The Running Commentary


Sarah on South Africa and Mandela is this fair??


  The post that follows is fairly lengthy mainly as a result of me including the articles written by “Sarah, Maid of Albion”. These articles were sent to me by someone a few weeks back and I have been contemplating all this time whether to even comment about them.

I have read and re-read them and finally came to the conclusion (that to help me vent more than anything else) I needed to talk a bit about them.

Let me say that the article clearly is well written by someone who appears to be quite good at creatively getting her point(s) across. The tone is one that is fairly cynical (okay completely cynical) about Nelson Mandela and the country South Africa and much of the reporting or commentary made to suite her point of view.

Much of what is contained has elements of truth, but equally much of what is written is devoid of fact or mis-reported and inflammatory. I have therefore throughout the article sought to bring some truth or clarity to the writing . (bold comments my views or comments)

By Sarah, Maid of Albion

It is often said that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, however, this usually means that the other man has been less than fastidious in his choice of hero, or that the “freedom fighter” in question was on the crowd pleasing side.On the 27th of June, London’s Hyde Park will play host to a concert in honour of Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday and we can be assured that it will receive wall to wall coverage by a star struck and worshipping media, who will continue to laud Mandela as one of the greatest, or indeed the greatest, heroes of our time.

No doubt the beaming old man will appear on stage in one of his trademark multi-coloured shirts and cheerily acknowledge the cheers of the adoring crowd, most of whom have been taught to believe in his sainthood since their first days in primary school, which, for many of them, will have occurred around the same time their hero was transferred from Robben Island.

The unquestioning belief in Mandela’s universally admired saintliness will again be displayed in the press and by the unending line of politicians and dignitaries who will queue up to genuflect before him and sing his praises. It is a brave politician or journalist who would dare to question the godliness of this legend and consummate showman, and hence no such questions will be raised, nor will his much vaunted “achievements” be subjected to any objective scrutiny.

No matter how many speeches are given or how many news articles are written, it is safe to bet that the full truth about Mandela will not be told.

In fact the truth about Mandela is so hidden in mythology and misinformation that most know nothing about him prior to Robben island, and those who do tend to exercise a form of self censorship, designed to bolster the myth whilst consigning uncomfortable facts into the mists of history.

For most people all they know about Mandela, prior to his release in 1990, was that he had spent 27 years in prison and was considered by many on the left at the time (and almost everyone now) to be a political prisoner. However, Mandela was no Aung San Suu Kyi, he was not an innocent, democratically elected leader, imprisoned by an authoritarian government.

The apartheid government was an authoritarian government nobody disputes this fact, except maybe a small minority of people. 27 years of imprisonment is quite sometime and even members of the former apartheid government consider him a political prisoner.

Mandela was the terrorist leader of a violent terrorist organisation, the ANC (African National Congress) which was responsible for many thousands of, mostly black, deaths. The ANC’s blood spattered history is frequently ignored, but reminders occasionally pop up in the most embarrassing places, indeed as recently as this month the names of Nelson Mandela and most of the ANC remained on the US government’s terrorist watch list along with al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and the Tamil Tigers. Of course the forces of political correctness are rushing to amend that embarrassing reminder from the past. However, Mandela’s name was not on that list by mistake, he was there because of his Murderous past.

By the very nature, any struggle against an oppressive government is bound to incur death and suffering and no leader of any player in a struggle or war can control the behavior of everyone he or she leads. Many people within the ANC were seeking to peacefully resolve the conflict. Many of these people while disagreeing with the way some violent acts took place never backed down from the resolve that a minority cannot rule over a majority. To call the entire ANC party a violent terrorist organization, is strange and perplexing, they were labeled that by an oppressive white’s only organization.

Before I am accused of calumny, it should be noted that Mandela does not seek to hide his past, in his autobiography “the long walk to Freedom” he casually admits “signing off” the 1983 Church Street bombing carried out by the ANC and killing 19 innocent people whilst injuring another 200.

I am not sure how you can claim to know a persons state of mind by saying he “casually admits” to signing off the bombing in Church Street.

It is true that Mandela approved that massacre and other ANC killings from his prison cell, and there is no evidence that he personally killed anyone but the same could be said about Stalin or Hitler, and the violent history of the ANC, the organisation he led is not in question.

Likening Nelson Mandela to Hitler is crass in the extreme, Hitler singularly the biggest perpetrator of gross human abuse and suffering on a people group was by no means fighting for a legitimate cause.

