Last week I wrote a piece about Mandela, partly in response to the somewhat hysterical media coverage, of which it can with slightly more distance from the emotion of the event be said that:
- … it was overblown, especially by the BBC, which sent a total of 140 presenters and crew members to South Africa, nearly three times as many as all of its rival British broadcasters put together.
- … Mandela had inspiring human qualities – especially that of forgiveness – but he was not quite the icon most of us swooned over last week. And there is clearly a dichotomy between Mandela as a person (and in particular his reconciliation policies) and his “legacy”. Then was not the time for criticism, but we must now look at the picture in the round. However, while it is important to have no illusions about the SA he leaves behind, attributing him any real BLAME for it is questionable. He became President at a fairly advanced age after 27 years in prison; miracles one could not expect. No doubt his role in all this will become clearer over time with more learned analysis from historians.
One reason I started this blog was to try to more easily find “the truth”, which is often a slippery eel for most of human activity. There seem to me two aspects to determining “the truth”:
A) the FACTS and
B) the synthesis of all the multiple analyses and opinions derived from them.
As for opinions, I am these days wary of “experts”. No doubt in technical areas some are brilliant, but in those involving political opinion I tend to find the average pleb more convincing.
As we know, it is very often all too difficult even to determine the facts alone. However, in Mandela’s case, they are fairly clear, and in an attempt to focus on the interpretations I read through various blogs from “The Daily Telegraph”about his death and funeral. One would assume the posters quoted below are a cross-section of (fairly) literate and somewhat middle-class and/or right-of-centre-leaning people. Assumptions are not the bees’ knees, but unavoidable I guess. Anyway, some of these posts are illuminating and their collective force considerable, if likely to irritate the illiberal unintelligentsia as I like to call them – those self-righteous, knee-jerk “leftist” PC and old-fashioned “socialist” fantasists …..
I offer the blogposts below for what they are worth. If there are counter arguments to explain why South Africa is on the crest of a new, golden dawn then of course it would be good to hear them.
The starting point was an article here, whose main conclusion was that:
As a leader Mandela was remarkable for two reasons – his ability to reach out to his enemies and forgive the past if that aided the future and his ability to be able to govern with reasonable competence after 27 years – most of it in a secluded island prison.
He was however far short of perfect:
- Decisions made on his watch have reduced South Africa’s school education system to a quest to standardise at the lowest possible level.
- The arms deal and associated corruption and the inability to distinguish the interests of the country from that of the ANC are major failings from his era.
- His loyalty to colleagues resulted in some very poor ministerial appointment – unless there are just no people of the appropriate calibre in the ANC. After 20 years we are yet to get a competent or semi-competent national education minister.
You wonder what excesses in South Africa Mandela held back merely by being alive – even well over a decade after leaving the highest office. Perhaps we shall now see – as the ascendant political party consolidates permanent power and the iceberg of an emerging kleptocracy of the sort so familiar in Africa starts to emerge.
The greatness of a leader is his legacy, not what a decent bloke he was. So South Africa today is Nelson Mandela’s greatness… quite so.
Mandela was so anti-West that he preferred to silently watch Mugabe destroy Zimbabwe rather than agree with the West that Mugabe was a black tyrant. He similarly did not want to align himself with Western-backed anti-AIDs policies. His soulmates were Castro, Chavez and Gaddafi.
Three years ago I was in Jo’burg for various meetings with senior executives of the SA Banking sector. Whilst we looked at multi-million Rand projects to develop the Sandton business district there were riots kicking off at a township a few miles down the road where 1,000 people queued for every stand-pipe.
A senior executive boldly stated that the impression in the business community was that the current government had only stopped the gravy train long enough to climb aboard themselves and that the country had 5 years to pull itself together before we’d see an economic collapse.
The consensus was that it was only Mandela, or even just his presence, which was holding the government back from turning into a Zaire style Kleptocracy. We are 3 years into the 5 and nothing is getting better….
“After the funeral, South Africa will remain much as before – just as its hero would have hoped”?
I would encourage the author of this piece to do a little bit of serious journalistic investigation into the activities of Julius Malema’s EFF Party – also to check on the number of white farmers being murdered monthly in the Free State and other areas of the country in what amounts to a Mugabe style ‘land grab’. Yes, I did live there for several years both before, during and after the transfer of power.
Apparently the first census in SA in 1911 showed a white population of about 22% – that was reduced to about 8% in 2011 – surely not long now before even the dimmest idiots see the true racist black SA – but I’m not holding my breath!!!
