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Nelson Mandela has died

category international | miscellaneous | news report author Thursday December 05, 2013 22:10author by G Grace (+ indy elf) Report this post to the editors

Nelson Mandela has passed away

Former South African president and anti-aparteid icon Nelson Mandela has died at the age of 95

From wiki:

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and politician who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the first black South African to hold the office, and the first elected in a fully representative, multiracial election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid through tackling institutionalised racism, poverty and inequality, and fostering racial reconciliation. Politically an African nationalist and democratic socialist, he served as the President of the African National Congress (ANC) from 1991 to 1997. Internationally, Mandela was the Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1998 to 1999.

Mandela served 27 years in prison, first on Robben Island, and later in Pollsmoor Prison and Victor Verster Prison. An international campaign lobbied for his release, which was granted in 1990 amid escalating civil strife. Becoming ANC President, Mandela published his autobiography and led negotiations with President F.W. de Klerk to abolish apartheid and establish multiracial elections in 1994, in which he led the ANC to victory.

Mandela was a controversial figure for much of his life. Right-wing critics denounced him as a terrorist and communist sympathiser. He nevertheless gained international acclaim for his anti-colonial and anti-apartheid stance, having received more than 250 honours, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Soviet Order of Lenin. He is held in deep respect within South Africa, where he is often referred to by his Xhosa clan name, Madiba, or as Tata ("Father"); he is often described as "the father of the nation". Mandela died following a long illness on 5 December 2013 at his home in Johannesburg.

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author by Baggiepublication date Fri Dec 06, 2013 01:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe he guided the South African people to their liberation and affected the whole world.

author by Sean Chilembwepublication date Fri Dec 06, 2013 02:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Freedom is indivisible. Those who lead others to freedom must realise that others elsewhere are not free. If a freedom fighter allows himself to be deified in his lifetime he may in turn rule like a god and make his rule unquestionable. Nelson Mandela achieved greatness on account of his oratorical and organisational abilities and his willingness to endure years of suffering in pursuit of his ideals. He led his people to freedom by example, and dismantled a racially-based ideology of tyranny. He thus liberated the white suprecamicists from their self-entrapment in an ideology of hate. He also achieved greatness because, after ruling for several years during which he made significant gentures of racial reconciliation, he voluntarily retired to allow younger talents to continue from where he stopped. Mandela was one of three distinguished African liberationists who handed over power to other Africans. Leopold Senghor of Senegal was the first African President to step down, and Julius Nyerere, dedicated socialist, stepped down willingly in Tanzania. Greatness is not measured only in a lifetime: it is measured in the long term by its example to and influence on succeeding ages. Mandela and Nyerere will for a long time continue to influence new generations of Africans. May those who now praise Mandela's life and ideals sincerely try to emulate the same. Nkosi sikelele Afrika.

author by Tpublication date Sat Dec 07, 2013 19:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mandela undoubtedly saved his country from a blood bath and his release from prison may have been the thing that diffused that. Looking back it was clear to the white regime that the writing was on the wall and things were coming to an end but the problem was if a bloodbath started there was no guarantee big capital would hold onto the gold and diamond mines in South Africa and many of the other mining companies and numerous heavy industries.

In the early years Mandela rightly wanted to see the fair share of wealth going to the black population and promoted the idea of a massive programme to build social housing, providing clean water and health services to all black South Africans. Wanting such things are of course considered communist and as such evil by certain quarters.

It would seem to me that there was some kind of deal done for Mandela's release and it was this, but first remember that this man was 27 years in prison and that is a very very long time and for most people would be the best years of your life in terms of your energy and health. So the deal presented was most likely that he gets to be released and a black government is put in power. The violence is kept to a minimum and then most importantly of all, capitalism in South Africa stays largely intact. As we know from our own recent history, the real power flows out from the wealthiest sections of society whether that be industrial, financial or whatever and in the case of South Africa that would appear to be industrial.

In many ways the deal was reasonably good, because potentially millions could have died and there could have been real devastation. The flip side though is that for many South African blacks, nothing much has changed in the last two decades. They are still living in the same shanty towns, civil society is still very unsafe as South Africa has one of the highest crime and murder rates in the world. Basic housing and clean water is still lacking for many and life is still very rough. We even have the situation where white people fly down from Europe at considerable cost either to themselves or via fundraising (e.g. the Niall Mellon charity) to build house in the slums. We have to ask ourselves, if one took the anywhere from €1,000 or more and used this cash to buy material and pay locals to build the houses, then surely a lot more could be done. Are the locals really incapable of doing a bit of bricklaying, plumbing and electrics? I very much doubt it, although it is possible the educational infrastructure to train apprentices is close to non-existant. But then that begs the question why would we need to even transfer cash? The country is rich in mineral resources. There are millions in need of work and would be happy to have both work and to acquire skills & trades. Where is all the money going? And where is the State programme to finance and carry out large scale housing, provision of clean water, and educational outfits to give skills and training to the millions?

