icon’s ideals and defend his legacy. This comes at a time when the world is celebrating the centenary of his birth. Former US president, Barack Obama delivered the Nelson Mandela Memorial Lecture at Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg in July 2018. It was the first time that the lecture took place at such a large venue. “Ahmed Kathrada always said we must try not make these lectures just for the elite few who can afford to be in those spaces, and this is something that we are very conscious about – that we don’t lose sight of the fact that these lectures should be for as great a number of people as possible,” says Hatang. The success of these lectures, believes Hatang, is that they have always been timeous in responding to the issues of the day. President Thabo Mbeki delivered the 2006 lecture, where he stressed the importance of building a common humanity. Two years later, South Africa was dealing with widespread xenophobic riots. In 2004, Archbishop Desmond Tutu delivered the second Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, and warned against corruption and that South Africa must avoid anything that will make it endemic. “The lectures are being used to create a platform for work that can be imagined in the future, and this year’s lecture was no different because [former] President Obama spoke about the issue of how we make democracy work for the majority; how we should be building an active citizenry while re-awakening Madiba’s legacy,” says Hatang. South Africa has now entered an age where there is no longer a Madiba to look to for guidance and leadership. It is a void many believe cannot be filled by South Africa’s current calibre of leaders. We are not yet ready for a new Mandela, believes Hatang. “Another Mandela can only come out when we don't just focus on the past and keep blaming the past for what it didn’t do for the present,” Hatang says. “We can’t argue for a better past. We can only argue for a better future.” C


WAS MORE THAN A PRESIDENT, he gave me the courage to fight for freedom. - Sophie De Bruyn #BeTheLegacy


What’s in a name?

Since his death in 2013, the legacy of the ‘father of the nation’, Nelson Mandela, lives on. From his name and image, through quotations and pictures, to his voice and artefacts, the brand that emerged around South Africa’s first democratically elected president is complicated to manage. MICHAEL BRATT

Wits staff and students contribute to the Wits Food Think in celebration of Madiba’s 100th celebration in July 2018.



he Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF), which promotes Mandela’s vision of freedom and equality for all, is tasked with overseeing this brand. Steve Burgess, Professor of Marketing at the Wits Business School, explains that the NMF has published guidelines intended to protect the Nelson Mandela image and brand name from reputational harm and to align it with core values. “Generally, the guidelines prohibit the use of his name or image to endorse a product, brand or commercial entity. The Mandela brand may not be associated with products associated with risk of public harm, such as cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, firearms and weapons, and conflict, war or violence,” says Burgess.



The most important rule is that the Nelson Mandela brand cannot be used for commercial purposes. This includes the use of Nelson Mandela’s face for commercial ventures and/or the association of people and their projects with the Foundation when they have not engaged with it. The NMF closely guards Madiba's Legacy. “The Foundation has institutionally built an in-house Intellectual Property [IP] division that helps navigate the legal aspects and communications of the brand’s management” said the NMF. Between the IP Department and Communications, messaging and language is closely aligned with the various projects. We have a team that continuously looks at contentious issues that surround the brand. The team advises the public on how best to use things like images of Mandela or his quotes”. While legal action is an option for misuse of the brand, the NMF prefers consultation first (as it is less costly) but concedes that the scope of the brand is so vast that it is difficult to control every aspect of IP usage. Interestingly, the African National Congress is not obligated to consult with the NMF to use Mandela’s image, quotations, or name for election purposes.



