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Who makes Nelson Mandela a hero?


Published: Aug 02, 2013

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What makes big news headlines about Sub-Sahara Africa is of great interest to western media and western powers that have political interests to protect on the African continent.

For the past couple weeks the western media has been making Nelson Mandela into a political saint. And while writers and television commentators were giving all the praises and well wishes to ailing Mandela, Rwanda-backed Tutsi rebels were terrorizing Congolese villagers inside the Democratic Republic of Congo. Thousands of villagers had to seek refuge across the border in neighboring Uganda.

And while most television viewers in the western world are familiar with the name Nelson Mandela, they do not know who President Paul Kagame of Rwanda is and what role he is playing in the destabilization of the Congo, even though they might have seen the document “The Rwanda Genocide.” But they are not politically conscious about what is going in most black African countries. They have no idea of why some Congolese villagers are being terrorized by armed men and who is supplying these armed men with the weapons. However, they know that Nelson Mandela is ill and he is getting very good medical treatment from top medical doctors in South Africa.

Just recently there was a war of words between Tanzania and Rwanda over the M23 Tutsi rebels’ invasion of Eastern Congo. The Tanzanian leadership has threatened to strike Rwanda for its military support given to the rebels that keep crossing from Rwanda into the Congo and committing crimes against humanity. In addition, the United States president keeps warning the Rwandan dictator Paul Kagame about his role in the Congo but, based on the western media interest, the ailing Nelson Mandela is of more interest than the suffering people in Eastern Congo.

In this big global village we are living in, everybody has a right to give their opinion and say what and how they feel about things that are of interest to them. However, I think that the social and political situation in South Africa since the ANC came to power has not changed in the interest of black people. The ANC government has done very little to empower the suffering black population, but it seems as though the powerful western media is more interested in trying to make Mr Mandela a political saint, because the ANC regime is not interested in making political changes that will affect those big mining companies that are exploiting workers since the days of the apartheid system.

The ANC has disbanded its original manifesto and, most likely, behind the scenes the ANC leadership must have bargained some kind of political deal with the former leaders of the racist apartheid system, whereby the ANC will become the ruling elected party with black leadership but they will not interfere with the economic power base established under the old apartheid system. Unfortunately, it seems as though the media promotion of Mr. Mandela as a god forgiving person has captured the minds of millions of black people globally.

Now that Mr. Mandela is very old and sick, there is great concern that his departure from this life will create tension within the ruling ANC. The black political elite that are benefiting from this present ANC regime are scared that other members within the party ranks might want to make some social and political changes in the interest of the majority of suffering poor uneducated black population, who still live in some of the most miserable living conditions, worse than their African brothers and sisters in Brazil ghettos.

In addition, some people believe that out of evil come good things in the future but in the case of what is going on in most parts of Africa, especially in South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo, it seems as though out of good comes evil. The rich natural resources in those two countries attract envious business people and powerful political leaders across the globe and, due to that enviousness by outside forces, the citizens of those two countries are suffering. Their human values are not respected because they are living on lands that are rich in natural resources.

And as we are seeing presently on the television news reports, Congolese citizens are running away from their homes and villages because armed bandits from a neighboring country keep invading their lands, and stealing the rich natural resources in the interest of some big foreign companies, while the United Nations is doing very little to stop the crisis.

In South Africa, the situation is almost the same as in the Congo, even though there is no foreign military invasion terrorizing the masses of South African people. However, the power structure that Mr Mandela and his ANC party inherited from the apartheid system still remains the same. The predominately black ANC government is just a group of politicians with darker skin color. And even though the political icon of today's South Africa will die of natural causes as a hero, it seems as though his contribution towards the struggle against the racist apartheid system is far from over. And as long as there is no paradigm shift in the interest of the suffering poor people in South Africa, how can we say that Mr. Nelson Mandela is a hero?

He was not the only one who suffered during the racist apartheid system. What about those others who fought and died during the struggle?


• Hudson George has a BA in Social Science from York University, Toronto, Canada. He has been writing since his early teenage years and now contributes letters and articles to a number of Caribbean newspapers. Re-printed with the permission of caribbeannewsnow.com.

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