Time To Re-appraise Mandela’s Rhetoric

In taking up Post’s editorial exhortation of July 19-23 to reflect on “Mandela’s dream for the sake of our future,” reality and research point to a fundamental disconnect between the revered words of his autobiography and his endorsement of the actual designs of the ANC.

To illustrate this, consider the following three statements by Mandela:

I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination –Rivonia Trial, 1964.

Today we celebrate not the victory of a party, but a victory for all the people of South Africa – 10 May 1994, Inaugural Address.

Never again shall it be that this land will again experience the oppression of one by another – 10 May 1994, Inaugural Address.

None of those noble declarations has been realised. Indeed regardless of Mandela’s rhetoric, the political course the ANC has been implementing was its intention before 1994 and has been incrementally applied since then. By endorsing the National Democratic Revolution (NDR) at conferences, Mandela deviated from the core of his apparent commitment to non-racialism.

Since the cornerstone of the NDR is a one-party socialist state, the freedom from domination by one party and one group which Mandela espoused, becomes disingenuous. The recently amended Employment Equity legislation blatantly contradicts Mandela’s rhetoric, yet it is a fervent part of the process required to establish the NDR.

It is the task of every generation to reconsider history. Mandela’s rhetoric of 1964 and 1994 needs to be re-appraised in the light of his support for ANC’s long established goals.

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