Coffee House From the archive

Nelson Mandela: The man and the mask

5 December 2013

9:49 PM

5 December 2013

9:49 PM

South Africa’s first black president Nelson Mandela has died aged 95 this evening. From The Spectator’s archive, here is a personal account of Nelson Mandela’s character from November 1994. Richard Stengel collaborated with Mandela on his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom.


Nelson Mandela loves newspapers. He reads them slowly, studying each article, turning the page with unhurried precision. On Robben Island, newspapers were denied him and he still savours them. For most of our flight down to Natal, Mandela was absorbed in the weekend Johannesburg Star. I sat across from him in a cramped and aged four-seat propeller plane. It was April of 1993, and I had been in South Africa for the previous five months working with him on his autobiography.

When we were 20 minutes from the airport, Mandela leaned over and tapped me on the knee. I looked up, and he motioned for me to peer out of the porthole. What I saw alarmed me: the propeller was not turning. ‘Oh Richard,’ he said in a matter- of-fact tone, as if he was asking me to pass him the sports section, ‘would you please tell the pilot that the propeller appears to have stopped working?’

As I was making my way to the cockpit, I met the co-pilot who was on his way to inform us that the airport had been alerted to the situation, that there would be fire- engines and emergency vehicles along the runway when we arrived, but that he did not anticipate a problem as the plane could land with a single engine.

The sight of the crippled propeller only stoked my anxiety, and instead of reading or looking out the window, I gazed at the reassuring face of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela: he appeared as unconcerned as a commuter whose morning train to the office was a few minutes late. His face and manner calmed me. He returned to his newspaper.

Fifteen minutes later the pilot, amidst a sea of fire-engines and a cacophony of sirens, landed the plane without incident. Throughout our descent, Mandela’s face remained a mask of unconcern. Half an hour later, in the airport, as he was shaking hands with local dignitaries, he leaned over and whispered to me, ‘Man, you know I was scared up there.’

[Alt-Text]


I spent most of last year in South Africa meeting Mandela almost daily, either at his neat and formal office at ANC headquarters, or at his home in the Johannesburg suburb of Houghton. Like everyone, I knew the public Mandela, the smiling grandfather, the generous emancipator, the stern leader. The incident on the plane was one of the few times that I had glimpsed something other than his public face; it was then that I discovered that the proud and graceful persona Mandela has crafted for himself is virtually without cracks; the man and the mask are one.

He invented himself under the most trying of circumstances. On several occasions, Mandela told me of times in prison when he was frightened, when he feared being assaulted, but put on a mask of bravado or indifference to fool the authorities and bolster his colleagues. Eddie Daniels, a prisoner who was in the cell across from Mandela on Robben Island, says he used to take heart just from watching Mandela walk upright and proud across the prison courtyard.

The lesson is that courage is not the absence of fear, but the concealing of it.

But Mandela’s persona was also inherited. From the moment I began working with Mandela, some of his colleagues warned me not to forget that he is the son of a chief, that he is from a royal Xhosa family and that he can be regal and imperious. I discounted this advice, but the more time I spent with him, the more I sensed that his confidence, his sense of self-esteem and entitlement, his dislike of over-familiarity, and his concern with dignity were evidence of that upbringing. Since he was a small boy in the Transkei, Nelson Mandela was treated as someone special, both because of his natural air of leadership and his birth in a royal house. When, as a young man in Johannesburg, he confronted a pervasively racist society, that special treatment gave him enough pride not to let oppression make him feel inferi- or and submissive, as it did with so many blacks. Instead, it made him angry and combative.

Even today, what irks him more than anything else is an insult to his dignity. He bristled in telling me the story of how, after his own release, a certain tribal king refused to shake his hand, but took the hand of the then President de Klerk. He once became testy with me when I handed him a gift — a new tie — in front of his staff. The gift should have been conveyed to him through the proper channels.

Mandela’s radiant, beatific smile conveys a genuine warmth, but also hides a man who knows the power of his image as the father of a new South Africa. At a luncheon or banquet, Mandela will always make a point of shaking hands with the bus-boys and kitchen staff, showing them the same courtesy as a diplomat or dignitary, but he does not know the names of his own bodyguards. He is most easily kind with strangers and acquaintances, and can often be cold with those closest to him. His highest praise of another man is that he is a ‘humble chap’, and he does his best to appear humble himself, but it is his least convincing role.