Offshoots of the Nelson Mandela brand (of which the NMF has trademarked around a dozen) include Madiba, Rolihlahla, Mandela Day, Nelson Mandela 100, 46664 (Mandela’s prison number), and the attachment of his name to various things. An example of such a naming attachment is the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, formerly the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. “The Nelson Mandela brand means different things to different people. To the youth, the young activist Mandela is who appeals to them. To others, the equality and social justice values he stood for meant something to them. The concept of ubuntu and embracing diversity in others are other factors that have made this brand very successful,” says Vuyo Bongela, Deputy Director of Advertising and Branding at the Nelson Mandela University. The challenge now is to identify what the Nelson Mandela University brand identity stands for and what it will become to ensure that it lives up to Nelson Mandela brand’s legacy. “Consultations were done with the NMF and the Elders who are tasked with the Nelson Mandela legacy. There are no rules, but rather constant communication with the Foundation on how we are planning to advance and contribute to the memory of Nelson Mandela,” says Bongela.


Indubitably, Brand Mandela is colossal and successful, although the brand and name offshoots make it near impossible to quantify in Rands. “We have not had the value of the brand assessed,” confirms the NMF – and several leading brand experts over the years have declined the challenge.

Professor Steve Burgess.

Vuyo Bongela.

Burgess concludes, “The Nelson Mandela brand is the sum of what we have learned to associate with Madiba’s name and image” – especially his values and the relatively peaceful transition from apartheid by his application of African culture, dignity and wisdom. “Internationally, the brand is associated most with the values that underpinned his leadership during the unprecedented transition from apartheid rule”. And that in itself is priceless. C





In 1994, Nelson Mandela became the first president of democratic South Africa. Five years later, he stood down. During his tenure, he wrought a fully functioning democracy. Acclaimed author and Master’s student in Creative Writing at Wits, Mandla Langa, has completed the memoir that Mandela began before he completed his term of office. The following excerpt from Langa’s book, Dare Not Linger, shows Mandela’s commitment to his community and his belief in education as the liberator of the human spirit.


andela took a special and personal interest in the areas where the poorest of the poor are usually the most vulnerable – education and health. He worried in particular about the efficacy of the school-nutrition scheme, access to primary healthcare for pregnant women and children under six, and the building and upgrading of clinics and schools both by government and through partnerships he personally forged with private sector corporations. Sensitive to the inequalities ravaging South African society, Mandela pursued his own personal mission. From the time he walked out of the gates of Victor Verster Prison in Paarl, on the afternoon of 11 February 1990, Mandela had sought to get the business community to have more empathy with the majority – and to encourage it to undertake targeted social-investment initiatives. While making these overtures, he was also aware of a counter-narrative operating in the media, which portrayed the new political players, especially MPs, as money-grubbing, and he did as much as he could to dispel that image. Occasionally, however, such comments came from those he respected, and these were much harder to bear. For example, John Carlin, who had interviewed Mandela on numerous occasions, wrote a piece for the UK newspaper the Independent headlined ‘ANC Boards the Gravy Train: John Carlin in Johannesburg on the Underdogs Who Have Become Fat Cats in a Few Months’. In it he said that "Mandela promised in his election victory speech that the era of the fat cats was over, that the 'government of the people' would tolerate no more gravy trains. What he failed to anticipate was that the gap between government and people would widen after the dawn of democracy“. In the same report, Archbishop Desmond Tutu was quoted as saying that the new government had ”stopped the gravy train only long enough to get on“. Yet even before the ANC received such stinging criticisms from trusted friends and allies, Mandela had decided to donate

one-third of his salary to promoting the cause of children’s rights. In a speech given in June 1994 to mark the anniversary of the Soweto Uprising, he said: "I am consulting with relevant individuals and bodies, for me to set up a Presidential Trust Fund, representative of people beyond the ANC and the mass democratic movement, to specifically deal with the problems of street children and detainees. I intend to make a contribution of R150 000 a year to this Fund, irrespective of the decision that Parliament will make about the salaries of elected representatives. Further details will be announced in due course. “The Fund I have referred to will assist in alleviating these problems. But I do recognise, as all of you do, that a lasting solution lies in comprehensive socio-economic uplifting programmes. At the same time, the youth, especially from disadvantaged communities, need to realise that we cannot rely only on governmental programmes and charity. We also have to take initiatives in our communities to pool our meagre resources for projects such as bursaries and skills upgrading”. The Presidential Trust Fund was to form the basis of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, which became a vehicle not only for helping build partnerships with business leaders but also ensured that these partnerships were not dependent on state machinery and could thus produce swift results in areas of great need. Although the results were visible and impressive, Mandela acknowledged that they were no substitute for the mass provision of services by the state. But he knew that South Africa’s destiny was irreversibly intertwined with its capacity to educate its people. Progress was reliant on it, and education had always been close to his heart. "The emancipation of people from poverty and deprivation is most centrally linked to the provision of education of quality," he said. "While the poor and suffering masses of our people bore the weight of the liberation struggle, we acknowledge

