Reflections on Nelson Mandela and a Post-Mandela South Africa
The death and funeral of Nelson Mandela have triggered a tsunami of commentary — an endless orgy of eulogies and tributes — from media talking heads, assorted scribes, and politicians. Beltway “conservatives,” such as Newt Gingrich and Ted Cruz, have praised Mandela. Bill O’Reilly even noted that Mandela was “a communist” before concluding that Mandela was a “great man.” The Daily Telegraph, a right-of-center newspaper, compared Mandela to Christ, noting
There are very few human beings who can be compared to Jesus Christ. Nelson Mandela is one. This is because he was a spiritual leader as much as a statesman. His colossal moral strength enabled him to embark on new and unimaginable forms of action.
What sets this coverage apart from similar media iconic myths is sheer volume. The nonstop reporting is virtually unprecedented. Shortly after Mandela’s death was announced last week, National Public Radio (NPR) devoted expansive news segment after news segment to the former ANC terrorist-turned-president of South Africa. A “special series” is posted on the NPR site, which spans several angles: “An ‘Incomparable Force of Leadership,’” “Nelson Mandela and the Virtue of Compromise,” the photo essay, “Honoring Mandela, In Gestures Large and Small,” “How Mandela Expanded the Art of the Possible,” and “U.S. Flags Lowered for Mandela, A Rare Honor for Foreign Leaders.”
You know you’ve made it big when Maya Angelou memorializes the deceased with a poem. The U.S. Department of State, of all places, commissioned Angelou to write a tribute poem — “His Day Is Done” — which has been featured on countless news programs. Not to be outdone, the New York Times obituary, written by Bill Keller, is 6,500 words.
The Sunday “news” shows explored Mandela’s death with the usual “civil rights leaders,” which included the predictable semi-literate insights of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton of Tawana Brawley rape-hoax fame, and the verbose, hyper-opinionated Michael Eric Dyson.
From which one may conclude that the canonization of Mandela is far more about reinforcing the elite consensus on multiculturalism, immigration, and the general eclipse of White political power than it is about Mandela. Just as Whites ceded power in South Africa to non-Whites, Whites throughout the world should accept the moral imperative of giving up political power as their countries are inundated by non-Whites.
The true agenda of reinforcing the elite anti-White consensus can be seen in how unbalanced the media coverage has been. The hagiographic portrayal conveniently omits or excuses away flaws that would likely be viewed negatively by the general public even though they are widely known (e.g., the fact that he was a womanizer as a young man or his many failures as president). The point is not a balanced, accurate account, but propaganda in the service of buttressing the elite status quo.
A good example of this is Mandela’s membership in the South African Communist Party (SACP) and role as a Central Committee member, which the party now concedes. A converging amount of evidence, including archival records uncovered by researcher and author Stephen Ellis, indicates that Mandela, contrary to repeated denials, was a member of the SACP.
News accounts thus emphasize the Good, but typically ignore the Bad, and the Ugly. The Nexis database contains 1,828 news items that mention Mandela in their headline or lead paragraph on the date of Mandela’s death (December 5). A sub-search of these news items turns up 97 items (of 1,828), which contain the word “communist” and denote some reference to either a direct or indirect communist affiliation. This is slightly more than 5 percent of the total initial coverage. Broadcast transcripts reflect an even greater imbalance. Of the broadcast news coverage, from December 4-7, only 75 news segments out of 2,559 transcripts make direct or indirect reference to Mandela as a communist (the word communist appearing within 10 words of Mandela in this subset within the Nexis database).
Whatever else Mandela may have been, the news retrospectives of a “freedom fighter” and “liberator,” who battled against South Africa’s oppressive apartheid regime, places Mandela on the side of the angels from the vantage point of the Media zeitgeist. (Bill Keller of the New York Times reflects this mindset in minimizing the political consequences of Mandela’s communist affiliations.) The true nature of media bias is one of unbridled egalitarianism. The legend of Mandela, much like Martin Luther King, echoes this blatant bias, which will remain vastly distorted — an airbrushed treatment that requires constant backfilling. What is important, in the mindset of contemporary journalists, is what Mandela represents not what he actually is.
In addition to the standard conservative critique of Mandela as a “communist” and “terrorist,” Jim Goad makes a worthy point in his excellent commentary on Takimag.com,
This isn’t to say there was nothing to admire about the man. His stoic perseverance against all odds is the stuff of which heroic legends are made. But to keep such legends unsullied requires a vigilant and ruthless pruning of inconvenient facts that would undermine the carefully sculpted image of Human Goodness Incarnate that surrounds what was possibly the world’s most famous man.
All too often boilerplate critiques gloss over other personal or political realities. The fact that a communist-terrorist-liberator managed to survive to 95 years of age after three decades of imprisonment and turmoil, much less being married to Winnie Mandela, is nothing to gloss over.