Mandela never tires of reaffirming that the ANC is a collective; the word ‘we’ often comes more naturally to his lips than ‘I’. When I questioned him about his individual role in certain events, he would often chide me for what he regarded as my typically American effort to personalise events. But when I asked about the role of the organisation or his colleagues in certain initiatives, he would revert to the first person singular: ‘No, that was something I myself did.’

He is attracted to people of wealth and fame. He was, for example, greatly taken with Elizabeth Taylor, whom he first met at an awards ceremony in Spain. Ten years before, he had been prisoner number 466/64 watching her seduce Richard Burton in Cleopatra on a makeshift screen on Robben Island. He can even mock his own relations with the rich and famous. At the end of one of our sessions he remarked with a rueful smile, ‘I am having lunch today with the third richest family in South Africa; I will not starve.’

Someone once said that Mandela was a mixture of African aristocracy and British nobility, and it is true that he is a closet anglophile. He was educated by British missionaries, and was inculcated with the belief that the best ideas were English ideas, and that the model of a gentleman was an Englishman. Despite his dislike of British colonialism, he emulates British style, from his suits to his language, to his manners. To him, the British audience is more important than either the American or European. He once mentioned that he particularly enjoyed his meetings with John Major, as the two of them spent most of their time discussing cricket. Mandela can appear naive on certain subjects, such as the media — areas that changed fundamentally while he was behind bars. When he first came out of prison, he thought the furry sound-booms carried by television crews were a newfangled South African police weapon. But when it comes to political strategy, his mind works with a subtlety and power that can be dazzling. To hear him discuss non-violent protest as a tactic versus a moral principle is like listening to a great violinist improvising a cadenza. Mandela is often lonely, not for lack of company, but of intimacy. He has many friends, thousands of acquaintances and millions of admirers, but there are few people, if any, with whom he can relax. I interviewed a number of his colleagues with whom he spent decades in prison, and while they loved and respected him, they confessed that they did not feel as though they really knew him. The occasional aloofness that characterised him before he went to prison hardened during those years: he could not afford to let the authorities see the slightest weakness.

It was prison that formed the Nelson Mandela we see today. Prison made him a pragmatist: merely to survive one had to compromise. In order to create a barrier against the authorities, he also built a wall around himself that excluded almost everyone else.

Mandela is a preternaturally early riser, and likes to start his day with a walk. When I was with him in the Transkei, I would meet him at 5.30 a.m., at his home, for meandering three-hour constitutionals in the countryside. Accompanied by his bodyguards, he would walk from village to village, sometimes waking people up, many of whom — to Mandela’s great amusement — did not know who he was.
On the morning of 10 April 1993, after one such walk, Mandela and I sat down in the study of his country house to begin a taped interview. We had talked for only a few minutes when his housekeeper informed him that 30 members of the East London rugby team had encamped in his driveway and were waiting to say hello. In his blue track-suit and white socks (he had already removed his shoes), Nelson Mandela rose stiffly and automatically, and walked outside.

Mandela had shaken 15 hands, with a smile and personal word for each man, when his housekeeper informed him of an emergency telephone call. Mandela returned to his study where he was told by an aide that Chris Hani, the fiery former leader of the ANC’s military wing, the second most popular man in the country after Mandela himself (and one of the old man’s many surrogate sons in the organisation), had been assassinated in Johannesburg by a white extremist. Mandela put down the phone and looked off into the distance, his face drawn and concerned. At that moment, many South Africans believed that Hani’s death could trigger the end of the negotiations with the government and the beginning of an apocalyptic civil war between white and black. Mandela then stood up, apologised to me for the interruption and returned to the driveway, where he put on his smiling mask and shook the remaining 15 hands of a grateful East London rugby squad.

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Show comments
  • Ben Cobley

    A blogpost on Long Walk to Freedom here (with extensive quotage from the man himself): http://afreeleftblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/nelson-mandelas-long-walk-to-freedom.html

  • The_greyhound

    This touching article does scant justice to the way Mandela built up South Africa as a major player in the world arms market. Too much should not be made of the bribery he, his family and his party were involved in – such things are normal in third world one-party states.

