Although Ebrahim Harvey displayed boldness in attempting to right-size the historical image of Nelson Mandela (Daily News, December 12), he might have delved a little deeper in producing his critique.
In his book titled The Prince and I, the late Mario Oriani Ambrosini was outspoken in deconstructing the Mandela myth. Between pages 265 and 268, Ambrosini stated the following:
- Although a civil war raged in KZN, Mandela delayed meeting Chief Buthelezi for a year after his release. When they did meet, Mandela failed to implement the agreement to hold joint meetings to pacify violence-torn areas. As a result, the bloodshed continued with the loss of a further 1000 lives.
- In 1995 Mandela admitted during a parliamentary debate that he gave the order to shoot unarmed Zulus who gathered outside the ANC’s Shell House HQ in Johannesburg on March 28, 1994. Fifty Zulus were killed and 180 injured.
- Mandela allowed the ANC to defy a court order on behalf of the families of those killed in the Shell House massacre.
- While Buthelezi was a minister in Mandela’s cabinet, Mandela requested former SADF General Constand Viljoen to prepare a plan for the SA Army to take military control of Ulundi and to impose martial law in KZN. Viljoen declined the task.
- From the time he became President, Mandela built a financial empire around his persona so as to ensure that he had control of all marketing of his name and face from medallions to T-shirts.
- The Mandela Children’s Fund has never disclosed its financial information or been publicly audited. The Fund has produced very little in terms of expenditure on children. Also lacking is any visible sign of it conducting any social work beyond tokenism.
- The controversial arms deal began during Mandela’s presidency.
- Mandela never presided over a single cabinet meeting. They were run by Thabo Mbeki.
Ebrahim Harvey is certainly correct in stating that Mandela was no saint.
Sent into The Daily News, 13 December 2018.