“After the funeral, South Africa will remain much as before – just as its hero would have hoped”.
Your opening line speaks volumes to your ignorance or your blindness to reality. South Africa has:
- the highest murder rate in the world at 55 per day.
- 68,000 black-on-white murders since 1994.
- 40% official unemployment.
- no control of its borders, which has allowed millions of desperate Africans in Central and Southern Africa to migrate south in hope of finding work – leading to terrible incidents of xenophobia.
- one of the most corrupt governments on the planet.
- a crumbling infrastructure with rolling power cuts, contaminated tap water and disintegrating roads.
The terrible truth is most black South Africans are not much better off than they were under apartheid other than the fact that they get to vote in what has been a one-party state system in all but name – hardly what you would call democracy. The brutally of the apartheid police state has been replaced by the brutality of lawlessness that comes when law and order are removed. Trade Unions have wiped out what was a thriving domestic-help industry and they are attempting to do the same on the mines. Last year’s government sanctioned shooting of miners on strike is something that would have been condemned under the apartheid regime but is glossed over under the ANC.
The sad fact is the apartheid years designed a system to employ large numbers of unskilled workers and the trade unions have successfully priced those jobs out of existence leaving millions unemployed with no social security. There are virtually no benefits in South Africa. You work or starve.
The education system has plummeted down the international league tables so future generations, the hope of the rainbow nation, are not being equipped with the skills to drive the country forward. This remains restricted to the few who can afford private education.
I am quite sure this is not the legacy Mandela was hoping for. However, one thing Mandela’s passing will do is free the politically ambitious black South Africans from opposing the ANC without having to oppose a living legend. For too long now the ANC have been living on the legacy of Mandela and covering up their utter incompetence by playing on that legacy. Hopefully his passing will allow an effective opposition to come of age and hold the government to account. If not, there is absolutely no hope for this country.
On the “signer” issue let me postulate on how it came to pass. A decision was made that it would be the right thing to do and the task was delegated to a bureaucrat. He (the bureaucrat) then looked for someone to do the job. He would have been quoted a price, say Rand 5000.00 to organise the “signer”. He would then double or treble the quote and get authority for payment which would be made to himself, his wife and his mate. He would then find someone and pay them Rand 500.00, arrange for his clearance, and tell him to stand in front of the world and wave his hands.
That is how events are organised in Africa. For anything to happen someone has to make a cut never mind that he is paid a salary. The culture of entitlement in Africa is such that your salary is paid to you to turn up at work, not actually do anything.
The ‘signer’ was a fake, just like the image conjured by a swooning, Western liberal claque of their hero. How apt. Maybe it was Nelson Mandela’s own doing from beyond the grave… his final comment and joke on the bunch of international sycophants that turned his funeral into a Pantomime of preening ‘leaders’, dictators, former terrorists, celebs and self-important others.
That fake deaf signing guy summed it up for the farce it all was. He was priceless, and that fakery, and the Cameron/Obama selfie will be the abiding memories.
I wonder if your blogging colleague Tim Stanley, who a few days ago chirruped gushingly on this site about the “new” South Africa saying that it was: “Genuinely wonderful to see a young democracy in action”, has read your article Mr.Blair.
Probably not, as like most other liberals, he’d prefer – if you don’t mind me using a mixed metaphor – to put his head in the sand, his fingers in his ears and
shout “LA LA LA – CAN’T HEAR YOU” as loudly as possible.
A notorious arms deal worth £4.4 billion has cast a shadow over the country’s politics for the past 15 years, ensnaring one senior figure after another in a web of corruption.
A beautiful country that is heading down the same mucky plughole that is Zimbabwe and other nations in that continent. Unfortunately we will still be fed the usual left-wing liberal elite tripe about how things have improved from BBC and Guardianista commentators and reporters and rent-a-mob when required following their mantra that the white man was evil and the ANC and their supporters are wonderful. Most of them will not have lived and have spent some time in that part of the world and certainly not in the last few decades; crime is rampant and rife; those in power and their supporters are corrupt in the extreme; many still live in shanty towns and not a great deal has been done to improve their lot although billions have been spent on the infrastructure and certainly between Pretoria and Johannesburg; billions have been poured into business parks by the USA, the UK and other western nations but efficiency has dropped; there are more blacks in employment, but that has been achieved in most areas by a programme of positive discrimination or affirmative action making whites redundant; and, white farmers have been killed on their farms especially in the northern areas not far from the border with Zimbabwe.