Nor is the present state of South Africa. The truth about actual political developments and national trends in post-Apartheid South Africa often stems from unlikely sources. Take, for example, R. W. Johnson’s South Africa’s Brave New World. Johnson exposes the “bitter disappointments” and missed opportunities since Mandela’s election as president in 1994. The real message that comes across is that national liberators often make disastrous rulers.
In South Africa, corruption is rife, violent crime — homicides and rapes — is off the charts, rates of HIV infections are at all-time highs, socio-economic standards have deteriorated, and a civilized existence is rarely found outside gated communities with private security guards, “rape gates” that serve as additional security barriers to bedrooms, and “panic buttons” that alert security patrols of a home invasion.
From “Report a Crime”, a website focusing on crime in South Africa
As an anti-Apartheid sympathizer, Johnson touches on some of this since he has soured on the political leadership since Mandela’s time as president. He describes the ‘power-behind-the-throne’ influence of Thabo Mbeki on Mandela. Mbeki’s authority casts a long shadow over many of the early decisions on political appointments and adopted policies. President Jacob Zuma, who was booed at Mandela’s memorial service, is under investigation on corruption charges.
Johnson argues that the ANC, “a party of poor people, was hungry for funds, which its own members could not supply.” Hence, the need for “godfathers” — investors — “many [of whom] were Indian or Jewish.” Johnson points out that
although these groups [Indians and Jews] had prospered through the apartheid years and were South Africa’s most talented entrepreneurs, they had been firmly excluded from the commanding heights of public life by the Nats, who were determined to prevent “yids and coolies” undermining the rule of die volk. Now, many members of these groups saw a chance of political influence and rushed forward to take it. They quickly adopted the new political correctness, invited the leading lights of the ANC to their dinner tables and helped them with “loans.”
Johnson mentions two capitalist tycoons, hotel magnate Sol Kerzner and insurance magnate Donny Gordon, who schmoozed with the ANC elites just enough to get their fortunes out of South Africa undetected by the ANC. Writes Johnson, “There were a hundred ways of managing such exits. One day a businessman might be happily hobnobbing with the new ANC elite, then suddenly and without fanfare or announcement, the bird had flown…. In many cases such émigrés would keep emitting pro-ANC noises all the way to the airport, though most began to keep their distance from the ANC as soon as their asset transfers had gone through.” He also describes the hypocrisy of many black leaders, who
denounce the slave trade which saw ten to twelve million Africans transported against their will to Europe and the Americas, yet the fact is that millions more have, of their own free will, left for those same shores since Africa was independent — and far more would if they could. Whites may flee the locust plague of African nationalism (among whites the old joke is that ‘the time to emigrate is after the Jews but before the Asians’), but the larger historical fact is that when whites flee an African country it is a sure sign of a ‘failed colonization’ … . The failure of modernity means that far greater streams of Africans always accompany the whites.
The underlying realities of current political and social trends in South Africa are buried beneath the shallow superficialities of Mandela as a faultless towering saint-like figure.
Arthur Kemp, ever the iconoclast, raises some interesting points about Mandela. If, for example, one happened to be Black in South Africa during the rise of the ANC, one would probably end up supporting the ANC in their struggle against White rule. Who in their right mind wouldn’t want their own people to prevail and seek majority rule in a country ruled by a racial minority elite? With or without Mandela, the demographic realities of a Black majority South Africa would eventually prevail either in violent upheavals or through “nonviolent” means. As Kemp astutely notes,
Yes, Mandela was a Communist.
Yes, although Mandela personally did not kill anybody, and never set off any bombs, or even shoot a gun in anger — he certainly had the intention to do so and the organization which he founded — the ANC’s armed wing — most certainly did kill people.
And Mandela was certainly no friend of white people, no matter how the media tries to spin it.
Yes, the current state of South Africa is shocking….
But I would suggest that the current state of South Africa was inevitable, and would have occurred even if Mandela had never lived.
The knee-jerk condemnation of Mandela as the cause of South Africa’s problems, is a typically “right wing” misunderstanding of the story of the political development of South Africa.
Kemp rightly concludes, “no healthy race wants to be ruled by others.” True racial “diversity” should allow each race and nationality to develop their own cultural homelands without succumbing to racial “cleansing” by another group. What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander! Kemp again,
The desire of Africans to rule themselves in their nations, free of white rule, as personified by the life of Mandela, in fact justifies the demand of Europeans to rule themselves in their nations.
The problem, however, is that cultural, social, and political elites in the West promote multiracialism and multiculturalism as a means of making sure this never happens. The advancement of non-White minority interests overrides the group interests and wellbeing of White majorities in Western nations. In the U.S., minority ethnic lobbies are actively trying to shape changes to immigration policy, which would enhance their political stature as a voting-block coalition and advance their own ethnic agenda at the expense of the White majority’s national agenda. When will a “conservative” politician with the stature of a true statesman, such Enoch Powell, ever break with prevailing political conformities to stand on principle, in the mold of Mandela, and forcefully defend the European identity of their national heritage? And proclaim, “enough is enough!”