Mandela: The next logical stage | The Herald

via Editorial Comment: Mandela: The next logical stage | The Herald December 7, 2013

When the day came it almost looked like a form of release for a media that had for months been obsessed with Nelson Mandela’s mortality.

There had been a media frenzy around Mandela’s health, and judging by the manner in which the obituaries flowed forth, there can be no doubt that Madiba’s epitaphs were written many weeks ago.

It’s sick, but it’s the world we live in: A world that has commodified just about everything, including news and death — and especially news of death.

In the midst of the orgy, little real attention has been paid to the real Mandela story, and that story is on what his legacy is.

It is likely that this is a story that generations to come will have immense interest in, using their benefit of hindsight to dissect our sorry contemporary attempts at telling the Mandela story.

Why should we interrogate his legacy, some may ask. After all, he is a South African and he is South Africa’s hero to mourn and celebrate.

However, he has been made more than a South African. He is a global icon and an African legend.

And as such we have the right to raise questions on whether or not he is our hero or someone else’s, and what it means when Africans are literally given heroes by the very same people who colonised them not too many years ago.

Naturally, opinion will be divided over how good Mandela has been to South Africa and indeed to Africa in the years after he shared a Nobel Peace Prize with the last apartheid leader, FW De Klerk.

On one hand we know that Mandela averted much bloodshed in South Africa. It was good for South Africa. Enough people had died (one death is always one more than enough) and people — in particular the poor blacks — just wanted to “move on”.

But move on they didn’t. And move Africa did not. It was and is a heavy price for the whole of Africa, more so for those in Southern Africa who sacrificed much to see the ANC get to the politically important moment of 1994.

South Africa was supposed to provide the economic, social and military leadership that Africa so desperately needed to move forward with dignity.

That did not happen. Without in any way disparaging the very tough experiences that Mandela went through, and thereafter the invaluable support South Africa rendered to many countries, including Zimbabwe, in many difficult situations, there remains that nagging feeling that this economic powerhouse can be so much more than it is today.

South Africa’s scope for leadership has been horribly limited by the fact that all of us as Africans have allowed Mandela to be adopted as a hero by his own oppressors.

A straitjacket definition of what a “model” leader is has been created for us and many of us are desperately trying to fit into this mould — often to the detriment of our own people.

Many of Africa’s leaders are mightily trying to become Mandelas. They dare not push economic independence, they dare not confront injustices perpetrated on our continent by the West.

Being confrontational, we have been made to believe, is not the “Mandela way”. The easy temptation is to blame Mandela for this ideological and practical stagnation by leaders who want to become mini Mandelas. But the truth is Madiba is not to blame.

Mandela played his part.

He opted for the reconciliation path after apartheid and it is up to his successors to deal with the major matters of economic empowerment and social justice.

It is up to Africa’s present leaders to take the struggle to its next logical stage — ensuring that Africans are masters of their own resources and destiny.

It is what the Mandela of the Rivonia trial would have wanted. It is what the people of Africa today demand.



  • comment-avatar
    Peter tosh 10 years ago

    Masters of our own resources and destiny you say? Zim is but what are our leaders doing for us, they are actually stealing from us. The Herald as usual, don’t play hypocrite, we know that bomboclaat.

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    nyati 10 years ago

    Shame on you. Can’t you even say the truth for once you wicked mirror of a rogue regime? Now just keep looking, even Nikuv wil shush you on Mandela. You will not rig out his international status. I hear there is pandemonium in far off New Zealand, everyone wants to fly to SA to pay their last respects. Zim is still busy reflecting on the media frenzy. Sick nation we have. Apa hamurige , he has gone to he woth his Maker, the world is mourning. mirai mugabe afe, uchachemwa nenhunzi.

