The recent musings by South African Economic Freedom Fighter leader in the United Kingdom, Julius Malema, that Nelson Mandela sold out on black demands for economic freedom and land distribution is inaccurate and falsely lays the blame on a man whose hands were tied by the reality of the situation. This perhaps, is the beginning of the end for Malema and his vision for South Africa.

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Mr. Mandela could not insist on economic shares when it was clear that these would not be given without a civil war. The result would have been another protracted civil War, this time more bloody than the one before, between the Afrikaner and the new black government in waiting. To avert a bloodbath Mr. Mandela had  to take peace and not  civil war and to set South Africa on a solid first step. Countries that begin with civil wars seldom ever recover.

Demands for economic redress are seldom given without a fight, throughout history any economic redress especially involving land requires some armed protest. In his 70s, Mr. Mandela had learnt frankly that this line of thought ( economic shares) would not be a peaceful one, to say this was a sellout's position is unfair especially given that the armed military wing of the ANC had stepped down or agreed to cease fire as a precondition for democracy in South Africa. What army was Mandela supposed to demand economic redress with?


For one, the run-up to South African democracy in 1994 that began with the release of Mandela in 1990 had preconditions. For release of political prisoners the ANC agreed to suspend the armed struggle. This was a precondition and a basis for good faith negotiations. Too often people say, Mandela chose the easy path of Sainthood at the expense of the masses - this is a lie. It is precisely due to Mandela's study of the situation that South Africa did not degenerate into Serbia with each ethnic group grabbing a share of the pie until there is nothing left. Admiration of Mandela did not come because he chose not to fight, but because he showed the world that an eye for an eye is not always called for if peace is seriously sought.


To suggest that blacks should have demanded more economic pie without an army is foolish thinking. It shows a lack of understanding of the Afrikaner political midst. In the early 90s, the National Party  were still capable of producing a viable Nuclear bomb (dirty bomb). This was a realistic threat on the majority black population in the advent of a Civil War. It would have lacked tactical reasoning to fight without an army against a group  with Nuclear capability. This is what Mandela averted.

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