According to the Human Rights Commission it is estimated that during the Apartheid period some 21,000 people were killed, however both the UN Crimes against Humanity commission and South Africa’s own Truth and Reconciliation Commission are in agreement that in those 43 years the South African Security forces killed a total of 518 people. The rest, (some 92%) were accounted for by Africans killing Africans, many by means of the notorious and gruesome practice of necklacing whereby a car tyre full of petrol is placed around a victim’s neck and set alight. This particularly cruel form of execution was frequently carried out at the behest of the ANC with the enthusiastic support of Mandela’s demonic wife Winnie.

Mandela’s ex Wife

The brutal reappearance of the deadly necklace in recent weeks is something I shall reluctantly focus upon later.

I have picked up no reluctance on your part to talk to issues thus far….

Given that so much blood was on the hands of his party, and, as such, the newly appointed government, some may conclude that those who praised Mandela’s mercy and forgiveness, when the Truth and Reconciliation tribunal set up after he came to power, to look into the Apartheid years, did not include a provision for sanctions, were being deliberately naive.Such nativity is not uncommon when it comes to the adoring reporting of Nelson Mandela, and neither is the great leader himself rarely shy of playing up his image of fatherly elder statesman and multi-purpose paragon. However, in truth, the ANC’s conscious decision to reject a policy of non-violence, such as that chosen by Gandhi, in their struggle against the white government, had left them, and by extension, their leader, with at least as much blood on their hands as their one time oppressors, and this fact alone prevented them from enacting the revenge which might otherwise have been the case..

As the first post Apartheid president of South Africa it would, be unfair if not ludicrous to judge Mandela entirely on the basis of events before he came to power, and in any event there is many a respected world leader or influential statesman with a blood stained past so in the next part I shall examine Nelson Mandela’s achievements, and the events which have occurred in South Africa in the 14 short years since he took power in following the post Apartheid election in 1994.
Mandela –

The Legend and the Legacy Part 2
By Sarah, Maid of Albion

In the second of two articles examining the life of Nelson Mandela, in advance of Friday’s concert in Hyde Park celebrating the living legend’s 90th birthday, I shall look at his legacy and the new South Africa which he created after coming to power on a surge of worldwide optimism and hope in 1994, when, following the end of Apartheid, he and his followers promised a new dawn for what became termed the Rainbow Nation.Today South Africa stands out as one of the most dangerous and crime ridden nations on Earth which is not actively at War. In 2001, only seven years after the end of Apartheid, whilst the city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands with 5,6 murders per 100,000 population was declared the “murder capitol of Europe”, Johannesburg, with 61.2 murders per 100,00 population and remains the world’s top murder city.

Thanks for pointing this out! And every South Africa shares your concerns (I think that you are concerned, but maybe you are just wanting to sensationalise) about this and we are mostly working at combating crime.

In South Africa as a whole, the murder rate is seven times that of America, in terms of rape the rate is ten times as high and includes the ugly phenomenon of child rape, one of the few activities in which South Africa is now a world leader. If you don’t believe me, you can read what Oprah Winfrey has to say about it here.

Again we are completely against these and embarrassed by them, but we are working through many initiatives to solving these issues.

All other forms of violent crime are out of control, and Johannesburg is among the top world cities for muggings and violent assault, a fact seldom mentioned in connection with the 2010 World Cup which is scheduled to be hosted in South Africa.As always with black violence the primary victims are their fellow blacks, however, the rape, murder and violent assault of whites is a daily event, and there is more …..

As with the Matabeleland massacres, news of which the BBC, together with much of the world media suppressed for twenty years to protect their one time hero, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, another secret genocide is being ignored by the world media, the genocide of white Boer farmers, thousands of whom have been horribly tortured to death in their homes since the end of Apartheid. Anyone who clicks on this link should we warned that it includes some very gruesome images as the savagery of these attacks belie the authorities attempts to dismiss them as nothing more than a “crime wave”.

Given that it is now all but illegal in South Africa to report the race of either victim or the perpetrator of a crime (unless the perpetrator is white and the victim black) and as modern South Africa’s official crime statistics are notoriously massaged, it is impossible to know the exact numbers of farm murders that have taken place. Many reliable sources estimate the figure as close to 3,000, but even if we take the more conservative figure of 1,600 quoted in the politically correct South African press (but not quoted at all in ours) this is three times the numbers killed by the South African security forces over a period of 43 years, and which the UN calls a crime against humanity.

To put this in perspective, the population of South Africa is 47 million, (13 million less than Britain despite its far greater land mass) of which the 4.3 million whites account for 9.1%, about 1% less than the immigrant population of Britain. Can you imagine the outcry if 1,600 (let alone 3,000) members of a minority community in Britain were tortured to death by the native population?.

