My theory on the origin of the violence in ZA is along the lines of the tale of Pandora's Box: Once you open it, whatever comes out, can never be locked away again. Once you have gone to the "dark side" you will be changed forever, for the worse. It is irreversible and will affect all those around you, including those into the future.
Who is responsible for opening Pandora's Box in ZA? I believe it is Nelson Mandela himself. Specifically when he founded MK, the "Spear of the Nation" in 1961. It was a declaration of violence, no less. The killing of innocent people would, and did, follow.
You do not need to dig deeper than this, to find the roots of the violence in ZA.
What would ZA have looked like if Mandela had instead adopted a position of non-violent resistance (much as Gandhi did) all those years ago? We will never know, but I am certain that the violent era that Mandela introduced in 1961 is what be-devils ZA today, nearly twenty years after apartheid ended.
I feel that Mandela owes everyone an apology. If ZA has any chance of a future, it is up to Mandela now, before he dies, to stand up and admit his complicity.
I have prepared a speech for him....
I am sorry.
You see, I’m not what you thought I was; what you wanted me to be. I’m just a frail human being after all, why did you lift me onto that pedestal? It only made my failures more apparent. I tried to keep the illusion going, and it worked for you, but not for me.
The burden, the contradictions are too much. You expected more of me than I have delivered. You have bought a bag of bones and now you deserve to be told by none other than myself.
I don’t want to blame you, I want to come clean, confess. I seek to do penance.
Now that I am nearing death, I look back on what I have achieved, and I realise it is not very much. In my youth I had fire, as all young men do, but I found myself somehow, simply in the right place and at the right time. With only the flair of charisma, I found myself borne on a tide of circumstances, which eventually led to my incarceration. I was a useful pawn, not a hero. Can you understand that?
I realise that you have forgiven me, or perhaps forgotten, the reasons that I was sentenced to prison on 12 June 1964: Let me remind you, it was due to my conspiring to kill innocents! Yes, that is a fact that won’t go away.
Did you ever hear me distance myself from the bomb blasts that continued to rock the country even though I had been incarcerated twenty years and more?
Perhaps you thought those horrid acts far removed from me, a lonely martyr. But who founded Umhkonto-we-Sizwe on 16 December 1961? And who was it’s spiritual leader all those 27 years and more whilst the violence consumed South Africa? Ask yourself, what is a spear point meant to do?
Perversely, I refused the offer of freedom in exchange for a declaration to abandon violence. Perhaps you wept when you heard me spurn Botha’s freedom offer with the words “What freedom am I being offered while the organization of the people remains banned? Only free men can negotiate. A prisoner cannot enter into contracts.”
Noble words indeed!
But I have many times sang the words “We, the members of Mkhonto, have pledged ourselves to kill them — the “ama bhulu” (Boere/ farmers).
Oh, is it not amazing how I did that? I changed the meaning of the word terrorist into revolutionary, guerrilla into martyr, and murderer into freedom fighter.
My wife instigated a new and barbaric form of murder of so called “collaborators” known as necklacing. Hundreds of people were savagely burnt to death with a burning tyre filled with petrol draped around their necks.
The seeds of chaos I had sown with MK in 1961 grew into vines of poison that rotted the fabric of our society.
Don’t try and deny it. Not now that the shadow of death is looming so large over me. Don’t deny it, please! How will I ever find absolution if you try to pretend that it never happened?
I spent 27 years dwelling on these things and could not find peace in my heart. Fate then conspired to my release and I carried on again, riding the tide, which, much to my surprise, I realised had grown to a tsunami.
How did it happen? I have no idea, let me remind you again, I am a mere mortal! It was only upon my release that I realised that I was in deep water and the expectations that you all had created, I would not be able to fulfill.
It is time now for me to get it out there in the open and admit it:. I failed. The enormous responsibility of reconciliation and nation building as president, after the violence that I had advocated over decades, was more than I could bear. I had been compromised. Before that, as I helped negotiate the sale of South Africa, I was on the take. I brokered a golden calf to the one, and to another, the hope of an identity.
Money or Ideal? I was your man and you all queued to buy! I sold to the poor equally as I did to capitalists and big business. Above all I sold out to a world greedy for a false icon. The price for an entire country was, I realise with hindsight, a Nobel prize and your worship. These things now taste like sulphur in my aged mouth. The premise I had created was faulty but nevertheless you had bought it.
I was not man enough for a second term as president. Instead, I abdicated that responsibility and handpicked one whom I thought was the right choice as a successor. I was relieved of further responsibility. But what a disaster was Mbeki’s tenure as president! Under his watch 67 people were burnt to death in a xenophobic recapitulation of the necklacing method. You all confirmed that I had made a poor decision by getting rid of Mbeki a mere year before he was due to leave anyway. Don’t blame him! Blame me. His failure is a direct reflection on my poor judgment from 1961 onwards!
And please, don’t agonise on my behalf about the uneducated one who then stepped into his shoes. Don’t say it was a power struggle beyond my control, beyond my vision. I foresaw that too.
Now I see a country before me that is collapsing into ruin. Divided, plundered, raped and teetering on the brink of an abyss. The racial hatred you hear in the voice of a mere piccanin, Julius Malema, is mine, reflected back over the decades. All this has followed within eleven years of my departure. The poisoned vines of the seeds of Mkonto have grown into a mighty tree. I have created a monster.
Now, I must stand up at last, borne up on feet of clay that must not fail me now. I have to say, it has taken me ninety years to become a man. I reject the worship and adulation you showered upon me all these years. Now I stand before you, and beg forgiveness, South Africa, for what I created in 1961.
All my children. Forgive me.
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