Ezili Danto’s analysis of the current colonial narrative on the Mandela legacy

Editor's Note: From time to time, Uhuru News reprint articles from Ezili Danto's website. Here, we reprint her statement on the death of Nelson Mandela and the struggle in South Africa. She helps us to answer the question, "Why is South African neocolonialism different from other neocolonialism?"



Nelson Mandela is dead at 95 years old. The African National Congress liberation movement he led helped make white minority rule and apartheid in Africa a monstrous reality no decent human would wish to be associated with.

Since Mandela’s death, the same international powers that keep the structural conditions alive for Black suffering worldwide, are universally heralding the man and his great achievements. The same corporatocracy who helped keep South Africa and the global South in economic chains and political instability to increase their money-making profits, are lining up to have their pictures taken at the funeral.
Nelson Mandela and the South African peoples’ long struggle is reduced to a celebration of one man who spent 27 years in prison, doesn’t hate his white oppressors or wish them the violent deaths, deprivations and grief they metered out to millions of South Africans.
In fact, African lands, control of resources and properties taken through genocide were kept by the white minority. The racist oppressors gave up fairly nothing, are today richer, without guilt and no longer international pariahs. Mandela supposedly forgave them for their global racist system!
The ever-present colonial message is that Mandela is honorable and great for this appeasement. But most other Blacks are corrupt, criminal, inferior, violent. His former wife, Winnie Mandela, is generally put in this category. This is basically the totality of the message being uplifted as the meaning of the Mandela legacy. Over and over again the media tell us that if Mandela had not forgiven his jailers, South Africa would have fallen into upheaval and brutal war. What they mean is that the wealthy white pro-apartheid folks there would have been disturbed for the Black majority were already at war.
Another missing part of the story is that apartheid/white minority rule and neocolonialism is a global system and did not end with the release of Nelson Mandela.
Hardly ever mentioned favorably is the role of the Black African and Cuban soldiers in defeating the minority government. Especially pivotal was the defeat of the South African apartheid army at the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale in Angola (1988) – a defeat in combat that Nelson Mandela himself said hastened the end of legal apartheid and his release from prison.
Also brushed aside is that Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s wife, kept the South African Black liberation movement going during the 27-years her husband was put in prison and after.
With her freedom-fighting husband locked up, heroic mother Winnie Mandela had to manage her own needs and the care of her children alone while being hounded by the apartheid police at every turn. Imposed griefs like this, as well as the millions massacred and removed under colonialism in Africa, are glossed over in the Western media’s rush to reinforce the colonial narrative that Black leadership’s greatest lie only in the ability to take the system’s punishment without anger and constantly express gratitude and awe for the few assimilated ones allowed to move into “white areas.”
The pivotal question is, would there have been this iconic, revered Nelson Mandela, without the resistance work of Winnie Mandela and others who defended their natural and inalienable human rights and had nothing to atone for, compared to the horrors suffered under direct white minority rule and apartheid?
Is putting a Black face in command of the same racist, profit-over-people economic system – as with President Barack Obama in the US – a great change?
In an exclusive interview with CCTV, the former Mrs. Mandela explains how she took on the mantle of leadership after Nelson Mandela went to prison and the worst of the apartheid regime. (See, also Exclusive interview: Winnie Mandela remembers Nelson Mandela , Banishment of Winnie Mandela, 1983 interview Brandfort, OFS, Winnie’s prison suicide plan and She Was Discarded, Demonised and Betrayed.)
This writing reMEMBERS Winnie Mandela and the South African women and men like Chris Hani who kept the liberation movement going, giving up their lives, freedom and personal happiness. This post honors the other Nelson Mandela – the warrior who took up arms to defend his people, not the 72 year old gracious but accommodating man who walked out of Robben Island and promptly became the corporate figurehead for “good liberation” sold to a world in need of sanity.
Mandela liberated the oppressor.
But Janjak Desalin would ask, “what about Africa’s children, their equitable share in wealth, health, security, wholeness, dignity – a decent standard of living? What about the oppressors atoning for the unspeakable atrocities Black South Africans endured?"
It’s been duly noted that Mandela “agreed to a bad deal for the blacks” Through Mandela, white capital was able to keep its vice grip on South Africa’s economic power while the masses were given a beguiling opium in the form of Madiba magic. See, John Pilger’s documentary: Apartheid Did Not Die.
This post shares a few worthy links and excerpts of tributes to Mandela. Sends condolences to the still suffering peoples Mandela gave his life force and liberty to represent.
For Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who should not have had to suffer more humiliation after the release of her husband from 27 years of wrongful imprisonment, and for all the women, men and children, of all the Sowetos in South Africa, who endured the white minority’s brutality, face the continuing legacy of apartheid in South Africa, we Haitians who are battling Dominican Republic apartheid, loss of citizenship and a 10-year US/Euro occupation behind UN guns and humanitarian imperialism in Ayiti, say “you’re not alone.”
Nou la!- Desalin’s descendants are still here, not reconciling with injustice. Nou pap bay legen. The long walk to freedom continues.
Blatant South African apartheid may have become unacceptable worldwide. But its replacement, economic and civil apartheid continues to be the norm.
The world awaits.
Will the first (in their “new world’) Black republic (Ayiti) and the latest Black republic (South Africa) finish the long walk to Black independence? Help get rid of white minority rule (neocolonialism worldwide) and its profit over people system? Live with independence, transparent and participatory democracy without the global white minority’s interference? Replace selections by the global white powers with one person one vote elections?
The same white supremacist, profit-over-people system that pronounced Black Haiti was not ready for independence in 1804, also nearly 200-years later in 1994, opined that Black South Africans were not ready to rule themselves without the colonial white minority’s economic, cultural and social controls and conditions. The oppressors still point to Haiti and Zimbabwe as failed states for kicking them out. Still use all their Ndoki forces to angelize whites, demonize Blacks. The colonial narrative proclaims the colonists’ benevolence, innocence and blamelessness while promoting Black guilt and responsibility for the poverty and instabilities in Haiti and Africa.
Will the corporatocracy ever give up its monopolies, its gated communities built on genocide and death of mostly non-whites and the poor worldwide? Atone for the crimes against humanity since their new world began? No.
White domination has no conscience. Haiti’s current occupation by the US/Euros behind UN guns and the white saviors’ charitable industrial complex, evidences the Western powers continuing 500-year-old international crimes.
Yes, Mandela’s legacy says we should live free, take our freedom and expect to exercise our own perfect self-expression just as Janjak Desalin intended for all children who would slide down the Black woman’s thighs.
Self-defense is a human right, even in a world lost within white domination and its seductive delusions.
Heroic mother, Winnie Mandela, the Black South African leaders who stayed the course, the African majority, Haiti and the few of us in Haiti left still lifting up Desalin’s ideals, have a right to self defense. Reconciling with injustice merely delays justice for centuries, if not millenniums more.
Ezili Dantò of HLLN,
December 8, 2013