Yet when the victims are white, there is hardly a peep in the South African press and silence from the international media. Compare this to when a white youth is the killer, such as in the case of Johan Nel, who shot three Africans, a story which became instant world wide news with the predictable screams of racism and machete wielding mobs baying for his blood.

(And they accuse us of hate?!! Don’t such people nauseate themselves with their hypocrisy?!)

Again thanks for pointing this out, but unless you read all of the press put out in South Africa on a daily basis, and don’t say you do you can’t because you simply do not have the time, then you have simply put in “fact” to “massage” your own article.

Crime aside, Mandela and his ANC inherited the strongest economy in Africa, indeed, despite economic sanctions, South Africa was still one of the richest world nations, and indeed initially there was a brief post Apartheid boom, resulting from the lifting of sanctions and due to the fact that until affirmative action forced most of the whites out of their jobs to be replaced by under qualified blacks, those who had built South Africa were still in place.

While there is a skills shortage, I would be loathe to call all blacks “under qualified” – but we will talk to this when we talk to your quality of education bit. Also “whites” remain the holders of most jobs of significance.

However, any optimism was to be short lived. Now, after just 14 years of rule by Mandela and his grim successor Mbeki, corruption is rife, the country is beset with power cuts and the infrastructure is crumbling.

You completed this article in June, nationally power cuts in the beginning of the year were bad and caused absolute mayhem, however since June they have been almost non existent. Worth noting is that the ailing infrastructure is a as result of poor investment decision by the government and yes this is a problem, but is enjoying high media attention. I am convinced this will be sorted out.

The nation’s great cities like Durban and Johannesburg, which could once rival the likes of Sydney, Vancouver and San Francisco, had descended in to decaying crime ridden slums within a decade.

Have you visited Durban and Johannesburg? Neither of these cities could ever have rivaled Sydney, Vancouver and San Francisco and they would never want to look like them either. They have not deteriorated into slums, get on a plane and check it out yourself.

And in the last few weeks we have seen the so called Rainbow nations ultimate humiliation, as xenophobic anti immigration violence spreads across the country. (“xenophobic” is what the media call racism when blacks do it) As poverty and unemployment explodes and is exacerbated by the floods of immigrants flooding in to escape the even more advanced Africanisation of the rest of the continent, the mobs turn on those they blame for stealing their jobs, their homes, and their women.

Xenophobia is what the world calls it, and while I absolutely hate this violence (or any violence for that matter), it has been perpetrated because of a real fear a fear which you cannot understand because you are not in that space. (nice picture of the valley and misty cliffs an maybe a river)

Thus the cycle turns, and, like watching some barbaric version of “back to the future”, on the news we see exactly the same scenes we saw on our televisions twenty years ago, wrecked buildings, burning vehicles, mobs brandishing machetes, axes and knives hacking at everything and everyone which comes within their reach. Most horrific of all, we see the return of that most savage symbol of African brutality, the necklace where, to the cheers of a blood thirsty crowd, some poor trembling soul, with a tire around his neck, is dragged from his home and set alight, exactly as all those other poor souls were set alight throughout the Apartheid years, when we were told it was all the evil white man’s fault.As nothing else the return of the necklace exposes the failure of Mandela’s revolution, and those who fought for him should weep.

Under Apartheid, blacks and whites went to separate hospitals but they received world class health care, whatever their colour, now the facilities are collapsing or non-existent. Black children went to different schools than white children, but they received an education, something which is now a privileged luxury. When they grew up, their bosses may have been white, but they had jobs and a living wage, as the recent violence shows us, such security is but a memory for most South Africans.

Were you ever treated in a state hospital as a black person? Probably not but I suppose as an “expert” on the state of the health system in South Africa at the time you might know better than me. Again were you a black child receiving an education in a white controlled environment? Perhaps the white controlled schooling is what led to the “under qualified blacks” phenomenon, look I may be wrong here.  In terms of the living wage just remind me again how much that was and how many of the folks actually got that? Have you managed to interview everyone who received the living wage?

Eighteen years after Nelson and Winnie made their historic walk towards the cameras, and 14 years, since Mandela assumed power on a tide of optimism, a once proud South Africa slides like a crumbling, crime ridden, wreck towards a precipice created through greed, corruption and incompetence.