that we would not have advanced in the manner we did if it was not for the education that many of our leaders and cadres obtained. We recognised that emancipation from illiteracy and ignorance was an important part of our liberation struggle, and that education was key to that. "It was for that same reason, for example, that one of the first things we set out to do when we were incarcerated on Robben Island prison, was to prepare for the education and further education of ourselves as inmates. Many political prisoners learnt to read and write for the first time on Robben Island. Many obtained degrees and further degrees on the Island. And the informal education through reading and discussion was probably the most significant part of our stay in that prison. "One of the cruellest ways in which the apartheid system hit at our people was through the deliberate undermining of the quality of public education and the destruction of non-state education through, for example, the churches that sought to provide quality education". C



WALK A MILE IN HIS SHOES Wits Visiting Professor Lord Peter Hain believes that Nelson Mandela and his colleagues walked a minefield strewn with political, economic and social traps in order to prevent civil war and set the new, democratic South Africa on a path to a sustainable future.


andela’s extraordinary leadership and insistence on reconciliation was crucial in transforming South Africa from a police state into a constitutional democracy. This tends to be taken for granted by his contemporary critics who overlook how fearsome was the power of the apartheid state – and how incredibly difficult it was to win, when the battle was viewed by Western powers through a Cold War prism and the apartheid government professing to be on their side. The odds were massively stacked against Mandela’s African National Congress. But since the radiance of his ‘rainbow nation’ shone down upon the world, consigning apartheid to history, South Africa has gone from hero to zero. With former President Jacob Zuma and his business crony elite looting the country, international investors turned their backs on a nation they once favoured, and – generations ago – colonially plundered. The South African economy plunged to near junk status. Students erupted and service delivery protesters took to the streets as the gap between rich and poor kept widening. By the time Mandela died (aged 95) in December 2013, the party’s leadership at all levels was betraying the values and integrity he had epitomised. ANC ‘stalwarts’, like Pravin Gordhan (perhaps the most courageously prominent), struggled to keep his legacy alive. Perhaps longstanding ANC supporters like me expected too much of the ‘rainbow nation’. Perhaps it was naïve to think that – for all its noble history and tradition of moral integrity and constitutionalism – Mandela’s ANC could be immune to human frailty. Could any political party anywhere (including in rich, old democracies like Britain) have done any better? I served for 12 years in Labour’s social democratic British government, and we found it tough to advance social justice whilst delivering economic success in a world gripped by the inequality-increasing, growthstifling economics of neoliberalism. The notion of the ‘Mandela miracle’ engendered myth. The transition from brutal apartheid to rainbow democracy encouraged a tendency to frame the South African story too simplistically. Many never could view post-apartheid South Africa in a nuanced way. It was always going to be a bumpy road because of the terrible apartheid heritage of poverty, inequality and institutionalised racism. In policy terms, the ANC remained largely true to Mandela’s original values, as exemplified by the National Development Plan 2030 developed under the leadership of Cyril Ramaphosa and former finance minister, Trevor Manuel. Indeed, that programme presents a credible alternative to the global grip of neoliberalism for those seeking a social democratic agenda in a market economy – and none of Mandela’s critics has suggested an alternative capable of delivering under contemporary globalisation.

