Don’t forget Nelson Mandela and his vision_1

It seems like a lifetime ago that the dignified man in a grey suit, hand-in-hand with his wife making a “black power” salute, emerged from prison to a country starting on its own road to freedom. The world was a different place in 1990, when Nelson Mandela was freed. The Soviet Union had fallen and the National Party – through president FW de Klerk – had finally begun dismantling apartheid. The only alternative – a long and bloody civil war – was no alternative at all. More than a generation on, it is easy to forget, or dismiss, the momentous...
It seems like a lifetime ago that the dignified man in a grey suit, hand-in-hand with his wife making a “black power” salute, emerged from prison to a country starting on its own road to freedom.

The world was a different place in 1990, when Nelson Mandela was freed.

The Soviet Union had fallen and the National Party – through president FW de Klerk – had finally begun dismantling apartheid.

The only alternative – a long and bloody civil war – was no alternative at all.

More than a generation on, it is easy to forget, or dismiss, the momentous nature of that day. Youngsters not born when Madiba emerged as a free man, are quick to decry his contribution, accusing him of “selling out” to the West, whites, monopoly capital … a host of evils.

On the other side are bitter whites who have seen their positions in society change radically and who now feel the sting of racial discrimination themselves through programmes like Black Economic Empowerment and who wonder why they voted for change in that all-but-forgotten whites-only referendum in 1992 when, for the first time in history, a people voluntarily handed over power.

Were Madiba alive today, we are sure he would be disappointed at the way the “Rainbow Nation of the Children of God” (as Desmond Tutu styled it) has lost its way. And he would be angry that the people leading us into the wilderness as a nation are the people from his own organisation, the ANC.

The ANC is split into factions, fighting tooth and nail to get in the best position to loot. Its supporters are still, by and large, waiting for the better life the ANC promised them.

Yet, let us not forget Madiba. His memory should remind us of how we could, and should, be.

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.