  • MirthaTidville

    I grew up there in the days of apartheid.and know what it was like. The hatred between black and white you could cut with a knife.Most expected civil war when De Klerk (as braver man as Mandela) handed power to Black Majority Rule. The fact it didnt happen was down to Mandela and he alone. You could call him a terrorist in his younger days,true, but that was borne out of circumstances, Whatever his faults his `Rainbow Nation` belief saved countless lives and for that he needs to be remembered,
    As to the future, every white who can claim British or Irish ancestry (even 3 generations before) have already obtained their EU passports and the steady northward stream will accelerate. They all have a right to live and work here!!

    Zuma is a bigoted clown who couldn`t hold two sheets of paper together , now Madiba is dead, all bets are off. Together with much grief, there will be much anxiety and fear for those who are left, of all rainbow colours..Sad to say. But yes Mandela was one of the greats for all his many faults

    • trotters1957

      Thanks for that, some sanity amongst these buffoons.

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        It is safe to assume that you define ‘Buffoon(s)’ as ‘a person or persons who does/do not agree entirely with my point of view’.

        • trotters1957

          You fit that buffoon hat so well.

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            But at least I am literate.

    • Kennybhoy

      Well said.

  • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Swanky

    ‘Sometimes waking people up’… who wondered why they could not have continued sleeping, as they needed to. Why is it that ordinary people have to have other people’s greatness thrust upon them?

  • http://wrinkledweasel-resurgam.blogspot.co.uk/ wrinkledweasel

    There is something disquieting about the usual suspects; The Guardian, The BBC and The Independent, publishing fulsome eulogies to a retired terrorist whilst not allowing anything that is not a fulsome eulogy on its comments platforms.

    Freedom of speech, it seems, is alright, as long as you agree with the Left.

    As for Mrs Thatcher, I can vividly recall the obscene bile vented upon her death, when no such censorship was applied.

    • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Swanky

      Seconded.

    • Tom Tom

      True.

    • Andy

      Quite so.

    • trotters1957

      Terrorist?
      I suppose he should just have asked Fascists and White supremacists for the vote. Do you think that would have worked?

      • http://wrinkledweasel-resurgam.blogspot.co.uk/ wrinkledweasel

        Our transition to universal suffrage and equality has been relatively bloodless, with a few exceptions. On the whole, it was conducted through a campaign of civil disobedience by some brave souls. Then, the “supremacists” were landowners and aristocracy. Our transition has been a long walk, but a peaceful walk, to freedom.

        Catholics are no longer persecuted, but we still burn an effigy of Guy Fawkes every year because he was a terrorist and at the time, not regarded generally as a hero.

        In our own country, Mr McGuiness and Mr Adams are now “respectable” politicians, but they are still retired terrorists. Does everyone regard them as “the greatest men who ever lived”?

        Its very easy to re-write history to suit the mores and social consensus of the times and nobody comes out of South Africa’s story smelling of roses, but factually, and historically, Mandela was a self-confessed terrorist and the list of atrocities he pleaded guilty to are not inconsiderable. People, innocent people, died at his direction.

        Now, you can say the end justifies the means. Are you saying that? Is he really a hero or simply a symbol of transition? And what of that transition? Is South Africa a model of democracy and good health?

        It will take a few more centuries for SA to achieve the level of social evolution we enjoy, and Nelson Mandela will be an important marker in its history, but not the character that our silly left-wing press are currently slavering over.

        • ArchiePonsonby

          Spot on!

          • trotters1957

            Do you have to end every comment with an exclamation mark!

        • trotters1957

          Complacent and patronising.
          We aren’t talking about Britain, we are talking about a post colonial fascist state which didn’t baulk at shooting and torturing it’s own people. With a ruling elite which had grabbed all the land and mines for itself. The native population were little more than slaves, housed in their own concentration camps.
          That it was a relatively bloodless revolution is almost entirely down to Mandela.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Sounds like the Soviet Union and a dozen other socialist “paradises”. I hope you were as vociferous in your condemnation of those states too and not taking money from the Soviet Union to undermine the constitution, democracy and values of your own country like some of your comrades.

            • trotters1957

              How many straw men can you put in one comment.
              We are discussing, I use the word loosely with this crowd of nutjobs, South Africa, post imperialism.
              The Soviet Union was a totalitarian state, without Mandela South Africa could easily have descended into totalitarianism.
              That it is a functioning democracy is a miracle given the legacy of over a century of colonial rule.
              Your pathetic attempt to paint me as some kind of communist shows you have no argument but bluster.