However, Mandela’s government – anxious to achieve a smooth transition and encourage international investment after efforts to prop up apartheid in its dying years had virtually bankrupted the country – rather too readily embraced elements of the neoliberal global economic order. This is one of the sources of criticism from a younger generation questioning his legacy. Under apartheid, government and big business were run exclusively by the white minority. When white rule finally ended, the very real fear was that white businesses and investors would flee. Instead, under Mandela’s guidance, a deal was struck and compromises made for the sake of a peaceful and economically stable transition. Thus, a black majority now ran the government but the white minority still ran the economy. In retrospect, it is hard to see how Mandela could have adopted any other course. Radical change at that time would undoubtedly have triggered a flight of capital, financial calamity, political turmoil and the exodus of key white skills. In 1975, the Portuguese had left Angola and Mozambique overnight, setting an ominous precedent. There would also have been a serious risk of national (rather than partial) civil war, as those two former Portuguese colonies – their societies torn apart and plagued by landmines, infrastructure destruction and economic chaos – illustrate. They are salutary examples of the consequences of non-negotiated transformations, their societies still struggling and their liberation parties having achieved far less social and economic progress than the ANC, whatever its palpable failures. Some, like former ANC liberation hero and ANC Minister Ronnie Kasrils, subsequently saw the Mandela-led transformation as ‘the devil’s pact’: a terrible betrayal of the poorest of the poor. But what has never been clear to me is how exactly a more revolutionary alternative could have been successful in the circumstances Mandela faced? A generation of South Africans sacrificed their lives to overcome apartheid and to generate the Mandela legacy. Tens of thousands suffered imprisonment, torture and exile in the process – my brave parents, I’m proud to say, amongst them. South Africa will not succeed unless the spirit and principles of the Mandela years are reclaimed. Fortunately, Cyril Ramaphosa understands that well, but he has huge mountains to climb and tough battles to fight. C

Brought up in Pretoria by anti-apartheid South African parents, former British antiapartheid leader, MP, Labour Cabinet Minister and now Wits Business School Visiting Professor, Lord Peter Hain chairs the committee that organised the Mandela Centenary Exhibition in London.



FACETS OF A legacy Nelson Mandela, affectionately known as Madiba, led a life in the service of humanity. He was South African, but a global icon. Although he died five years ago, his legacy endures. Truly honouring Madiba means being responsive to his entire political legacy, according to Professor of Politics and Vice-Chancellor and Principal at Wits, Adam Habib.


fter his passing, an intellectual battle emerged to define Madiba’s legacy. The media trumpeted Madiba’s message of reconciliation, which was essential to his political character but not all that he stood for. Some newspapers valorised Madiba for his pragmatism, but he also stood for non-racialism, democracy and political participation. He fought for economic inclusion and abhorred poverty and inequality. He believed that before asking disadvantaged people to make sacrifices, wealthy people should do the same – he himself took a salary cut when he became South African President. Truly honouring Madiba means being responsive to his entire political legacy and not just to the facets that one finds convenient. World leaders who want to honour Madiba can only do so if they respect the rule of law and do not engage in extra judicial actions. Madiba was opposed to xenophobia in any form and honouring him means respecting his views in this regard. This means opposing pressures to turn away migrants, to incite violence and xenophobia, and to separate children from their families, even when it promises to ‘make America great again’.


Many leaders in South Africa who claim to honour Madiba should remember that he opposed corruption and advocated service delivery and economic inclusion. These must become priorities in South Africa – but require that action be taken against the corrupt, even when they are close to political power. In all of these areas South Africa’s leaders (and Madiba’s comrades) have been found lacking. It took years for Jacob Zuma to be recalled and be held accountable for his role in ‘state capture’. He must still account for allegations of corruption in the arms deal, and for splurging on Nkandla, his lavish personal home renovated with just over R248 million of taxpayers’ money. South Africa’s National Development Plan, the country’s signature policy initiative, focuses on poverty but ignores inequality. The plan assumes that reducing poverty and increasing employment will address inequality. These are necessary but insufficient. The last 20 years in China, India, South Africa and others is a story of an enormous reduction in poverty, yet inequality flourished in all of these societies. This is because those at the apex of society have assets (bonds, stocks, property), which those at the base do not have. When growth resumes in the economy, employment expands and livelihoods increase at the base of society. The assets of those at the apex grow faster, feeding inequality even as poverty is being reduced. The National Development Plan is silent about this, even though


