Is Mandela’s legacy already bastardized, by those who claim to know?

Is Mandela’s legacy already bastardized, by those who claim to know?

          Who told us reconciliation if it benefits ‘whites’ is true reconciliation –


With the passing of Mandela, many are trying to emulate him, which we all agree is our mission and task, yet many misunderstand this emulation. 


I shall attempt to address myself to three groups whom I hold in this season attempts a bastardization of this legacy in various shades.


The first group choose to point fingers at others, in self-righteousness.  They uniquely believe that they have earned the right to speak on behalf of a Madiba in the interest of what he stood for.

The biggest contribution this group makes is to tell others “leaders are fooling themselves in thinking them fooling the masses, if they claim they emulate the espoused values of Nelson Mandela”. I call them the spectators who know how the game is suppose to be played. The referees, the adjudicators self appointed though.


This group claims their association with Mandela in friendship or otherwise have naturally earned them the right of custodianship of his values only in observance not in their personal practice of those values..


Whilst they accuse others in pointing fingers, they err in looking at themselves- they contribute nothing meaningful but to point fingers. It is to them that the young Nandi Mandela rang a warning, “stop pointing fingers”. Pointing out the wrongs through innuendos and veiled accusations helps no one. The sad reality is these have open doors and have never been rejected or denied access to the current ANC leadership yet they prefer to talk to the media and can never face up. 

To those we say you have violated a fundamental principle that governed Mandela’s political life he confronted his compatriots, he did not use a media to speak what was meant be handled internally. Mandela was fearlessly loyal to the movement, and respected its leaders as democratically elected.


The second group include those who misinterpret Mandela as the hero of former Dutch or the Boere who became Afrikaners to denounce a history of apartheid sin and benefit. 


These assume you only practice reconciliation if your efforts benefits “whites”. This group has found spokespersons in the likes Archbishop Tutu, who in recent days decided to speak up, and append his signature and joining the voices against a march of the poor people of the Western Cape by the masses as that, which is a threat to democracy. 


Let us not forget it was the Arch Tutu who pleaded that we desist referring to  Johan Kotze as the Modimolle monster, because God loves him and there is something good in him. Kotze a man who consciously in cold blood killed his stepson amidst the teenager’s pleas. Kotze who orchestrated the violation of his own wife’s sanctity in forcing his workers to rape her. I asked then and I asked now, when did the Archbishop Tutu speak up for a “black” rapist or monster like that? Your guess is as good as mine is, never. 


Not only that, but the Archbishop goes on today and castigate the organizers for not including what he terms Afrikaner Religious Leaders in the programme. For the Arch, this is the highest form reconciliation and something Mandela would have wanted.  


Today also, this group received another voice none other than the Deputy President of the Country Kgalema Motlanthe who tells us the continuous incarceration of Clive Derby- Lewis co-conspirator with Janus Walus who pulled the trigger on Chris Hani on April 10, 1993, torments him. 


The premise for this stance on the part of Motlanthe is to argue if we have moved on, we suppose to make it count in considering his release. 


The challenge I have with the second group is their perpetual misinterpretation of what reconciliation means for them it resonates singularly in the domain of one race group, as benefactor of reconciliation. 


These abdicate and pass over the challenges of reconciliation in African people and consider them not important if not less worthy for such reconciliation. 


I thought the Arch should have asked why Qunu’s people did not see their hero; would Mandela not have wanted that? 


I thought that for Motlanthe the more appropriate question should have been how the continuous imprisonment of AZAPO combatants torments him. If we talk of reconciliation after 20 years what are these former freedom fighters still doing in a prison cell?  There are literally thousands of people languishing in our jails in SA, who had served beyond their 20 year terms who also sick, yet Motlanthe is not tormented by these. Could it be that he next will tell us we must consider releasing Apartheid’s only true prisoners Eugene De Kock and Ferdi Barnard, because Mandela would have done that?


The third group of Mandela legacy constitute those who misinterprets Mandela legacy imminent in rebuking others as hypocrites when they blurt ‘don’t talk about what Mandela stood for, live it in praxis.’


They progress slightly further than pointing fingers because they want to see the values realised. The only problem is they again accuse others and measure them against others like  a Barack Obama.These tell us of how a Barack Obama, who apparently epitomizes in speeches the essence of Madiba captures the essence of what Mandela stood for. 


These are quick to tell others do not talk of the values of Mandela but live them. Yet swayed by the oratory skills and prowess of a lanky son of a Kenyan African father and Irish in decent mother when he in our world favourite accent declares what he did at FNB. 


They hang on his lips, they quote him, yet they do not ask the flaws if not hypocrisy in Obama who has been killing innocent people with his drone attacks. They worship an Obama, who is no example for us of Madiba values when he as an African failed the African’s cause in Compton California and the African in Nairobo in foreign relations context. Yet he found nesting grounds in Irish embrace of welcome and his  ultra – Eurocentric foreign diplomacy in which Africa is left in the valley of yesterday. 


I fail to understand that Mandela is hardly buried a few days and we have these misinterpreted realities of a Mandela legacy. If this is not addressed, we may end up with a bastardisation of this legacy. 


Yet we shall warn those in this epoch who claim an aloofness of knowing, a right in superlative to point fingers and a righteousness of claim devoid of praxis as evident in their own lives, we are not blind, like you we have understood the mosaic of a man called Nelson Mandela.


We shall warn them they will not get away with this bastardization of Mandela legacy. One good thing Tata did he made all feel they were his best friend, clearly these last 10 days confirmed he had many friends thus none can claim a unique superimposed knowledge of Nelson Rolihlala Mandela that they can rebuke others in a form of supremacy.


Clyde N. Ramalaine

Independent observer 



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