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South Africa's Nelson Mandela dies


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Lots of crap floating around the web right now. This piece by Musa Okwonga however, is actually worth reading:


Mandela will never, ever be your minstrel


"Dear revisionists, Mandela will never, ever be your minstrel. Over the next few days you will try so, so hard to make him something he was not, and you will fail. You will try to smooth him, to sandblast him, to take away his Malcolm X. You will try to hide his anger from view. Right now, you are anxiously pacing the corridors of your condos and country estates, looking for the right words, the right tributes, the right-wing tributes. You will say that Mandela was not about race. You will say that Mandela was not about politics. You will say that Mandela was about nothing but one love, you will try to reduce him to a lilting reggae tune. “Let’s get together, and feel alright.” Yes, you will do that.


You will make out that apartheid was just some sort of evil mystical space disease that suddenly fell from the heavens and settled on all of us, had us all, black or white, in its thrall, until Mandela appeared from the ether to redeem us. You will try to make Mandela a Magic Negro and you will fail. You will say that Mandela stood above all for forgiveness whilst scuttling swiftly over the details of the perversity that he had the grace to forgive..."



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Keep in mind that the apartheid experience is very generational, & todays commentators would have to be 20-30 younger to have actually grown up under apartheid. Apartheid was also less rabid in bordering countries.


A lot of very brave men & women died in the atrocities getting to peaceful transition.

A young & white male face, whole-heartedly participating at a native beer drink - was a very dangerous thing for both sides; so you blacked out your face/arms/legs (with charcoal that kept running off), before dancing around the fire with your equivalent Zulu age cohorts. But mixing was occurring, you invariably tipped each other as to passing dangers; & that saved countless lives, & maiming.


But it also laid the foundation for future reconciliation, & all because the village headman (Induna) was an exceptionally brave man ... willing to risk the lives of both him & his family every time one of these mixings occurred. At a time when 1 in 2 Induna's were being necklaced .. for allowing just such mixing to take place.



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