its commissioners were aware of it, but the political cost was too onerous to tackle. Finally, although the real cost of service delivery failure is borne by the poor (whom the ANC professes to represent), the ANC protects its cadres deployed to service delivery positions in a futile attempt to avoid being implicated in service delivery failure. In all of these acts, the ANC and its leaders betray Madiba’s legacy.


Corporate leaders often remark about the pragmatism of Madiba but they remain silent about his commitment to economic inclusion. They often highlight the fact that he abandoned nationalisation, and was president when a conservative macroeconomic programme, the Growth, Employment and Redistribution Strategy (GEAR) was implemented. Yet they conveniently ignore that Madiba saw this programme as a compromise born of political necessity. Madiba also bemoaned the implementation of GEAR and he was appalled at the increase in economic inequality and at the socio-political polarisation that ensued. To truly honour Madiba requires corporate leaders to recognise all facets of his message. It requires them to make collective sacrifices to address economic inequality. This need not mean abandoning a market economy but, as in Europe and Asia, it does mean that such a market needs to be regulated. Furthermore, individual investment decisions should consider social costs. It also requires that corporate leaders be open to the prospect of regulating their remuneration. As Thomas Piketty remarks in his study, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, the excessive remuneration of corporate leaders is part of what drives inequality. If inequality were to be addressed, it would be mandatory for this remuneration to be subject to constraints.


A similar obligation is required of union leaders and activists in civil society. Too often, they speak of Madiba’s values – democracy, non-racialism, economic inclusion – yet they ignore his message of how to realise these goals. Madiba was an astute political entrepreneur who understood the importance of pragmatism in a struggle for equality. He recognised that we live in a world that is, and not in a world that we wish existed. Madiba recognised the importance of the realities of power,

The Wits Choir celebrates Nelson Mandela’s life at a memorial service held at Wits in 2013.

Wits University

This is why union leaders and progressive civil society activists should not conduct debate in political extremes. and the need to engage and sometimes compromise. However, he believed that such compromises must ultimately unleash initiatives that enable a breakthrough to realising a better world. This is why union leaders and progressive civil society activists should not conduct debate in political extremes – Capitalism versus Socialism, nationalisation versus unregulated markets – these often serve as parameters of debate, as if these are the only options available. Rarely do progressive activists and leaders think through the structural reforms required to bridge the political divide that Achille

Mbembe described in 2012 as a South Africa “caught between an intractable present and an irrecoverable past; between things that are no longer and things that are not yet”. Madiba’s legacy is a complex one. It behoves all of us not to cheapen it. If we truly want to honour him beyond the platitudes, then we must become responsive to his entire political message. This will give us our first shot at building the society envisioned in the Freedom Charter, which Madiba himself had a hand in creating 63 years ago. C

Adam Habib is a Professor of Political Science, an academic, researcher, activist, administrator, and renowned political commentator. Transformation, democracy and development are fundamental themes of his research. His book, South Africa’s Suspended Revolution: Hopes and Prospects, has informed debates around the country’s transition into democracy and its prospects for inclusive development. Habib is the ViceChancellor and Principal of Wits.