A stable nation, I think not! And, if we continue with the present EU policy of unfettered immigration to UK then we will be heading down the same plughole!
RSA is no different to what it was 40 years ago … A tribal apartheid continues.The ruling party has NO concern for the disaffected and lost .
Nothing EVER changes in Africa … their politics is built on shifting sand.
Mandela was a smiley man , but during his reign in Cape Town and Pretoria , he promised much but like all politicians he didn’t deliver! He was an all African icon, an emblem of the magic word ‘Freedom’.. we all know there is no such thing ..
This is not the view that more than one South African has expressed to me. They’ve told me that the reason why so many African countries are kleptocracies is because of a culture wherein the chief owns everything within his realm. No matter that Mr. Mandela was neither active nor still capable in politics, he was regarded as the chief. That meant that culturally, it was he who was the “rightful” owner of South Africa. This imposed a moral restraint on his “deputies”, who may have used their posts to loot the nation in some way or other, but prevented them from doing so to the extent that they otherwise might have.
How long did David Blair live in South Africa? Did he even EVER live in South Africa? His views as articulated here bear no relationship to any reality.
This is whistling i n the wind at its most hopeful. Like the rest of Africa, it is on a one way trip to self-destruction.
You have to be kidding. Anyone who has lived in South Africa and is there still frequently, knows only too well that it is going down the African plughole like every other nation on that continent. Tragically, Mandela’s legacy lasted a very brief time and the corruption, incompetence, racial hatred and venality which he may have stood against, is alive and well and growing stronger. It is sad, deeply sad but perhaps inevitable.
And don’t kid yourself about Mandela. He was a man of Africa and while he may have had more integrity than was expected, the behaviour of his family has demonstrated the greed, venality and corruption which is endemic on that continent and of which Mandela must, to some degree, have been aware. It is just the way of Africa.
Modern SA is a Mafia State run by a vicious organized crime connected clique. If this is a success – even by Africa’s low standards – then may God help us all.
However much one must loathe Mr. Mugabe, there can be no criticism of the South African government for supporting him … as long as that is in accordance with the interests of that country. A recently deceased British ex-prime minister kept a cordial relationship with a South American dictator, because it was in the UK’s interests to do so. It was no reflection of approval of his internal political policies.
“The interests of that country” ….. where do the interests of fellow-human beings suffering under hideous regimes come? No different from the west sucking up to China for trade even as China supports and sustains the truly appalling NK. Cameron’s recent visit was sickening. How incredibly selfish this “interests of the country” is!
I know many Afrikaners that have fled South Africa: they just wanted out! It is a shocking country, and it will collapse.
In the meantime the BBC radio seems to be running endless programs with a race based theme. Is it just using the occasion of Mandela’s death to raise consciousness, because it seems that BBC World service and Radio 4 believe we all need to know about white on black racism, continually.
There are stereotypes of good and evil. Racialists are of course White.
On one of the freeview channels, last night, I saw a government advert with the strapline “Abuse isn’t just physical”. It features a man emotionally abusing his wife by invading the privacy of her mobile phone, dictating what clothing she should wear, and criticising her behaviour.
But a man? Why not a woman nagging her husband and criticising him? Emotional abuse is what the female of the species does… to the extent that the nagging wife and the henpecked husband became a music hall joke.
The reason why the advert is as it is, is because the stereotype is that abusers are all male.
It seems that the BBC in SA only now have Black presenters – who thought that one up. The BBC is a traitor’s gate within. Unbelievable.
– How long South Africa remains only as unstable and violent as it is currently is a matter of conjecture – the ANC will say thank you to the Americans and others who pump in money to put up factories and use the plentiful cheap African labour, and then they will see how they can take over the factories, for there is no bigger or more obnoxious anathema to a hard-line communist than free enterprise, everything in their socialist utopia has be under the direct control of a command driven economy.
The Rainbow nation stayed united under Mandela; how long it stays united without Mandela is questionable.
Zuma talks of the Sharpeville Massacre, but does not mention the butchery of the striking miners who worked for the mining company of which he is a director. Who ordered the mass shooting at the mine? The accusing fingers points at the directors.
Mandela helped keep the whites around while the black looters from the ANC, Mandela’s family and the rest became the gangsters in charge and immensely wealthy. The country went from Richmond to Detroit in one generation.
When the miners from the anc owned mine were shot, the police arrested the miners when they protested the murders. Where were the worldwide protests? No protests because it was black killing black, the black gangster class killing the black poor. If the ANC could have kept Mandela alive for 150 years they would have done it. Where was Bonio? What did President Obama have to say? Clintons were silent; Blair unmoved.