              • Colonel Mustard

                I’m not attempting to paint you as some communist, comrade. Your own comments over the history of this site do that well enough. The Soviet Union was first and foremost a socialist state that many Labour supporters in this country admired, wanted to imitate, spied for and took money from.

                And on a point of historical fact many countries with a legacy of far longer colonial rule than South Africa are much better functioning democracies. Which just goes to show your ignorance and bigotry.

                • trotters1957

                  Pathetic, bluster, whataboutery, straw men, lefte, commie.
                  Nothing to say.
                  Go back to your gardening old man and leave the 21st century to people who want to live in it, not wallow in past colonial glories.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  You might wish to consider that the Soviet Union was very much involved in colonizing South Africa, and all the frontline states. They provided the cash and weapons, the Cubans provided blood, and you fellow travelers provided the useful idiocy. So best you leave out the “past colonial glories” portion of your “argument”. The colonialism discussion remained relevant all the way through here, and not in a way that supports your “argument” .

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Plenty to say. I live in it too and your “comment” is just ugly hate speech against the aged which shows what a nasty hypocrite you are. Besides I’m not much of a gardener anyway.

              • Kennybhoy

                Well answered.

      • Hilary

        There is a peaceful way to achieve peace.

        • trotters1957

          These were Neo-Nazis. You couldn’t negotiate with them in the 1960’s.
          Mandela was lucky he wasn’t hung.

          • Curnonsky

            In any other African country he would have been.

          • whs1954

            The apartheid government and the National Party were many things, but they were not neo-Nazis. Political ideologies become meaningless if you just bandy them round as insults.

          • jpt4w

            He would have been had he committed his crimes in a black ruled African country…

  • Daniel Maris

    A great man who made his country a better place than it would otherwise be. But I think we could have done without the sugar coating fairy tale stuff. It is still touch and go in that society.

    One point as well – South Africa is different from other parts of the continent in that the white Europeans got there – well the Cape Town area – before the black Zulus coming from the north.

    • Radford_NG

      Odd that;given that it took one tribe 50,000 years to leave what is now Djibouti,circle around,become the Dutch and to arrive at The Cape : while it took the`Zulus` the same amount of time to cross the Limpopo.

  • Pootles

    Necklaces…

    • Harold Angryperson
      • Andy

        Yes poor Stompie Moeketsi. RIP.

    • Augustus

      “Necklaces…”

      “The ‘defendant’ is charged with the crime of collaborating with ‘the system’ and with the police. The comrades, acting as prosecutor, judge, and jury, do not worry about such legal niceties as proof and the rights of the accused. The trial is short and to the point. The verdict is foreordained: guilty. As is the sentence: death by necklace.

      The sentence is carried out swiftly. As the victim sobs and pleads for mercy, his hands are tied behind his back with barbed wire. A rubber tire is placed around his neck, and another is placed around his legs. The comrades force the condemned man to drink some petrol, and the rest is poured over the victim and the tires. Then, one of the comrades lights a match. Engulfed in flames, the victim falls to the ground and writhes in agonizing pain. The rubber tires ensure a very hot fire, and the melting rubber eats into his flesh. Amidst his cries, the comrades gather around and taunt him with a callousness that defies human understanding. Finally, after 20 minutes of intense suffering and pain, death mercifully ends the victim’s horrible agony.”

  • Robert Taggart

    Life goes on – the ‘messiah’ has not died – there has never been one !
    The most annoying aspect of this ‘departure’ ? – as per Angryperson.
    There be no reasonable excuse to disrupt peoples viewing in order to inform them of ‘breaking news’ on another channel – this would be our stance when ‘judgement day’ arrives for Bessy too.
    Guessing those imbecilic editors at Auntie Beebs hail from North Lundun ? are probably Homosexual ?? and almost certainly Lefty ???!

    • Tom Tom

      Noone will be viewing if they have no electricity or have been evacuated because of flooding. Which country is it where these floods occurred ? Darkest Essex and Suffolk ?

  • anyfool

    If I was an expatriate in South Africa I would be on my way to the airport now, the last semblance of civil law will be torn down, confiscation of white assets will begin in earnest, the murders of white farmers will ramp up a gear, it is almost 4000 now, the next will be business then private properties.
    These are the immigrants we want not the ones who have murdered them, guess who will get priority.
    The country is one election away from anarchy.

    • Harold Angryperson

      Like this gentleman:

      https://news.naij.com/35418.html

      Apologies for having to link to a Kenyan website, but his story has mysteriously disappeared from all the UK news websites, including this one…

      • ArchiePonsonby

        As I keep saying, the lunatics are running the asylum…………literally!

