Old Deaf Ranter
Thursday, December 5, 2013 4:45PM EST
One of the most beloved leaders of the 20th century, Nelson Mandela died Thursday at the age of 95.
Mandela, who inherited a country on the verge of civil war and torn apart by racial violence, will forever be remembered for bringing hope and reconciliation to South Africa. Controversial for much of his life, he ultimately became a beacon of optimism for people both at home and around the world.
The iconic leader -- known for his charismatic personality, soft-yet-stirring speeches and charitable work post-politics -- spent 27 years behind bars for opposing white rule in his country before becoming South Africa’s first black president in 1994.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets privately with former South Africa President Nelson Mandela, 94, and his wife Graca Machel at his home in Qunu, South Africa on Monday, Aug. 6, 2012. (AP / Jacquelyn Martin)
Former South African President Nelson Mandela, centre, with his wife Graca Machel at World Cup final soccer match between the Netherlands and Spain at Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa on Sunday, July 11, 2010. (AP / Luca Bruno)
Mandela became increasingly frail in recent years and was hospitalized several times in the past few months, receiving treatment for pneumonia, an ongoing lung infection and gallstones.
Though he served only five years in office, Mandela is recognized the world over, often seen as someone with great dignity and moral authority.
While he sought a quiet family life in retirement, he continued to meet with notable dignitaries and celebrities, weigh in international affairs and conflicts, and champion causes in which he believed, including poverty and HIV/AIDS.
At age 85 and amid failing health, he was forced to announce he was “retiring from retirement,” in 2004, retreating from the spotlight as much as possible. His last major public appearance was in 2010, when South Africa hosted the World Cup of Soccer. He was greeted by thunderous applause but made no speech.
Known for his unyielding optimism, Mandela leaves behind a lasting legacy -- with countless parks, schools and squares named in his honour.
His birthday is a public holiday in South Africa, where Mandela is affectionately known by his clan name, Madiba.
Mandela’s life behind bars, in power
For too long known as a political martyr, Mandela was sentenced to life in prison in the 1960s for trying to overthrow the pro-apartheid government.
He served 27 years of hard labour, mostly at Robben Island, looking forward to his only perk -- a 30-minute session with a visitor once a year.
While in jail, Mandela unified the prisoners, foreshadowing the leadership skills he would use when he became the country’s first fully-representative democratically elected president.
His release on Feb. 11, 1990 was brought about in part by heavy economic sanctions imposed on South Africa by dozens of countries, including Canada.
As the world watched on television, Mandela walked confidently toward the prison gates, his wife Winnie at his side. A huge throng of reporters and thousands of supporters wait to greet him, a scene he later described as "a happy, if slightly disorienting chaos."
His next gesture would forever symbolize his struggle.
"I raised my right fist and there was a roar," Mandela recalled.
Read more: Nelson Mandela, hero of South Africa, dies at 95 | CTV News
he had a long good life.
The practice became a common method of lynching among black South Africans during disturbances in South Africa in the 1980s and 1990s. The first recorded instance took place in Uitenhage on 23 March 1985 when black African National Congress (ANC) supporters killed a black councillor who was accused of being a White collaborator.
Necklacing "sentences" were sometimes handed down against alleged criminals by "people's courts" established in black townships as a means of enforcing their own judicial system. Necklacing was also used by the black community to punish members of the black community who were perceived as collaborators with the apartheid government. These included black policemen, town councilors and others, as well as their relatives and associates. The practice was often carried out in the name of the ANC. Winnie Mandela, then-wife of the imprisoned Nelson Mandela and a senior member of the ANC, even made statements that endorsed its use. The ANC officially condemned the practice. The number of deaths per month in South Africa related to political unrest as a whole from 1992 through 1995 ranged from 54 to 605 and averaged 244. These figures are inclusive of massacres as well as deaths not attributed to necklacing.
By Pete Papaherakles
As South Africa’s 95-year-old Nelson Mandela lies in the hospital, the worldwide media portrays him as a larger-than-life heroic figure and the liberator of his people. But is that truth or fiction? And how will honest historians judge him?
The official story goes something like this: Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born in 1918 into the Thembu tribe’s royal family. He studied law at two prestigious universities and became involved in “anti-colonial politics,” joining the African National Congress (ANC). He was committed to non-violent protest in gaining sovereignty for blacks. In 1962 he was arrested and convicted of sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government and was sentenced to life in prison.
