Don't white-wash Mandela's history

Tuesday, December 17, 2013    

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Dear Editor,

Why is the history of Mandela being white-washed?

He was a visionary, he had a grand project. He was political. He had an avid sense of strategic timing. Yet he wasn't Machiavellian. He was loved. His vision ran through his life.

He was distinguished and had an vast love for his people and for the project of establishing a non-racial and non-sexist South Africa.

It seems suprising, however, that no one remembers that he spoke out against the current regime in Palestine?

How is it no one has really highlighted how Mandela vigorously defended all of whom supported him in his battle against apartheid. For decades, Cuba supported the struggle in South Africa. In 1961, when Che Guevara attended a summit in Geneva, as industry minister, he attacked "the inhuman and fascist policy of apartheid" and demanded the expulsion of South Africa from the UN, all decades before Britain could bring itself to challenge the racist government.

In the 1988 battle of Cuito Cuanvale, a victory celebrated across southern Africa, South African soldiers were defeated by a volunteer Cuban army, dragging PW Botha and FW de Klerk to the negotiating table.

Mandela described Cuba "friend", a country which "helped us train our people, who gave us resources that helped us so much in our struggle". He added: "The defeat of the racist army at Cuito Cuanavale has made it possible for me to be here today. What other country can point to a record of greater selflessness than Cuba has displayed in its relations with Africa?

Mandela was on the US terrorism watch list until some years ago, when then-President George W Bush signed a Bill removing Mandela from it. Obama is yet to oblige Marcus Mosiah Garvey similar courtesies.

South Africa's apartheid regime designated Mandela's African National Congress (ANC) a terrorist organisation for its battle against the nation's system of racial segregation that lasted from 1948 to 1994.

Former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher also described Mandela's ANC as a "typical terrorist organisation" in 1987, refusing to impose sanctions on South Africa's apartheid regime. President Ronald Reagan did as well.

Madiba was a man willing to speak the truth and let the world know what was truly right. He rose above the bitterness. He was unselfish and could reach out to his enemies and cross many divides. He was eminent because he was the great unifier. In many ways he was the designer of the New South Africa and a modern international morality. Will we let history be written by those who would have oppressed him?

Yannick Nesta Pessoa

yannickpessoa@yahoo.com

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