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    mareverakufa 10 years ago

    Shut up the Herald stupid mouthpiece of the dictator. Kusanyara you are trying to demean and belittle Mandela what nauseating material you write and who do you think you can cheat by your idiotic and cheap analysis. Today Zimbabwe relies on the South African rand, American Dollar and Botswana pula why not the Mozambiquean meticus and the Chinese guyam . You failed Zimbabwe by being used and leaking Mugabe butt so shut up and continue plundering Zimbabwe and stealing elections you devil incarnation

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    Nimrod Mupanesengende 10 years ago

    Something is very wrong when former oppressors come in droves to mourne the man they used to torture for no better reason other than that he asked for the dignity and freedom of the oppressed.

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      Mthwakazi 10 years ago


      That something that is wrong is your gukurahundi mind.

      Gukurawundis are by their very nature intransigent, entrenched fools who cannot understand that the world around them is changing. To gukurawundis, if you were my enemy yesterday, you will remain my enemy for ever despite the changing times of our planet.

      America voted for a black president for the first time since its founding as a nation. To you this should never happen because we have to stay enemies for ever.

      How is Obama, who is only about 50 years old a former oppressor? How old is David Cameron? How can he be a former oppressor.

      Wake up from your foolish slumber. Even your claimed friend China, are heavily invested in America, whilst you are busy talking about none existen enemies!!

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    Hwese 10 years ago

    What can we expect from the Herald. Why do they still call it the herald instead of Gushungo’ daily news paper. Wait and see people are stampeding going to Qunu from allover the world. Viva Mandela viva. Ulale ngokuthula tata the world loves you. Imi tichaona achaenda kwaZvimba Matibiri akafa muchaenda nevanhu vekumagaba chete. Munosverotitukira varungu panhamo dzese meanwhile yu need thier money and knowledge siss on you Zanu usiless people. U are very usiless ignorent idiots. We lost our livelywood because of this stupid arogance.

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    DRY WINE 10 years ago

    The Herald is at it again. They wanted Mandela to build a Chinese Pagoda like they do. They wanted Mandela to sell South Africa to China. They wanted him to exude the all powerful emperor in a crumbling economy like they are doing. They will tell us the real hero is their man, this plunderer and murderor of last resort. Ka iye anofa riniko?

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      Mthwakazi 10 years ago

      @Dry Wine
      The interesting thing is that when South African businesses invest on the continent; these ZANU PF mentalities get angry and accuse South Africa of neo colonialism; and yet they want South Africa to lead – why are they always contradicting themselves?

      This is why they have grabbed some of South Africa’s investments in the name of indegenisation.

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    DRY WINE 10 years ago

    Build not a Dzimbahwe…but a PAGODA the Chinese mansion. Spend every other day talking, speaking on microphones you cannot make. Nxaaaaa.

    Always looking for reasons why we are now where we are, but never his causes. Now the Zimkwacha is in print…sizabonana!

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    masvukupete 10 years ago

    To me herein lies the problem with this article. South Africa became democratic in 1994 whilst Zimbabwe became “free” in 1980. According to the same paper we became democratic and free in 1980. Why did we not start the African agenda then with all our wiser than all leaders we had? The excuse will be our hands were tied. Why then blame Mandela since his hands were also tied to do anything. It took ZPF 20 years to realize that economic and land justice is necessary (although the ideas where not particularly used to achieve that justice). Why didnt ZPF become the beacon for the African people as they wanted Mandela to be. Why didnt Zimbabwe become that light since 1980 only to wait for Mandela to become that beacon (of which the article is complaining about). Why didnt we as an “independent” Zimbabwe drive that agenda that you now critisize SA (Mandela) for not driving. Why do you want SA to do it when Zimabawe was independent 14years before SA? Shouldnt the other African countries have driven the agenda since the 1960’s when most African countries became free? The truth of the matter is that there is no common African agenda to uplift its people. This revealed in the OAU preamble where the statement is written We the African LEADERS instead of we the the African people. that already shows that the African leaders were already separating themselves from the rest of Africans. The African leadership does not even know what that African agenda is? Why should we have to wait for South Africa (a white economy) to drive the agenda yet it is the youngest of all African states (apart from South Sudan). I personally do not see the Editorial’s point in giving Mandela the blame for not leading the so called African agenda?