What people here should remember is that after the foundation of the state here, there were large government programmes to redistribute land and it was one of the most comprehensive ever and explains the reason why the FF political party were in favour for so long especially in rural areas. But as many know, we had a large government programme to electrify the country and to lay telephone cables to link up the whole country. In the cities and especially Dublin the inner slums of Dublin were over a period of decades demolished and the vast areas of Crumlim, Finglas, Ballymum and many other areas were built and consisted entirely social housing where the residents -in the 1940s, 50s and 60s transplanted to. Whether these were ultimately successful is a separate issue, but we don't see this in South Africa and were it to be proposed now or carried out, it would be still be labelled as extremism or communism or otherwise generally somehow considered a dangerous and evil act. How strange indeed, but not really because the power of example would spread elsewhere like wildfire and the iron grip of capitalism cannot possibly allow that to happen.

So when we look at South Africa today and the lack of progress, although it has to be admitted there has been some progress just not the type original hoped for and not nearly enough, we certainly can't blame Mandela for this, for he was stuck in a bind and anyone would have made the deal -assuming there was a deal but it looks like it, for after all, he very likely saved the country from absolute horror and for that alone, he is to be commended and honored and rightly should be proud.

author by Tpublication date Tue Dec 10, 2013 22:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

An interesting article from the WSWS.org site says that all is not well there and that: The country’s social and class divisions, however, are headed for a breaking point, driven by the highest level of income inequality in the world.

In some ways, this is happening to one degree or another everywhere else. The report goes on to suggest that the presence of Mandela had been a break or constraint on the ambitions and attacks on their poor but with him now gone there will be nothing to hold them back from looting the wealth of the country. Again this is often a common problem after any great social change in country, when the original people who sacrificed so much are no longer around.

Interviewing a number of people these were some of the concerns:

“Right now, people are scared of what is going to happen, because Mandela was a father figure,” Tichaona Mutero, 30, told the Telegraph as he joined a crowd of mourners in Cape Town. “These guys—Zuma and the others—they’re not like him. We were just waiting for Mandela to die and now we don’t know what is going to happen because people don’t trust Zuma.”

Similarly, in Soweto, Ntsiki Mthembu, 60, said: “People in power now don’t want to share. There is a lot of nepotism, a lot of crime. We’re worried. There are no jobs for young people. There is a lot of unrest in the country. If Mandela was here, it wouldn’t be like this.”

Kenosi Dlamini, 28, added: “I feel like our political leaders are misleading us. All we hear is of them hanging out in luxury hotels. Those in power don’t want to pursue the dream Mandela had. They drive past in their Mercedes and BMWs all the time.”

And the article goes on to give some background to recent events and the situation in South Africa which certainly does not bode well for the future.

Zuma’s popularity rating is at an historic low for the two decades following the end of apartheid. This is driven by the economic realities confronting the masses of South African workers.

The country’s economy is projected to grow just 1.9 percent this year, one third the rate that economists estimate would be required to reduce an official unemployment rate of 25 percent (widely believed to be closer to 40 percent). Only recently, the number of employed returned to the 2008 level of 14 million, but this is after the population had grown by about 2.6 million.

Relations between capital and labor in South Africa are concretely expressed in the operations of AngloGold Ashanti, Africa’s top bullion producer, which recorded earnings of $576 million for the third quarter after having cut costs by firing 15,000 workers, an attack made possible by the betrayal of the ANC-affiliated trade unions.

Prices are rising, while wages and social welfare benefits are not. For the 2013 national budget, the Child Support Grant, a benefit upon which some 9 million people depend to stave off hunger, was increased by about 4 percent, while the Consumer Price Index increase is 6 percent. This means, in real terms, a cut in food rations for the country’s poorest.

Cuts are being implemented across the board, with the exception of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the South African National Defense Forces (SANDF), which received above-inflation increases that are going in part to fund the reestablishment of the country’s riot squads.

Meanwhile, the nine richest South Africans are worth some R309 billion (nearly $30 billion), a $5 billion increase in their collective wealth compared to one year ago.

Nowhere have these contradictions been expressed more sharply than in the brutal massacre of striking platinum miners carried out by the government in August 2012 at Lonmin’s Marikana mine northwest of Johannesburg. This mass killing, reminiscent of the apartheid-era massacres at Sharpeville and Soweto, was the government’s answer to the resistance of the working class to attacks on its jobs, wages and conditions.

Related Link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/12/09/mand-d09.html
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