Mandela

Nelson Mandela

I knew it would happen. I think a lot of us knew it was inevitable. We got news of his health deteriorating weeks ago. Yet, we still hoped that he would somehow pull through just as if we knew him. Part of us, however, knew that it was only a matter of time. And sure enough, his time same. Nelson Mandela, one of the world’s most respected leaders, former first President of South Africa who worked to destroy the system of apartheid has died.

I was sadden hearing about Mandela’s passing. I felt like a close friend died. It’s funny seeing as how I hardly knew of this man during my younger days. Although, watching South Africa electing it’s first African president elected democratically was still a poignant moment I remembered and was proud of.

I was too young and stupid to understand why everyone should know the name of Nelson Mandela. This is a man who fought for freedom and equality against an African nation built on the policies of racial segregation and oppression the world would come to know as apartheid, a system imposed by a national party of all-white Afrikaaners installed in 1948.

Apartheid was a form capitalism that heavily relied on the labor of native-born Black Africans who were forced to work under inhuman conditions in factories and mines earning little and treated worse while whites benefited heavily from it. It was a mirror image of the capitalist caste treatment of the United States. This is why so many blacks here in the States and around the world identify so much with the anti-apartheid movements in South Africa and why they see Mandela as a true leader and revolutionary.

Nelson Mandela was a prominent leader within the movement. He was the leader of the African National Congress (ANC), an organization founded to unite African people and spearhead the struggle for political, social and economic empowerment for all Africans.

A young Nelson Mandela

Protests arose and uprisings were forming. As South Africans took the fight to the streets, whites countered their efforts with a spiked iron fist. The uprisings were brutal, bloody and brazen resulting in the lost of hundreds. The Sharpville Massacre in 1960 and the Soweto Uprising in 1976 were two important events where peaceful demonstrations were met with destructive opposition by members and supporters of a racist and heinous regime. But something else happened that would put a dent on the movement, the arrest of Nelson Mandela.

Mandela was convicted of treason spent roughly 27 years in prison. It was in Robbin Island where he and his comrades wrote his book Long Walk To Freedom, a collection of Mandela’s political ideals and human rights issues, particularly concerning the conditions in South Africa. During his imprisonment, he was recognized as an important figure in the anti-apartheid struggle.

South Africa felt pressure from the international community. The movement threatened divesting institutions and governments from the South African economy, individual boycotts, international sanctions against the nation, and to free Mandela and all South Africa’s political prisoners.

The apartheid regime partly caved in. They could not deny their racism any longer. It was in plain sight. And in 1990, Nelson Mandela was free.

In 1994, Mandela became the first democratically elected president in South Africa and worked to dismantle the system of apartheid one cog of reform at a time. Nevertheless, the specter of the system remained. Poverty and inequality still remains to this day. Violence against protesting miners continue. And the struggle for access for treatment for diseases like AIDS is still a reality.

After his term in office, Mandela continued to speak out on the injustices of the world. He spoke on behalf of the Palestinians where he said, “Palestinians are not struggling for a ‘state’ but for freedom, liberation and equality, just like we were struggling for freedom in South Africa.” He would deliver messages of freedom and justice all over the world becoming a global activist and respected leader up until the time of his death. He succumbed to his health issues at the age of 95.

While the world mourns the loss of one of its greatest leaders, let’s not forget that there are have beenand still are – those who opposed his ideals and the end of apartheid. Yet, most of those same people are now praising him as if they’ve always admired him. There are people who continue to condemn Mandela, referring to him as a terrorist, a communist, an enemy to the free world and a racist. They openly and without shame praise his passing. To those who support white supremacist capitalism, Mandela’s death was a just victory. And they will take great joy and letting you know what they “think”.

But Mandela was an enemy of an oppressive system constructed on the myth of white supremacy, a system that can not be removed easily. It didn’t go away when Mandela was elected. And it didn’t magically vanish when Obama was elected.

Let’s honor the memory of Nelson Mandela by working to change the world for the better by fighting against the phantoms of white racism. Let’s not be fueled by anger and rage when we engage in the struggle to deconstruct institutional racism. We must fight with love, strength and intelligence. We must live up to the best example possible. To do so is a true tribute to his legacy.

One of Mandela’s quotes
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19 thoughts on “Mandela

  1. “those who opposed his ideals and the end of apartheid. Yet, most of those same people are now praising him as if they’ve always admired him”

    Yep they sure are, they doing him the same way they did dr king hating them while alive but In death praising them as if they never hated them. But it is funny to see people attacking the republicans that did praise mandela and are disappointed that they are not being as racist as they want them to be. ted cruz is being attacked for it. Its funny they want to call him a terrorist and all that but they call the European terrorists founding fathers. and have a day to celebrate Christopher columbus terrorizing ass. so it’s ok to cause genocide and enslave ppl that isn’t a terrorist but a hero, but standing up for people and for equality is a terrorist gtfoh.

    1. I find it very interesting that Mandela is being praised for non-violence yet white males in America have NEVER used non-violence ever to resolve a conflict. Has anyone else noticed that too?

      1. yep. violence is the first thing they do. oh these ppl building weapons oh heck no lets invade their country and start a war. oh these ppl ain’t givin us what we want lets cut em off. oh the blacks want freedom lets create jim crow and the klan to keep them in their place. even people from other places notice it. violence first negotiations later. shoot first ask questions later.

  2. I want to see the good the bad and the ugly. The media is just presenting the sanitized version of Mr. Mandela, I want to see the warrior, the ass kicking, tough, side of him. I want to see all the dimensions of him, not just the sweet smiling grandfather. I am sure he was all of those things as well. But they are just presenting this one dimensional character. I know there must have been times when he wanted to just rip his enemy to shreads, why can’t we see that side too.

    1. Exactly white males in the media praise him for not turning the tables and using a chance to get even. Funny how THEY don’t feel that way when they are slighted or angry can you say Pearl Harbor boys and girls?

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