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    These responses are very angry comments against the Herald’s views indeed. Interestingly writers are Zimbabweans and not South Africans defending Madiba. These Zimbabweans are angry because these facts are said by the Herald representing the opinion that they hate so much because of its role in the political evolutions in Zimbabwe. To some people this paper will never say something acceptable. However it is true that Mandela’s heroism is grossly twisted and distorted and this started way back soon after his release. The struggle in South Africa took a shape different from the one in Zimbabwe when human rights organizations took very giant steps to dismantle apartheid in the 1980s. When he finally came out of prison they claimed victory. This was different from the Frelimo and Fapla military victories over the Portuguese in Mozambique and Angola respectively. It was totally different from the Zimbabwean situation where Zanla and Zipra militarily dismantled Rhodesian control in the rural areas, rendering some towns like Umtali Mutare today ghost towns, disconnecting cities by blowing off bridges and railway lines, inflicting heavy losses on the white members of the military including mercenaries hence sending a message to blacks in the army, police and others that Smith’s day were numbered and even threatening the air space making Rhodesia almost a no fly zone as even the so called civilian planes were not spared by the hit seeking missiles. This rendered the political victory a clear result of a military activity albeit the cost of life incurred.I South Afrca The international human rights claim victory and Madiba. Perhaps it was theirs and hence we see their strong influence in South Africa today especially in country’s constitution. There is however no doubt that Nelson is an inspiration to many African people.

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      masvukupete 10 years ago

      @Bazur. Even in Zimbabwe the very victorious people were tied down to land clauses and reserved seats. If we were outright victors as you suggest, why did we give in to the 20 seats and 10 years of non land disturbance. Every war does not have outright winners. Look now at what happening in Zimbabwe even after a “landslide outright victory” the problems seem to be mounting. Its suprising that Mugabe gave amnesty and reconciliation to “foreign white people” yet he cannot do the same to his fellow blacks in the MDC. What a great irony. Politicians should always be aware that there can never be an outright winner in any issue that affects multitudes of people.

      My reasons for Mandela’s reverence are a little different though. Its exactly of what he didnt do that he so revered. He captures the true spirit of what humans aspire to be, good over evil no matter the odds (heroism as depicted in story telling fantasies and movies), forgiveness even wronged to the bone. To me that is the reason why Mandela is such a big hit. He is a hero as depicted in our childhood stories of tsuro na Gudo. He is hero as depicted in Superman, Spiderman, Harry Potter et al. It is that human spirirt that yearns for heros and here we had such a person who actually lived in our lifetime who managed to be that type of hero.

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      Correction, Zanla and Zipra did not inflict heavy losses on the “white” members of the Rhodesian forces, rather the Rhodesian military inflicted heavy losses on Zanla and Zipra, while Zanla and Zipra, specifically Zanla, inflicted heavy losses to the innocent black rural population! This fact is well documented and recorded.

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    Manene 10 years ago

    Madiba’s legacy transcends the potilitical sphere. His high stature derives from his great examples of the best of humanity.There is cause to take notice and celebrate when one of us (humans) has a gift to show that we can defeat evil by showing grace and reverence. Politics is not life but just a part of it and to miss the reason why Madiba is an icon is to miss the bigger picture. RIP Madiba.

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    Murondatsimba 10 years ago

    Coming from the Herald this is not surprising!! In short the writer is saying Bob has better legacy than Mandela. Lets take it this way- Should we compare Mandela after one term in office to Bob’s 33 Years?? Lets compare Mandela to Bob after the later’s 5 years or lets be generous and give him 10 years in office. What had he done by 1990 what legacy would he have left had he left office??

    Who is a better kid one who goes to primary school and passes on his first exam than one who has repeated over and over and the syllabus has changed again and again and is passing thru his long stay and thru CORRECTIONS!???? And he has now become more powerful than the Headmaster and all the teachers?

