Lest We Forget
(by Peter Simple, London Daily Telegraph, and reproduced in The Aida Parker Newsletter, Issue No. 168, October/November 1993)
So long as you ignore what he says, Mr Mandela seems a very courteous and reasonable old gentleman. At a press conference in Cape Town he said: ‘Whites are fellow South Africans and we want them to feel safe and to know that we appreciate the contribution they have made towards the development of this country.’ That was very kind of him. But – contribution?
Everything in the ‘development’ of South Africa is the ‘contribution’ of the whites. They have contributed its cities, its farmlands, its roads, its harbours, its schools, its hospitals, its power stations. They have contributed the cars and aeroplanes in which Mr Mandela travels.
They have contributed the means of printing the newspapers in which his words are reported and the means of distributing them. They have contributed the microphones through which he speaks at press conferences and the means by which what he says is transmitted to the world.
They have contributed the education without which he could not have become a modern political leader. They have even contributed the concepts of ‘equality’, of ‘one-man-one-vote democracy’ and of ‘majority rule’ which fill his mind and proceed continually from his mouth. They have also contributed (though they probably cannot claim the ‘necklacing’ technique as theirs) the petrol, tyres and matches with which Winnie Mandela once declared her people would liberate the country.
Without the contribution of the whites, there would be no South Africa. True, South Africa has not been created without great injustice (what country has?). But only those who created it can preside over the process of making amends, of creating a South Africa in which all its various and still unequal peoples may take their rightful place.
In such a wicked world as ours there is no more than a small chance that such an ideal South Africa – it would be a kind of African Switzerland – will come into existence. But because the odds against it are so great (and the alternative so dire), we who are not, after all, risking anything ourselves, should do nothing to make them greater. Instead of abuse, suspicion and malicious interference, the white South Africans deserve the world’s sympathy – and indeed its active help.
Mandela Gets Hammered
by Aida Parker
(Published in The Aida Parker Newsletter, Issue No. 213, January 1998. This article was published after Mandela had been president of South Africa for almost four years, and after he formally relinquished political command to his deputy, Thabo Mbeki.)
Sic transit gloria mundi… Thus the glory of the world passes away.
In 1976 the ANC had to decide which of two men – Mandela or Walter Sisulu – should be built up as their main international face. Mandela won the trophy, largely because his wife, Winnie, was overwhelmingly more photogenic than the more worthy but distinctly more homely Albertina Sisulu. So is political history made.
The propaganda mills ground into action: and the world, desperate for heroes, for a decent man to love, fell for it, hook, line and sinker. Mandela’s image was given a high gloss. He was anointed a saint, a giant among men, “the most important man after Jesus Christ.” Today angry disillusion has set in. In recent weeks, especially after Mandela’s White-bashing tirade at the ANC triennial convention, I have received dozens of clippings from the local and international media, berating him as a fraud and a phoney.
Writing in Finance Week, 15/21.1.98, R.C. Lockwood of Tableview sails into the ANC, all guns blazing: “The world is at last waking up to the true ‘Mandela Magic.’ The facade of a tolerant martyr now lies in tatters. In its place we see a paranoid old man…. spewing out vitriol against anyone who dares to question the performance of the ANC government.
“It would be interesting indeed to hear the ANC explain exactly how its rhetoric aids the cause of reconciliation. South Africa is technically the most advanced country on the continent of Africa. It holds this distinction because of the skills and expertise contributed by the [White] population it now seeks to vilify. The world looks on at these antics. It listens to the language of the ANC leaders.
“It watches the unending catalogue of murder and animalistic violence paraded daily through the media. It notes the strikes, the primitive ‘toyi-toyi’ dancing in the streets and the daily destruction of property. Worst of all, it listens to the endless excuses put up by the government. These excuses have the same tired and dreary pattern running throughout. Firstly, deny anything is wrong, then blame the ‘previous apartheid regime’ and then wildly fling out accusations of racism.
“It comes as no surprise, except perhaps to the ANC, that the world does not rush to make meaningful investment in South Africa. SA’s First World infrastructure is now collapsing around its ears. If it continues on the present course, this country will indeed be returned to the Africans as it was found about 400 years ago.”
In Britain, the London Independent dismissed much of Mandela’s 53-page ramblings as “antiquated garbage,” warned that the frustrations of the Black masses “cannot be appeased by Marxist jargon.” The Daily Telegraph declared that “in Mafikeng he presented an ugly, divisive face he has not shown in public before.”
In Germany, the mass circulation Suddeutsche Zeitung dealt with the speech under the headline, “The Good Man Plays the Racial Card – Mandela’s Farewell Speech a Manifesto of Intolerance.” Translated, this read: “On December 16, 1997, Mandela took the first step towards leading SA right back to racial discrimination. What induced Mandela to ‘run amok’ in his speech, turning the Day of Reconciliation into the darkest hour of the New South Africa? After his speech, the real question is: Who is Mandela? A statesman, who invited the widow of the architect of apartheid to tea? Or the demagogue who branded the White opposition once and for all?”
In the US, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has been taken to task for her theatrical praise of Mandela on her recent visit here. The New American, 16.1.98, wrote: “A giant of this century? South African President Nelson Mandela supposedly dismayed Washington policy makers this autumn when he paid two visits to the terrorist state of Libya and presented an award to mass murderer Muammar Qaddafi. Of course, no one familiar with the background of the Marxist Mandela should have been surprised. During his 1990 tour of the US, he publicly praised not only Qaddafi but Fidel Castro of Cuba and Yasir Arafat of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.
“Such statements do not seem to bother US policy makers. US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright gushed after meeting Mandela in Pretoria: ‘I stand in the presence of one of the giants of our century.’ Indeed, she said, ‘It’s a great honour for me to meet with a man of such incredible wisdom.’”