South Africa lost one of its leaders that changed the country and the world lost the figure head of the fight against apartheid. Because of the nature of the myth and not the man, Mandela’s funeral is politically mandatory. Like Lenin’s funeral which attracted millions of compulsory mourners, attendance is being taken among the world’s elite. No one wants to play the role of heir apparent, Trotsky who missed Lenin’s funeral against a Stalin who did not. Ninety heads of state attended the funeral to show their solidarity with the myth and pin their own political aspirations unto a body in repose.
So who really is this Nelson Mandela that helped to change a country? Is he a modern day Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln and King all rolled into one as Obama suggests? Or is he the devil incarnate as some have observed during his long walk to freedom. Mandela contrary to either description was just a man. A man that believed in his cause and used whatever means were necessary to advance that cause.
Mandela’s road to cultural icon was a long and twisty road full of dead ends and u-turns. His first step in 1943 was to join the African National Congress or the ANC. At first he was a champion of the separate but equal road to equality. He abandoned that tactic and moved on to speeches and rallies. When this proved ineffectual he and the ANC decided they “had no alternative to armed and violent resistance”. He requested arms from the Chinese and was turned down, but Russia was more than willing to help finance upheaval in the western world with a budget of over 200 million. After over fifty bombings Mandela was convicted and thrown into his famous prison sentence. Though it did not stop the bombings only moved them to public spaces and larger civilian casualties, Mandela got noticed.
In a feat that would make extreme makeover shows blush all references to Communism and violence and were deleted from his history. Nelson Mandela convicted of murderer became a political prisoner. The bombing even stopped. As the winds of change brought power to anti-apartheid groups the ANC turned its wrath from the government to its opponents. Blacks in South Africa that did not support the ANC would find themselves kidnapped by mobs, have their hands chopped off, bound in barbed wire and a gas filled tire around their necks. This practice of “necklacing” cumulated in a lit match and cheers from the mob as they burned to death. Mandela’s second wife extolled this form of retribution by stating “With our boxes of matches and our necklaces we shall liberate our country”. Eventually she too became part of the extreme makeover of Mandela thru divorce. ( http://www.thetruthaboutsouthafrica.com/p/ancs-black-on-black-killing-spree.html )
After his release Mandela sat with the same man that imprisoned him to negotiate the end of apartheid. This in turn led to Mandela being elected as the first black president of South Africa. He served but one term by his own choice and became a symbol of the end of apartheid. Was he a pragmatist or an opportunist, we will never know? But for all the stumbles along the way to ending apartheid he never fell into the easy road of blaming whites to extract revenge or garner support. It is a well beaten path followed by so many other African countries. The same could not be said for the ANC, his successors or even his ex wife.
The attendance of Nelson Mandela’s funeral was a who’s who of Communist’s, Communist sympathizers, Socialists, Marxists, and their camp followers. The speeches were all about themselves and their concern for the little people. Not the little people killed on Church Street, several shopping centers or the movie complex by ANC bombs. Not the little people, mostly black burned to death inside a tire. No the little people that buy their lies and allow them to stay in power and live the lives they have become accustomed to.
Since so few that attended said it much less thought it: Nelson Mandela 1918 – 2013 May he rest in peace, and God have mercy on his soul.