Tag Archives: ANC

Nelson Mandela: A Revolution of Human Decency

Nelson Mandela

EVEN AFTER the tide of events had vindicated Nelson Mandela, beginning with his 1990 release from a twenty-seven-year imprisonment and culminating in his attainment of the South African presidency, some of his Cold War detractors maintained the charge against him of Communism. In fact, the influence of the Comintern, either upon himself or on the black struggle in general, was the only charge that Mandela repudiated outright in the April 1964 Rivonia trial speech which to this day provides our most detailed first-person account of his political convictions. To the charges against him, concerning acts of sabotage and of violence, Nelson Mandela provided a thoroughgoing and qualified admission: Yes, he conceded, his actions appeared revolutionary from the perspective of the majority white population — but since the white man both feared and repressed democracy in South Africa, how could the assertion of a black person’s democratic rights be conceived by him otherwise?

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