People of colour: did Mandela really sell us out?

Here we go again: I’ve been hearing the statement ‘Madiba sold us out’, of late. But one would think it would pass over. To my understanding, it is because he did not reclaim the land that was colonized by the white people, amongst many forms of compensation, ‘in exchange for the end of Apartheid’.

However, I believe that the definition of Mandela selling us out is him accepting PW Botha’s offer to release him from prison in 1985, if the freedom fighter renounces violence aka the anti- Apartheid Struggle. Had he done that, all of what his friends such as Oliver Tambo did in exile, to campaign for a democratic South Africa, would have been worth nothing. But because he refused to settle for that, the fight for freedom was worth it.

You may ask the question: how is it worth it when there are still poor black people and wealthy whites? Let me remind you of something: We are free. Regardless of our race, we are free to rise from poverty and be anything we want to be. There is no longer Apartheid standing in the way. We are also free to go, live and study wherever we want to, without being harassed about passports. Those of us who study in big cities and away from home can live in residences made of diverse communities, where in the past black people would’ve been excluded and forced to live in townships far from the city. To get to university, we would have had to travel in segregated locomotives, with our side most likely being crowded. Not comfortable, is it?

But, within our race, there are owners of reserve banks, Investors, businessmen,-women and even members of elite. Think Tito Mboweni, Patrice Motsepe, Dr. Precious Moloi Motsepe amongst a plethora. This is all because they decided that they are the masters of their fate and the captains of their souls. They decided that they would not blame their circumstances or their past for what could have been their stagnasis. Above all this, some of them have charities to which they donate. Can you say the same for yourself?

The deepest root of the above is education. The only thing that can push the country forward, to a positive direction.

I suppose the counter-argument to this is, that many children still do not have access to education. That is true, and that is partly because we live in a world where the love of money rules the willingness to serve. It is also because of a large portion of South Africa allows that to happen. However, that blame should not be put on Nelson Mandela. This is because, during his presidency, his main emphasis and aim was education and investing in children and restoring a broken South Africa.

Yes, I am all for reparations and material compensation. That must happen, and it did. But, will it ever be enough to close the wounds created by the past atrocities? Will it ever wipe away the bitterness which may have been another kind of oppressor? If you believe that gaining mineral wealth by means of punitive justice will appease the deaths of Biko and Hani for Ubunt and Uhuru, you might as well be like the villain in Blood Diamond.

Nelson Mandela, along with his Rivonia Trial compatriots, believed that South Africa belongs to all who live in it. That ideal was one for which [they] were willing to die, if needs be. Fortunately, a number of them saw it come to life. That ideal was not about to change under the pressures of bitterness and revenge, because all that does not bring any good. If we want to build a nation and move forward, we need to embrace the values of peace and equality, for which many political prisoners fought and died for.

Everybody wants money and power; but who wants to serve? Very few people, and Mandela was one of them.

With that being said, let us stop putting blame (which is often misguided) on our freedom fighters, and focus on the challenges we need to face as the youth in post-Apartheid South Africa. Let’s treat our inherited freedom as responsibility to create the South Africa that we want.

It begins with you. #Alivewithpossibility


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