For all his gleaming smiles, grandfatherly hand gestures, and folksy sound bites, tomorrow night, when crowd cheers the retired terrorist in the gaudy shirt, they would do best not to focus too closely upon his much admired legacy, as they might just find that the Xhosan Emperor has no clothes. For Nelson Mandela’s lasting achievement is that, in the face of a world wishing him well, he, and the party he leads, have shown the world that, for all its flaws, Apartheid was a more benign system than what replaced it, and that the average South African was immeasurably better off under the hated white rule than they are under the alternative which black rule has created.

The average South African, living in fear of the unknown and unacknowledged except as someone to order around, was certainly no better off then than they are now. South Africa as a whole has improved you simply choose to paint one side of the story.

That is quite an achievement, Mr Mandela, happy birthday.

And now allow me sometime to talk to our great country, colonially raped and pillaged by everyone nation that had a boat with sails.

South Africa in 2006 and 2007 had one of their most successful years in terms of economic growth, certainly we are battling with the scourge of crime and we are dealing with greed and what I call “an entitlement culture” but we are moving forward. It is difficult to correct what some people took almost 30 years plus to cock up originally, but correction will happen.

We will see South Africa grow into a nation that is successful and while this may take some time it will happen. We cannot be brought down by people who believe, by some misguided thinking, that they are authorities on South Africa, when clearly they are not.  

As South Africans we must take charge of our destinies, we must close down on corruption and crime and ensure that we do not provide commentators like this with ammunition to take pot shots at this country.

apartheidcountryCrimeFuturegovernmentSouth Africatruth

Mike • September 5, 2008

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  1. Perfect Moment Project September 11, 2008 - 1:07 pm

    What a story..

    You might be interested in this note on two new student sites: It’s Launch Day

    One is by some American students who visited South Africa this summer.

  2. Mike September 11, 2008 - 1:22 pm

    Nice site and like the idea of the Perfect Moment. Looked at the Diepsloot site and seems really balanced although I will say that the entrance page belies what is in the site “South Africa at the crossroads of hate and hope” seems a little generalist?

  3. The Devil September 17, 2008 - 7:45 pm

    Quite a rant, who is this Sarah person?

    I read half way through it and then started scanning as all the negativity was getting boring. It was negative, hyper-critical and nonconstructive.

    My only comment on this as a white South African that grew up in a non-democratic Apartheid South Africa is that we must stop looking at the negatives and work together to make this beautiful land truly great. We have a debt to pay….

    I also do get tired of the new government always blaming all the wrongs of today on the past, but anyone who believe that South Africa would turn into nirvana in less than two decades is being extremely naive.

    Sarah, if you live in South Africa I suggest you take the first plane out and go and find the perfect place to live. I have a photograph of Nelson Mandela on my office wall and see him as an icon of forgiveness and reconciliation. He is not a saint but a human being who spend a large portion of his life behind bars fighting for freedom. I suggest you go and read his autobiography carefully to gain an understanding of why he turned to “terrorism” for want of a better word. Obviously you did not comprehend it the first time round.

    Lastly a question. Have you got any idea how it must be to be regarded as a second class citizen with no right to vote and to be persecuted for not carrying a pass?

  4. Mike September 17, 2008 - 8:00 pm

    Sarah Maid of Albion, “musings of an englishwoman” or something like that, seems to me to be a bit of “sad” person. Her site is not very uplifting!

  5. darell gerber November 9, 2009 - 5:52 pm

    The way I read it, at least Sarah mentioned the facts she based her article on, not just a bunch of emotional ramblings to defend a truly defunct hero!

  6. Mike November 11, 2009 - 7:40 pm

    Darell, thank you for taking the time to comment, albeit a short reply.
    I am not sure whether you read the piece in it’s entirety or whether you skimmed it. Sarah “facts” are well to be frank, not always correct.
    There is no contesting some of what she says, but much of it is simply inflamatory!

  7. sniper January 8, 2010 - 9:33 pm

    It’s only inflammatory because it’s the TRUTH and flies in the face of of everything I once also lapped up with the enthusiasm of all the other thirsty liberal sheeple. No one can explain to me why colonised nations like Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore who gained their independence in the same period that African countries gained theirs, have become such raging successes. Google “Ape Genius” by National Geographic and have a read about why chimps were not able to develop the sophistication of humans. There are some truly uncomfortable parallels to be drawn. Evolution is everything.

  8. Indian Beauty April 14, 2010 - 12:36 pm

    I live in SA, and I think that the black government cares too much about correcting the wrongs(against them) of the past to actually concentrate on improving the country and its standards. South Africa is a better place to live overall, I must admit. I have more oppurtunities now than I ever did. I put my trust in God, these people are mere vessels who will play their part in bringing Gods Will for the this country and the world into fruition.

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