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It’s Mandela Guys!

Image credit: SowetanLive

By Andile Mngxitama

My beloved blacks, can we stop the conspiracy theory that the guy who was released from prison was not the real Mandela, and can we stop using pictures to try and prove this theory. The person who went to jail and was released from there was the same person – Mandela was the real Mandela who went in and came out.

The denialism that it was the real Mandela who came out of jail, comes from refusing to believe that he “sold out”. So it’s better to think that it’s not Mandela who made the 1994 deal. I think this is unnecessary self deception.

Mandela was always a pragmatist. When he thought that it was time to fight, he took up arms – Steve Biko and Robert Sobukwe never took up arms as far as I know. Around 1978, when he was still in jail and thought that the revolution wouldn’t happen, he was ready to leave and join his uncle Kaizer Daliwonga Matanzima in the Transkei homeland. He was dissuaded from doing so by the young chaps of Black Consciousness, specifically Strini Moodley. Mandela’s praxis prepared him to cut the 1994 deal.

The only question we must now ask is this, was it a bad deal or a deal necessary for the time to give the liberation movement a tactical advantage? My view has changed on the claim that Mandela was a sellout. I recognize two main options of equal value namely, the Nelson Mandela option versus the Winnie Mandela/Chris Hani option – Negotiations vs Insurrection!

I argue that we don’t know apriori what the outcomes of each would have been. Mandela took the safe route and I can see him thinking “once we have state power, we can pursue our agenda without the problem of an apartheid state”. In my view this is a legitimate tactical move in a situation where the outcomes of insurrection were not so clear.

I don’t have time now to elaborate on this aspect on FaceBook, but of course the other side was also planning on how to use negotiations and how to deal with insurrection. In July I will do a lecture on “was Mandela a sellout?” In that lecture I will go into the details of the whole thing.

No makhomorate, the point is it’s Mandela who came out of jail. There’s no conspiracy. Mandela cut a typical Madiba deal and I no longer think that it was all bad. It was supposed to give us state power to realise the aims of the liberation movement. The problem is that the African National Congress (ANC) fell in love with the trappings of the apartheid state. So instead of using the relative nominal (political) power that they got from the Madiba deal to also get economic power when the time was right, they used it to get left overs from the table of the master.

Andile Mngxitama is the President of Black First Land First (BLF), a radical black consciousness organization.