    • Greybeard Chieftain

      WHITE IS RIGHT. Get all those black foreigners out of South Africa! They don’t belong there!

      • anyfool

        I think you missed the expatriate bit, white people in the whole of Africa are there on notice, they are not classed as citizens in the minds of most indigenous people and I am of a similar mind, being born in a stable does not make you a horse..
        Your snide comment is noted for its total commitment to the practice of all socialists, clouding the comment with what you want it to mean, pathetic.
        I do not give a fig if anyone thinks I am racist or whatever, but unlike people like you I would not work on the assumption that they are not intelligent enough to speak for themselves, that is what is really racist, now go away.

        • Tom Tom

          Lenin is still considered “a great man” to some, no doubt Breivik will be in time or Gerry Adams or …..

      • Tom Tom

        Which tribes do you think were native to the Cape ?

        • Greybeard Chieftain

          My apologies. You’re entirely right. White communities and natives have resided in Australia, New Zealand, North America and Africa for thousands of years. Colored people came and corrupted those shining bastions of democracy, virtue and prosperity with their profligate criminality and disdain for decency. The distrubing thing is, if you didn’t already know I was being overly sarcastic, you’d probably respond with something like, ‘You’re totally right! Empire was the best thing to happen to the world despite the fact my ancestors probably didn’t even have the vote until the late 19th century!’

          • Zeus

            There have been white people in ZA since 1632. Most whites in ZA now have no right to a EU passport as their parents or grandparents where all South African.

      • Zeus

        There are between 2-4 million Black foreigners in ZA (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/4416820.stm). Lots of Zimbo’s, Nigerians etc.

    • Austin Barry

      Perhaps Mandela’s greatest gift was not to his country, but to assuage international white liberal guilt – the same constituency which is now not really bothered by South Africa’s steady descent into a dystopian ‘Rainbow Nation’ of murder and rape.

      • anyfool

        Yes you are right about the guilt trip, but these sad deluded fools are really into flagellation, they will flog us into an early grave to satisfy their morbid guilt.
        South Africa is a nightmare that is happening now and it is set to dive off the cliff. it is now about 23 whites a day murdered of which 95% are black on white, this will escalate as the more rabid ANC take power.
        23 a day whites and in England they are still talking about that Lawrence youngster twenty years ago, his parents are now very well off, the dead whites families are lucky to get out alive.

        • Tom Tom

          Nothing to do with White liberal guilt but much to do with creation of an icon much like Goebbels created one around Ernst vom Rath in 1938 or Stalin around Kirov in 1934. The agenda is the same, to create an alibi for persecution of another group of “enemies” against “the perfect one”.

          It is because the Media needs visual iconography to create the spell and silence opposition

          • trotters1957

            I’ll ask you the same question as above.
            Did you go to South Africa under Apartheid?
            A terrible, scary, violent country, it’s not perfect now but it is better.

            • crosscop

              “Ali Omar Mohamed fled Somalia’s civil war two years ago to seek a better life in South Africa. Now after being robbed at gunpoint and seeing scores of his countrymen murdered in xenophobic violence, he’s ready to leave.

              Mohammed, a 21-year-old shopkeeper, is part of a growing tide of immigrants who say they prefer returning to a war zone rather than face the hatred and jealousy they are subject to in South Africa where they’re called “the enemy.”

              http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-21/somalis-fear-south-african-violence-more-than-war-at-home.html

              Better?

              • trotters1957

                So one anecdote proves your point?
                Did you go to Apartheid South Africa? Thought not.

      • Tom Tom

        You mean the international Communist front like Joe Slovo and Rusty Bernstein and other East Europeans actively working with the MfS from East Berlin ?

    • trotters1957

      Did you go to South Africa under Apartheid?
      That was a truly scary place to visit.

      • http://wrinkledweasel-resurgam.blogspot.co.uk/ wrinkledweasel

        But not as scary as it is now. I know someone who was a white farmer in Zimbabwe and she considers SA to be a lot more scary. There are plenty of places where the lone whites don’t leave their secure, gated communities, or take taxis, or leave home at night. When asked whether they felt more safe in Zimbabwe or South Africa, I was told, “Zimbabwe”.

