Our Readers' Opinions
July 23, 2013

Nelson Mandela – a humble, forgiving man

Tue Jul 23, 2013

Editor: Nelson Mandela, the South African freedom fighter, celebrated his 95th birthday and 15th wedding anniversary on Thursday. There were celebrations in Pretoria and other parts of the world.{{more}}

The freedom hero has been hospitalized for the past 42 days. The United Nations named July 18 International Day in honour of Nelson Mandela – bringing back memories of the crucial involvement of the CIA in his wrongful arrest and imprisonment.

George H.W. Bush, who was President of the United States when Mandela was released from prison in February 1990, personally called the great statesman and told him that America was rejoicing at his release. Ironically, it was Bush who was the head of the CIA at the time when that American intelligence agency spearheaded his apprehension on August 5, 1962.

Mandela Nobel Peace laureate and former South African president is arguably the world’s most respected and beloved living figure. Former US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton calls him “a hero to people of all backgrounds who strive for freedom and progress.”

The Digital Journal reported that Mandela, always a strong believer in non-violence, was forced to take up arms half a century ago as peaceful protests against apartheid inhumanity were brutally crushed. The white rulers of South Africa cleverly portrayed Mandela’s AFC as an outlaw band of communist terrorists and the United States, deep in the Cold War, and deeply invested in South Africa’s stupendous mineral wealth, took the bait. In Washington’s eyes, Mandela was not fighting for the freedom of his people from the racist tyranny of apartheid, he was a terrorist who needed to be neutralized.

The CIA infiltrated the ANC and in 1962 informed South African security officials that Mandela, a wanted man on the run, would be leaving a dinner party in Durban dressed as a chauffeur. He was arrested at a roadblock and spent the next 27 years behind bars.

The freedom fighter was such a humble and forgiving man that when he was elected President of South Africa, when asked whom he would like to invite to his inaugural dinner, his response was “the warden of Robben Island,” where he was imprisoned and humiliated by the very wardens, since he and other black prisoners were “forced to dig a six-foot deep ditch, climb into it and stand there while the white wardens pissed all over them.” What a man.

Mandela divorced his second wife, Winnie, and several years later married, on his 80th birthday, Graca Machel, a widow, the former first Lady of Mozambique. She is 27 years his junior.

Oscar Ramjeet