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    zacks Muti 10 years ago

    Whatever the herald may try to portray, I am not moved. Mandela fought a just cause and successfully got it. Now most Zimbos about 3million live in South Africa. How many South Africans live in Zimbabwe? if not why herald?.

    I am proud of Mandela because he destroyed the apartheid system and finally I personally benefitted academically at the University of Cape Town, a University that was for whites ONLY NOW multiracial. Rest in PEACE TATA, PAPA, BABA Mandela

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    OSCAR 10 years ago

    Rest in peace TATA, you were a great man. Let us not be fooled by the drivel that the Herald writes, maybe they should indicate that at Bobs funeral, all there will be is spit on his grave. May he rot in hell when the great day comes!

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    Washumba 10 years ago

    You mean empower people by going for six or so months without salaries.

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    Mr Mixed Race 10 years ago

    Whenever a newspaper takes side on international issues it makes its self look stupid and naive.In fact it could lead to diplomatic warfare between neighbouring countries.Stop making unfounded allegations against somebody who was noble.You claim thaT Mr Mandela was influenced by the West-Who influenced us before and after independence?If our advisors have misled us to this terrible poverty,why blame the one who used better advisors or colonisers to achieve better life for his countrymen.A man with wisdom does not select advisors on skin colour but on merit.You can say anything bad about Mandela but the truth is that he was a visionary man of high status.In his opinion,black,white,yellow and any colour are all equal. Thus what the Holy Book says,UNLESS YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE BIBLE.KEEP YOUR SO-CALLED EXPERT ANALYSIS TO YOURSELF.

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    Mthwakazi 10 years ago

    The Horrible Herald is at it again. Who are those Africans you are referring to who are trying to be Mandelas by not pushing economic emancipation for the Africans? I dont see any.

    Its the typical gukurawundi ZANU PF line you are toeing. Mandela never said, by reconciling with his enemies, there should be no black economic empowerment. This is a typical ZANU PF Blue lie.

    Mandela’s government was the first to come up with the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), whose main thrust is the upliftment of the black people’s economic situation.

    Listen to the debate Mandela had with De Klerk before the first 1994 elections. Here you have a man who was very clear on black people’s economic empowerment.

    It is the ANC that came up with the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment programme. When did ZANU PF start talking about black empowerment? This was after 1990, long after they had been in power and were about to lose power to Morgan Tswangirayi. The RDP in South Africa was introduced immediately after 1994.

    The reality is that the black poverty situation in South Africa is far more entrenched due to the viciousness of the apartheid policies, when compared to the racist policies of the Rhodesian government. There were homelands in SouthA frica; there were no homelands in Rhodesia.

    There was Bantu education in South Africa, which taught only languages and not the Sciences and Mathematics – in Rhodesia blacks learnt Mthematics and had laboritories in Mission schools, and the standard of education was very high.

    Stop your ignorant hallucination and face up to the facts!!

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    Mthwakazi 10 years ago

    Mugabe is a usurper of power. He should never be compared to Mandela.

    Mugabe was invited into politics by Enos Nkala and others. Otherwise he was busy minding his own teaching business in Ghana.

    He himself even stated openly that by going to Ghana his aim was to teach for a few years, raise some money and proceed to the UK for further studies – politics was not part of his plans.

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    Chanetsa Chamboko 10 years ago

    Nelson Mandela has spoken to us more in his death than during his life time. However he has used the dos and don’ts of his life time to shake the world and give the world words to utter. Action speaks louder than words especially positive action. It is true that evil can never rule over good. Vamwe zvavo vakaberekwa kwazvo. Blessed is the womb that carried Madiba for nine months, the breasts that fed him, the mouth that taught him good behaviour. And blessed be Africa for he was truly African. RIP Madiba.

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    Stewart 10 years ago

    An editorial piece written by small men envious of the great