Dr. Kwame Nantambu

Mandela's legacy lives on
from prisoner to Mr. President

Posted: June 03, 2004
By Dr. Kwame Nantambu

The year 1994 was a watershed turning-point as the white minority-ruled South Africa (Azania) joined the civilized nations as a de jure actor on the international stage of democracy.

On 27 April 1994, majority democratic governance came to Azania --- and no one cared if it was Black majority rule. This was totally irrelevant. Democracy means majority rule, period.

Since 1948, the violent, racist, fascist and vicious system of Apartheid had been the law of the land in Azania. It was the bedrock of the Constitution.

Over the years, so-called European leaders in Africa have used historical destiny to institute, perpetuate and ossify this immoral, oppressive system. Indeed, the political principle on which Apartheid was founded was best expressed by Cecil Rhodes as follows:

"I will lay down my policy on this native question.either you will receive them on an equal footing as citizens or call them a subject race. I have made up my mind that there must be class (race) legislation. The native (Black African) is to be treated as a child and denied the franchise. We must adopt the system of despotism. These are my politics and these are the politics of South Africa."

Nelson Mandela, president of the African National Congress (ANC) and the first Black President of Azania, spent twenty-seven years (1962-1990) in jail not only to denounce Cecil Rhodes' Euro-colonial paternalistic and imperialist mind-set but also to prove that Apartheid was immoral, undemocratic and violent.

In 1993, more than 3,000 Black South Africans were killed to prove this same point in a government-sponsored and financed reign of terror characterized under the euphemism of "Black on Black crime." In November 1989, the Berlin Wall came tumbling down and this geo-political phenomenon signaled the demise of the Cold War. In April 1994, the Apartheid Wall also came tumbling down and thus signaled the demise of the long hot war between the violent minority white South Africans and the majority disenfranchised Black South Africans.

If all the citizens of Azania wanted to coexist in perpetual peace and human harmony, then majority rule was the only glue to make the different pieces or factions of this new genre of governance stick together as one.

For this to have happened, the ANC under Nelson Mandela and the National Party under F.W. de Klerk had to stand united to thwart the divide and rule tactics of the Afrikaner Volksfront ( an unholy alliance of pro-Apartheid white groups) and the Zulu-dominated Inkatha Freedom Party headed by Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

Those were the power-hungry people who were determined to disrupt the smooth transition to democracy and freedom and thus it was imperative for the international community and Africans in the Diaspora, in particular, to engage in any and all means necessary to ensure that the Apartheid system was finally relegated to the ash heap of geo-political history.

If majority rule did not free Azania in 1994, the results in human carnage would have been too ghastly to contemplate. The world would have witnessed the War of Armageddon in Azania and this would not have only involved Black on Black violent deaths.

The Black majority in Azania had been waiting in the wings for freedom since 1912. Their time was now. They demanded freedom and nothing less. They accepted nothing less.

It was a universally accepted truism that Nelson Mandela's ANC represented the only viable political vehicle to free Azania. The ANC had the national and international respect and accountability to lead the parade to national sovereignty and self-determination for Azania.

For while the obdurate, conservative, pro-Apartheid white Afrikaners were not only arming themselves but also demanding a separate homeland, Mandela reached the zenith of his political savvy by publicly accusing State President F.W. de Klerk of instigating some of the overt violence in the Black townships as an integral part of his government's strategy to jeopardize the ANC's chances to win the first multiracial elections in Azania.

The ANC received 62.5 per cent of the votes in the April 1994 national elections.

As prisoner, Nelson Mandela stated in his defence at his Rivonia Trial in a Johannesburg suburb on 20 April 1964:

"I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the idea of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."

As President in April 1994, Nelson Mandela presided over the first "democratic and free society" in Azania's history.

Indeed, 1994 was the year in which the freedom of Azania represented the severing of the last bastion/umbilical cord of European colonialism-imperialism in Africa.

It was also the year when Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela went from prisoner with inmate I.D. tag # 3514068123 on Robben Island to Mr. President in Johannesburg.

What manner of man is this?

Shem Hotep ("I go in peace").

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