In a poll published by The Economist in December 2017, South Africa’s national anthem Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika (God Bless Africa) was voted the best anthem in the world. According to The Economist, “The best anthems, like South Africa’s Nkosi Sikelil’iAfrika, create their own world entirely”. RESHMA LAKHA-SINGH


reating our own world to suit our eclectic population was the job of a committee convened by the Multiparty Negotiating Forum’s Subcommittee on National Symbols. The committee received over 200 new anthem proposals but none was suitable. It was decided to combine two existing anthems – Die Stem [The Voice] and Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika – into a shorter version. In 1995, a team of experts including Wits Emeritus Professor in Music, Jeanne Zaidel-Rudolph, and the former head of the Department of African Languages at Wits, Professor Mzilikazi Khumalo began the arduous process of reworking the anthem. Over eight weeks, Zaidel-Rudolph combined the two anthems musically, adding in the English lyrics as well as producing the new composite version for voice, piano, and full orchestra. In October 1997, former President Nelson Mandela officially adopted this rendition as the national anthem of South Africa. The integration of anthems has not been without controversy. Since 2014, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has called for the removal of Die Stem from the anthem, a clarion call that gained traction during the #FeesMustFall movement. At EFF student gatherings, Die Stem is omitted. Wits PhD graduate and EFF spokesperson, Dr Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said in an interview, “[Enoch] Sontonga wrote Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika as a prayer against the violence Blacks experienced. The inclusion of Die Stem is not only an adulteration of Sontonga's prayer, but it is as though Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika is only made complete by adding what were considered European languages to it.” However, the National Anthem today – like many other things in South Africa – is a product of a negotiated settlement intended as a measure of reconciliation for a new South Africa. C



Nkosi sikelel' iAfrika Maluphakanyisw' uphondo lwayo,

Lord bless Africa May her glory be lifted high,

Zulu Yizwa imithandazo yethu, Nkosi sikelela, thina lusapho lwayo.

English Hear our prayers Lord bless us, your children.

Sesotho Morena boloka setjhaba sa heso, O fedise dintwa le matshwenyeho, O se boloke, O se boloke setjhaba sa heso, Setjhaba sa, South Afrika, South Afrika.

English Lord we ask you to protect our nation, Intervene and end all conflicts, Protect us, protect our nation, the nation of South Africa, South Africa.

Afrikaans Uit die blou van onse hemel, Uit die diepte van ons see,Oor ons ewige gebergtes, Waar die kranse antwoord gee

English Ringing out from our blue heavens, From the depths of our seas, Over everlasting mountains, Where the echoing crags resound

Sounds the call to come together, And united we shall stand, Let us live and strive for freedom In South Africa our land!

Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika (1897), music and lyrics by Enoch Sontonga (ca. 1873–1905) was officially adopted as the closing anthem for meetings of the African National Congress in 1925. Tanzania and Zambia use it as their national anthem. Die Stem van Suid Afrika (1921), music by Martinus Lourens De Villiers (1885–1997), lyrics by Cornelius Jacobus Langenhoven (1873–1932) was adopted as South Africa’s national anthem in May 1957.


THE MANDELA INSTITUTE IS A CENTRE IN THE SCHOOL OF LAW OF THE UNIVERSITY OF THE WITWATERSRAND. The Mandela Institute’s vision is to be innovative thought leaders influencing African law and policy for sustainable development.

The Mandela Institute’s mission is to be a leading research institute in: ● Continuous professional development and capacity building by offering stand-alone postgraduate public certificate courses aimed at practitioners and other law graduates who wish to gain new knowledge or update their skills. - The certificate courses are offered in various specialised legal fields and may also be offered inhouse. - Some certificate courses carry credit towards the Postgraduate Diploma in Law or LLM, subject to conditions. - The Labour Dispute Resolution Practice LDRP certificate course is offered in collaboration with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration CCMA and the Labour Relations Practice Industry.

● Innovative law and policy research principally in the following areas: - Corporate, banking and financial services regulation - Sustainability, extractives and good governance - Biotechnology, intellectual property and development - Energy, environment, climate change and development - Investment, trade and economic law, and other legal areas. ● Creating a space for public policy engagement.

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