Mandela no angel, but he was the right man at right time

From: Hugh Rogers, Messingham Road, Ashby.

THE wonderful Nelson Mandela was no angel in his young days. Thankfully, he eventually saw 
the light.

At a great price, including his incarceration in a brutal white-run South African jail, the message got through to the 
locals.

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Yet the villains of 19th to 20th century conflict are the white settlers from mainly Britain, Holland, Germany, Russia 
and France – all seeking 
wealth at the expense of the 
black man.

Why do we not now admit our guilt instead of crawling like political creeps, with handshakes and pious talk on the death of a great man who could see through the lot of us?

Like others, notably Lech Walesa who played a major 
role in the destruction of European Communism, 
Mandela was, for South Africa, the right man in the right place at the right time.

That is really all that needs to be said. May he rest in peace.

From: Neil Craig, Woodlands Road, Glasgow.

THE broadcast media are still marking the death of a 95-year-old politician as the almost the only news in the entire world.

Far more than they did for Margaret Thatcher and infinitely more obsequiously. Objectively, Thatcher was far more important to the world, let alone in Britain.

The first open election in South Africa in 1994 was accompanied by huge lines at the polling booths and scenes of chaos at vote-counting centres. The media predicted it might take weeks to tabulate all the ballots. Then, almost instantly, the final, official results were announced, with no-one objecting that that was logistically impossible.

The vote counting was indeed chaotic and looked to go on indefinitely, but early returns conclusively showed Mandela’s African National Congress winning a crushing victory that would give it the two-thirds majority needed to write the new constitution all by itself.

So, Mandela called together the leaders of opposition parties and told them he was rigging the results to restrict his own party to about five-eighths of the seats so that the new constitution would require some support from other parties to pass.

It shows the essential decency, love of country and freedom nobility he had.

It also shows a degree of Machiavellian ruthlessness and disbelief in democracy, which allowed him to do the right thing when the plaster saint the media are erecting could never have done it.

From: Edward Dale, Bartle Road, Gillitts, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.

NELSON Mandela’s finally gone. But was he really the heroic freedom fighter as portrayed to the world?

As an Englishman who has lived in South Africa for over 30 years, allow me to strip away the emotional rhetoric and sugar-coated propaganda, and 
place before you the cold, hard facts of the South African revolution since Mandela’s political party, the African National Congress (ANC), swept to power in 1994.

During the mid-1970s and 80s, the ANC fought a bitter and bloody battle with the Nationalist Government of the time, setting bombs in supermarkets and malls and other “soft targets” that wrought havoc. I can clearly remember mothers and children, screaming in agony and covered in blood – eyes, arms, hands and legs missing – after nationwide bomb outrages.

The ANC fomented township violence by repressing and terrorising the black African populace, the very people they purported to “free from their shackles”.

Anybody who progressed in their jobs, or who purchased a vehicle to get to their place of work, was found to be a “counter-revolutionary” and punished. This was generally a death sentence.

It was only when President FW de Klerk of the Nationalist Government took the decision to unreservedly un-ban the ANC in 1990 that Mandela was released from jail.

Today, investors view South Africa as an extremely high-risk investment, and have voted with their feet: there has been little overseas investment in the country in the 19 years since the revolution.

Crime statistics average 20,000 annual deaths – that’s 380,000 law-abiding South Africans murdered since 1994, making us statistically the second most violent country in the world, after Colombia. We are also the rape capital of the world.

What has the African National Congress, and Mandela, done about any of the above? Well, very little really. So – Mandela – messiah or pariah? You choose.

From: Rev Canon John Young, Middlethorpe Grove, York.

my friend is a retired Methodist missionary who served in South Africa. She answered her phone one evening to find Nelson Mandela on the line. He was ringing from Buckingham Palace, during a State visit, to thank her for visiting him in prison on Robben Island. Your readers may be moved, as I was, by his gratitude and humility.