South Africa, you can keep it.
Lenin kept the middle class technical experts around while the Communist state became established. Whatever happened to them under Stalin?
Totally disagree with this article – as events will go on to prove. At which point the liberal MSM will have found another country it is in love with for racist anti-white reasons, which they will laud with messianic fervour even as they totally ignore SA becoming yet another black-run failed state.
Will they ever learn? No, not as long as whites remain alive.
Let’s not get carried away. Because SA isn’t as bad as say Zimbabwe it doesn’t make it good. It is run by a corrupt regime where polititians’ entire motivation is self- enrichment: See that clown Zuma as an example.
Its gov depts are a joke, both useless & corrupt & the society is so full of violent criminals that the middle-class retreat behind fortified houses in guarded communities surrounded by electrified fences patrolled by armed men.
Is this Mandela’s legacy? Who in their right mind would want to live there?
As somebody said. The problem with the ANC leadership isn’t that they are stealing anything they can; the problem is that’s all they are doing. There is absolutely no effective government in SA and the police force is just one giant criminal gang. If you fall into their hands you are in deep trouble and the courts can’t help you.
The momentum of what the country built before 1994 will keep it going for a while but the whole civil service is being hollowed out by corruption on a grand scale. Heading for a Zimbabwe nightmare. You can see it now!
Having visited SA two years ago and seeing the vast shanty towns stretching all the way from the Airport to Cape Town, I am wondering is this really Mandela’s legacy? Having my passport, expensive camera and all personal possession stolen by mugging on Table Mountain, has also done nothing, to make me ever want to visit this extremely frightening country again!
-> You were extremely ill-advised to walk on Table Mountain with all that stuff unless you were with a large group. The trouble is SA seems and looks normal but it is not. It is extremely dangerous, with the highest murder and rape rate in the world. You can have fun and enjoy yourself there but you need to take precautions. Not one report among all the Mandela coverage that I have read has pointed out the hazardous nature of life in SA, including the above.
”I am wondering is this really Mandela’s legacy?” Yes, it is.
We have heard repeatedly over the last week from a host of the high and mighty, that exclusive credit for the new South Africa is due to one of the greatest leaders and statesmen of all time.
His “legacy” is plain to see.
Mandela could never bring himself to condemn Mugabe. Tick..tick…tick goes the time bomb that is south Africa.
And the great trek to political, moral and financial ruin of South Africa will continue apace now that its superficial legitimacy has at long last been laid to rest.
Mandela’s South Africa has degenerated to a sess pit of humanity. Over 15000 murders last year, epidemic child prostitution and rape levels, and a nation that was being turned into a 1st world nation becoming under black rule, a 3rd world nation as it was before apartheid. for all of its faults one does have to raise an eyebrow when some black Africans openly say they wish a return to apartheid rule.
South Africa is demographically rather like US crime ridden, Detroit, but with sufficient natural resources to postpone bankruptcy for a few decades.
The younger generation of black South Africans are utterly fed up with their leaders .. no promises materialised . In fact an even greater problem exists now because Zimbabweans have fled their own country and have caused great upsets and jealousy amongst others .. Many other embattled African nationalities are also causing problems in RSA, in particular Nigerians who are rather fond of corruption and extortion and AK47s!
Give them time. -> They’ve had 2 decades already.
Rhodesia was the bread basket of Africa under white rule,now it cannot feed its own population. Blacks cannot run anything efficiently except to siphon off billions in foreign aid into their own pockets
“South Africa has an enlightened constitution, a free media capable of exposing Mr Zuma’s excesses, a vociferous opposition, and genuinely independent judges.”
The former Rhodesian state had every one of these attributes at the time of the ascent to power of Mugabe. And Rhodesia also had a previous leader in Ian Smith who was willing, as Mr Blair praises, to modestly accept “his own dispensability” and peacefully give up power.
None of that helped one bit, and Mugabe went on to ruthlessly ruin the new Zimbabwe.
“South Africa will remain just as before?” So it will remain a 3rd world hell-hole where the black population is ruled with an iron fist by a tiny minority of other blacks ?
“Mandela the saint”? The MK led a terrorist insurgency that included bombings of public places. It killed many, many more civilians than it did members of the regime’s security forces – copiously including women and children. Indeed, it killed many more people than the approximately 7,000 black South Africans who, according to the post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission, were killed by the regime during the 46 years of apartheid. In fact, twice that number, over 14,000 people, were killed between 1990 and 1994 “