An international campaign lobbied for his release, which was granted in 1990, and he was hailed as martyr of white racism by the international media. This popularity propelled him to be elected president of South Africa in 1994, where he continued with his struggle to “end ethnic tensions and bring about racial equality.” Over the years, Mandela has received over 250 awards, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Soviet Order of Lenin.
That’s the official story. His critics, however, have a different opinion. They point to the fact that Mandela was not imprisoned for opposing apartheid, or segregation, in Africa, but for being a communist terrorist murderer-bomber in service to the Soviet Union.
The ANC’s guerrilla force, known as uMkhonto we Sizwe—MK, or “Spear of the Nation”—was founded in 1961 by Mandela and his advisor, the Lithuanian-born communist Jew Joe Slovo, born Yossel Mashel Slovo, who was officially named secretary general of the South African Communist Party in 1986.
Slovo had been the planner of many of the ANC terrorist attacks, including the January 8, 1982 attack on the Koeberg nuclear power plant near Cape Town, the Church Street bombing on May 20, 1983, which killed 19 people, and the June 14, 1986 car-bombing of Magoo’s Bar in Durban, in which three people were killed and 73 injured.
In 1962, Mandela was arrested along with 19 others, half of whom were White communist Jews, in a police raid of ANC headquarters at a farm owned by Andrew Goldreich, also a communist Jew, at Rivonia, a Johannesburg suburb.
In the Rivonia Trial, which took place between 1963 and 1964, the defendants were tried for 221 acts of sabotage designed to overthrow the government and conspiring to aid foreign military units, when they invaded SA to further the objects of communism.
The prosecutor, Percy Yutar said at the trial that “production requirements for munitions were sufficient to blow up a city the size of Johannesburg.”
Escaping the death sentence, Mandela was given life in prison.
By 1990, the communists behind Mandela had gained enough power to force his release. Apartheid was abolished in 1992 and the ANC was put into power in 1994 with Mandela as president. Slovo became his secretary of housing.
Shortly thereafter, Mandela and Slovo, along with a group of ANC leaders, were filmed chanting a pledge to kill all whites in South Africa.
Current South African President Jacob Zuma, also of the ANC, was also filmed as late as January 2012 singing a song called “Kill the Boer” in front of a crowd of thousands of blacks while they cheered and danced. The song advocates the murder of the descendents of the original white settlers of South Africa, with lyrics encouraging blacks to gun down the farmers with machine guns.
Mandela’s ex-wife Winnie, also a longtime ANC activist, prefers a method called “necklacing,” where a gasoline-filled tire is placed around the neck of a victim and set ablaze. “With our boxes of matches and our necklaces we shall liberate this country,” she is infamous for saying.
(Mandela was in solitary confinement at the time of the necklacing torture-murders. An estimated 3,000 victims died by necklacing.)
Since 1994, 68,000 whites have been brutally tortured and murdered by blacks in South Africa, in ways too gruesome to describe, including almost 4,000 Boers whose farms were confiscated by savage murderers, a combined area of over 25,000 square miles.
Contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of blacks in South Africa aren’t natives, but came by the millions from neighboring countries only after the white Boers created a country with a thriving economy, education opportunities and medical benefits.
Under white rule, blacks in South Africa enjoyed better living conditions than any other African country, where blacks kill each other in tribal warfare.
In 1994, the same year Mandela took power, the Hutu tribe killed 800,000 Tutsis in Rwanda. Similar tribal genocides have taken place in Congo, Somalia, Ethiopia, Chad, Mali, Zimbabwe, Angola and many more African countries. Tribal savagery and genocide has always been a way of life for Africans.
Since Mandela took over, South Africa has become a Third World country. It went from being the safest country in Africa, to being the rape and murder capital of the world. In Johannesburg, 5,000 people are murdered every year. Unemployment went from 5% in 1994 to 50% today.
South Africa also has the largest number of people infected with HIV/AIDS in the world. In 2007, over 18% of adults, or 5,700,000 people had AIDS. In 2010, an estimated 280,000 died of AIDS.
Looking beyond the media myth of a “demigod Mandela” as he faces his twilight, one can only say, “good riddance.”