Piet Swanepoel explores the later former president's links with the Anglo-American Establishment
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This is a reply to Slavoj Zizek’s article “Mandela’s Socialist Failure” published online in The Stone (a New York Times maintained philosophy blog) on December 6, 2013. In eight pithy paragraphs Zizek endeavors to expose the real legacy of Mandela as opposed to his current “beatification.” The Catholic Church used to have someone play the role of Devil’s Advocate to denigrate the reputation of a person nominated to become a saint. Zizek has taken it upon himself to see to it that Mandela’s “beatification” does not progress to full fledged “sainthood.”
The world is mourning and celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela, who passed away in South Africa last week at the age of 95. CKUT's Cecilia MacArthur speaks to linguist, political commentator, and activist Noam Chomsky about Mandela's life and legacy. Chomsky explores Mandela as a controversial figure, looking at the problems with mass media's portrayal of him and explaining how we can use his legacy to fight colonialism and apartheid today.
On Thursday December 5, 2013 the people of South Africa lost one of the foremost freedom fighters and revolutionary who made his mark on humans everywhere. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born in South Africa in 1918 and matured as Africans in South Africa rose to the challenges posed by the most brutal social and economic system of that moment, the system called apartheid. Mandela has now joined the ancestors and he has left his mark beside those great humans (such as Mahatmas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Umm Kulthum, Che Guevara and Rosa Luxemburg) whose greatness emerged from the movements that created them. The forms of struggle that emerged from South Africa inspired the refinement of the philosophy of Ubuntu. This is a philosophy that says one’s humanity is being enriched by another’s and that as humans we are linked to a wider universe and spiritual world. Mandela had said clearly of Ubuntu, “The spirit of Ubuntu – that profound Africa sense that we are human beings only through the humanity of other human beings – is not a parochial phenomenon, but has added globally to our common search for a better world.”
In the last two decades of his life, Nelson Mandela was celebrated as a model of how to liberate a country from the colonial yoke without succumbing to the temptation of dictatorial power and anti-capitalist posturing. In short, Mandela was not Mugabe, South Africa remained a multi-party democracy with free press and a vibrant economy well-integrated into the global market and immune to hasty Socialist experiments. Now, with his death, his stature as a saintly wise man seems confirmed for eternity: there are Hollywood movies about him — he was impersonated by Morgan Freeman, who also, by the way, played the role of God in another film; rock stars and religious leaders, sportsmen and politicians from Bill Clinton to Fidel Castro are all united in his beatification.
Imprisoned from 1964 to 1990, Mandela came to symbolize the struggle for freedom, equality, and justice among his countrymen and around the world. South Africa’s triumph over apartheid, its peaceful transition to democracy in 1994, and the growing pains the nation has felt in the years since are all part of the onetime revolutionary’s narrative.
Curated by jean lievens
Economist, specialized in political economy and peer-to-peer dynamics; core member of the P2P Foundation
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