        • trotters1957

          Rubbish.
          Joberg is rough but no more rough than any US state.
          The rest of the country is fantastic.
          So you haven’t been, thought not.

  • victor67

    So Cameron will fly the Union flag at half mast while many Tories past and present regarded him as a Communist and a Terrorist.

    • Harold Angryperson

      Whilst in prison even Amnesty International wouldn’t support his case because of the latter.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Of all the comments you could make you choose to use this man’s death as an opportunity to deliver another attack against the Tories. However many Tories might have regarded him they won’t be holding street parties to celebrate his death or singing “Ding dong the witch is dead”.

      • dalai guevara

        Not necessary an entirely fatuous one, though. Having said that, I cannot stop wondering what Mrs Browns viewing figures or some machete nonsense has got to do with the above. Cynical childishness, given that the greatest African of this and the last century just passed away.

        • Radford_NG

          I was listerning to `Hindu ideas on Creation`[Radio 4]when it was taken off the air 10 minutes before the News.

          Then `The Islamic Golden Age`[Radio 3] was taken off the air.

      • HookesLaw

        Mr Mustard ‘this man’s death’ merely gives this website an opportunity host the usual ignorance and bigotry of the intellectually corrupt nutjobs. As per usual.
        If Father Christmas accompanied by Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary were to materialise tomorrow and helicopter £20 notes over the populous the nutjobs would complain that it was all Cameron’s fault that the denominations were too high.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Oh belt up.

    • trotters1957

      Presumably you would have asked the white supremacists nicely for the vote?
      When they hung you, what would you have done then?

      • ArchiePonsonby

        The word is “hanged” Now fuck off!

        • Icebow

          I almost think it might an idea to reinstate apartheid just to annoy the BBC-Guardian complex. The Today programme this morning was almost unendurable.

          • trotters1957

            Nice idea, switch it off then.

            • Icebow

              WTF, you egg? Begone, sirrah!

          • Kennybhoy

            LOL

        • trotters1957

          No doubt you would have hung him.

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            I think the word you are striving for is ‘hanged’.

            • trotters1957

              No, I’m a bit too subtle for you. I said hung and meant hung.
              Bit slow aren’t you.

              • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                Better than being semi-literate.

    • Robert Taggart

      You forget – Cameo = the heir ot Bliar !
      What else would you expect ?

    • Nicholas chuzzlewit

      A wonderful piece of leftist hypocrisy. Well done you! I well remember the respectful behaviour of the left following the death of Margaret Thatcher with their street parties, dancing and obscene language. Your hypocrite of the year award is in the post.

      • trotters1957

        You really are a funny bunch on here, it’s so easy to wind you up.
        Lets debate, the idea that Nigel Farage is a great man or not.
        Can Nelson Mandela come close to the achievements of this greatest ever Englishman?

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          Good luck with finding somebody as idiotic as yourself.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Even funnier when ageist morons like you turn up and spout bilge.

  • Harold Angryperson

    NOTE TO BBC – the not-unexpected death of a long-retired statesman or stateswoman is NOT sufficient reason to disrupt scheduled programming in a digital, multi-channel media.

    • HookesLaw

      Oh grow up. Such misery and bigotry becomes tiresome. At least its spared us Question Time.

      Mandela has had a good innings. I’m sorry he is dead.
      He was an important figure. South Africa need to move on however. They have an opportunity to become a rich and important and influential country. And to do so they also all need to grow up and get along. I suspect they will but it will take time and I am not too sentimental about it.

      Its a pity but inevitable that Mandela’s death will provide various opportunities for various BBC left wing luvvies and the odious Huw Edwards to pontificate.
      But at the end of the day his walk out of prison and into freedom was one of the most remarkable episodes in recent times.

      When one looks at the death destruction stupidity and misery that ignorance and bigotry brings in the rest of the world its also de Klerk and his wisdom that we should remember at this time as well.

      The South African experience shows that democracy – even an imperfect one – is a precursor to progress and sanity.

      • Tom Tom

        Will he be stuffed and put on display like good Communist icons Mao and Lenin and Stalin and Ho Chi Minh ?

      • Andy

        ‘When one looks at the death destruction stupidity and misery that ignorance and bigotry brings. . .’ You mean like that evil f*ckwit Mugabe has brought to Zimbabwe ? Yet another great triumph of Socialism.

        • Kennybhoy

          Aye but which neighbouring state pushed Rhodesia under the bus?

      • Kennybhoy

        Well said.

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