Archive for February, 2009

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There are few names that evoke a response like Winnie Mandela. Depending on who and where you are, the responses are are as different as chalk from cheese. However, no matter where you are those responses will be extreme.

If, dear reader, you are like me, sitting at table after table, at dinner party after dinner party, in white, educated, South African suburbia, you too, will be familiar with the sheer shock and horror on the faces of the other guests, when you suggest that you are a fan of our Mother Africa.

I have watched overdressed, underfed, and heavily botoxed females, break into frowns at the very mention of her name. I have been told not to create trouble for trouble’s sake, and I have found myself slowly struck off the desirable list for dinner parties in our white, middle class part of the rainbow, just because I mentioned her name.

I have seen them splutter and spit  their wine, shudder and shake, at the very mention of those words, “Winnie Madikizela Mandela “. I have watched, as they froth at the mouth at any suggestion that she is a major player in our democracy. I have seen with these two eyes, how so called liberals have almost choked on their pate with  self righteous indignation at the very mention of her name.

I find it very amusing, so I do it a lot, bring Winnie up at “respectable” venues. Most of the hosts are so incredulous, they fail to see that I am very serious. Surely not, not a good white boy, from such a good family?

Sorry dad.

Make no mistake, in the halls of the middle class, you would be better suited to drinking your finger bowl, than to mentioning the name of our Mamma Africa.

 

winnie-mandela-320a051807Which brings us to the question.

Why?

Why indeed ?

My desperate  and deeply ignorant dinner companions aside, why do they love to hate Winnie?

After all, she saved us from PW Botha’s cockeyed vision.

The answer, dear reader is complex. It is deeply steeped in fear, guilt and racism, and a good dose of ignorance to boot. It is an answer that covers all those ugly bits and pieces that democracy cannot erase. They hate her, ladies and gentlemen, because, contrary to popular opinion, freedom of thought is as rare at middle class dinner parties, as caviar and real champagne, trust me, I been there plenty.

For our purposes here, I shall ask you to consider one premise, and one corollary.

The premise is obvious; that there exist in our world, men of power and influence, who have aims and ideals for the rest of us. They hold stocks, and money, and shares in media. They, too, have their own interests, and they pursue such with shameless intention, and undeterred vision. It is obvious that, at times, certain individuals may challenge their supremacy, and power. Such individuals, are, as it were, pissing in the wind.

The corollary, is that, when certain individuals attain sufficient credibility or power, to challenge our big shots, they, powerful as they are, use the very vast resources to discredit that individual, and, all things being equal, the individual loses.

What can one person do ?

The answer, is a lesson in Mrs. Mandela.

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The fundamental correctness of our premise, and it’s corollary is not the subject of this piece. I don’t believe that anyone, in an event, could take issue with them seriously. If you do, then perhaps you should go back to watching Desperate Housewives, or Isidingo, or Zille songs, whichever stupidity you prefer.

If you think, that as an individual, that you can take on the deus ex machinae of the state, or the very dark powers of our Corporate carpet baggers, without being the victims of their massive media and PR engine, then its better that you go back to TV.

Perhaps, you think, that you live in a world, where you can take on the powerful, with no consequence. If you do, then take note of one Winnie Mandela.

 For those of you who don’t know, Thabo Mbeki, was not the man expected to take the Presidency in our Rainbow Nation. No.

In order to leap the very big hurdles to supremacy, Thabo needed help. And, being the man he is, he turned to an icon, a particular icon. Mrs. Mandela.

She in turn gave him her support.

Let me digress, for a moment, this was a wise move. For Winnie, is to the majority of our population, that is black women, something of a saviour. So, if you want power, it pays to get Mrs. Mandela on your side.

After he had ridden the wave of Madikizela support to victory, he turned on her. This is history, not supposition. This little betrayal by our last deeply divisive president, was displayed for all to see, when he slapped her, in the face. Literally.

Yes, ladies and gentleman, you read it here first. Thabo slapped her. In front of us all. That it risked civil war, that civil war did not happen is testimony to Mrs. Mandela’s restraint, that Thabo had hijacked our democracy, by hook and crook are all irrelevant. What is relevant, is that Mrs. Mandela had become a threat to the powerful.

A very real threat.

And what did the men in black do 

Discredit her

Or try to.

I draw your attention hereto, because it gives us context

Context, my history teacher, Mrs. Hummel, would have told you, is the most important factor in analyzing events.

For me, simple as I may be, in light of this context, I find myself, unsurprised at the misfortunes and trials of Mrs. Mandela. I think they were to be expected, given the circumstances. That, however, is not sufficient. That the dark men of our premise and their dedicated emissaries of our corollary would target Mrs. Mandela is one thing, the validity of their onslaught is another. And so, we must consider the evidence.

There are, dear reader, three events that are always laid out as proof of Mrs. Mandela’s male fides. I would like to examine each one within the light of my premise and corollary.

One , the murder of Stompie 

Two, the alleged fraud.

And three, that thing about matches and tyres and liberation, you know the one.

These three accusations are the sum total.

We will not consider here, the great contribution to our democracy that this woman has made.

We will not talk of her many heroic moments. 

No.

We shall only consider these three things.

I shall not ask you to forgive.

I shall only ask, that you consider these accusations, in light of the premise and it corollary that appear before.

And, of course, the evidence.

Let us begin with Stompie.

“She’s a convicted murderer”, a particularly obnoxious woman gasped at me the other night.

“And a crook!”

“And she wanted to burn us with matches and tyres.”

“She is evil!”

Perhaps you have heard this before. Perhaps it was just before the main course. Perhaps over dessert.

Always, it is delivered with obvious racism and ignorance, masquerading as informed opinion.

Always, it curdles my dessert.

Without fail.

Did Winnie kill Stompie ?

If she did, then she would be the only murderer to receive a 15 000 rand fine for such crime in history. That the appeal court chose to overturn this conviction on appeal seems to matter to no one.

I hear about the law and courts all the time from white liberals. When the Chief Justice decides that Winnie Mandela was not guilty of murder, then it’s a  bad decision.

Who cares about the courts ?

It seems that, despite our judicial process, Winnie is still guilty.

Eish !

Then there is that ,matter of fraud.

Well, what kind of fraudster never benefited from the fraud ?

Winnie.

And Robin Hood.

No matter either, it seems.

Except to our Honourable Courts, who chose not to punish her.

White judge too.

Hey?

Justice is still alive.

And as for the matches thing, well, I leave you with the whole quote,

“They have guns and tanks, we have no arms. But we have stones. We have our boxes of matches. We have our bottles. … With our necklaces, we will liberate this country!”

Make up your own mind.

As for me, welcome back Mamma Africa, we missed you.

Thank you, for liberating us, with just a box of matches !

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May God bless you and keep you. May He make his face to shine on you, and be gracious unto you.

To liberate a country with just a box of matches ?

Eish !