- Advertisement -spot_img

Support African Working Class Media!

More articles from this author

Haitian lynched in the Dominican Republic

Let Haiti use its enormous natural resources - gold, oil, lands - to feed its own people without the wealthy nations stealing and containing Haiti in poverty.

Basic Haiti rights repealed under newly amended Haiti Constitution

  This story from ezilidanto.com (http://www.ezilidanto.com/zili/2012/08/basic-haiti-rights-repealed/#.UDgt6Vhg6nE.email)   Article 297 of the 1987 Constitution that reinstated the basic human rights of Haiti masses is REPEALED by the combined...

Similar articles

The African People’s Socialist Party calls for unity with Russia’s defensive war in Ukraine against the world colonial powers

On March 17, 2022, the African People's Socialist Party conducted a press conference featuring Chairman Omali Yeshitela, who put forward the official position of...

Fresh La Vwadezil’s ‘Mande Yo Pou Mwen’ justly criticizes oppressive powers for Haiti’s mass displacement

    HAITI—On March 17, 2021, singer-songwriter Fresh La—whose birth name is Donald Joseph and who is the lead singer of his band called “Vwadezil”—released a...

Cops Assassinate African Youth in Broad Daylight

The day after St. Petersburg police brutally executed Dominique, the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP), defenders of the African working class, called a news conference led by Director of Agitation and Propaganda (AgitProp) Akilé Anai.