A tribute to the great and much lamented freedom fighter, Nelson Rohilalal Mandela, written by our South African comrade Khwezie Kadalie, who played an active role in the armed struggle to overthrow Apartheid.
The dichotomy between overblown rhetoric about civil, political, economic, social and human rights, on the one hand, and the omnipresent income inequalities and the conditions of squalor which blight the lives of millions of black South Africans, on the other hand, is all too obvious. The sluggish response to the police massacre of 34 miners at Marikana was a brutal reminder of the gulf dividing the ANC leadership and the poorer sections of the population.
The glaring contrast in the lives of those who tweet on the best technology and those who do not have sufficient food to eat hardly needs pointing out. Wealth is still dominated by the white minority. According to a 2007 survey, white South Africans earn seven times as much as their black counterparts. A white person born in 2009 can expect to live to the age of 71, as against the 48 years that a black person can expect. It is a shameful statistic, but true, that inequality of income presently is worse than even during the decades of apartheid, with the second-worst Gini coefficient (a measure of inequality) among 136 countries.
The black masses of South Africa have achieved political freedom – doubtless an historic advance. They have, however, yet to achieve economic freedom. The power base of monopoly capital, local and foreign, as well as white economic privilege, is intact.
Lack of economic justice is a festering sore and a source of great frustration, anger and sheer hate bubbling just beneath the surface, without addressing which there will be no peace in South Africa. The next phase of the liberation struggle in South Africa is bound to tackle this question and usher in changes which will not be to the liking of the privileged minority.
Amidst the media frenzy following the death of Mandela, with one-sided saturation reporting and wall-to-wall coverage emphasising Mandela’s powers of reconciliation, the following thoughtful comment furnished a healthy antidote to the sickening extravaganza aimed at rewriting the history of the South African liberation struggle with the sole purpose of influencing the future course of its development to the advantage of imperialism and the local elites alike:
” As Mandela led South Africa through the peaceful transition to a ‘rainbow nation’ at the 1994 election, white support for him became near-universal, particularly among the young. But there is a negative side to this near-adulation: many still seem to think that after his journey from a prison cell to the presidency, no further change is required, and that the whites’ overwhelming economic privilege can be maintained.
“Whites often appeared to cling to Madiba, Mandela’s clan name as if to banish the thought of what might happen when he was gone. They are probably right to fear that without his forgiving presence, chillier winds may blow around them.
“South Africa has lost the greatest figure in its history, but Mandela’s death merely marks the end of the first phase in the country’s revolution. There is much change yet to come, and little of it will be palatable to those who imagine things can stay the same” (Raymond Whitaker, ‘Chillier winds may blow through the nation’, The Independent, 6 December 2013).
Harpal Brar makes some insightful remarks while closes a meeting to celebrate the 120th anniversary of Mao Zedong’s Birth. He notes that despite the towering achievements of Mao, and the CPC and the huge advances in literacy, life expectancy, economic and cultural standing, made since the revolution by the masses of the Chinese people, the overwhelming narrative in the western imperialist world is that Mao, like Stalin, we are told, was a monster.
This is not an accurate reflection of the facts, as shown by Utsa Patnaik’s excellent work, previously reproduced in Lalkar.
We note that the same (now Prime Minister) David Cameron, who Lauds Nelson Mandela to the skies after his death, as a young conservative actively campaigned for the (living, political prisoner) Mandela’s death by hanging – along with all other ANC terrorists – who, he declared, unlike their masters among the ‘civilised’ apartheid regime, ‘are Butchers’.
Mandela is being rehabilitated by the bourgeoisie, to console the toiling masses of Africa and the world, but his revolutionary essence, his anti-imperialist history, his advocacy of the armed struggle against apartheid and imperialism, his communist understanding, sympathies, membership and leadership – all this is being air-brushed out of history.
This is simply because the capitalist class currently hold the purse strings, and pay the most mercenary historians handsomely for painting their despotism in pretty colours, while defaming all liberation struggles of the oppressed.
“History has been turned into a commodity, and the best paid historiography is that best falsified to serve the interests of the bourgeoisie.” History is for sale; and if you are planning the ultimate theft, robbery of the masses of humanity of their collective productive wealth, you CAN pay to have it re-written.
After three excellent talks in Bristol, Birmingham and Leeds, comrade Kadalie will speak in London this Saturday on his life struggle in the anti-apartheid struggle, his hopes and vision for Africa in the 21st century.
:: About Comrade Khwezi ::
Khwezi Kadalie was a fighter in the anti-Apartheid struggle in South Africa and is a lifelong communist and marxist-leninist revolutionary.
His grandfather organised the first all-black trade union in South Africa (the Commercial and Industrial Workers Union of Africa). A qualified typesetter and printer, Khwesi was arrested by the Apartheid secret police shortly after the 1976 Soweto uprising. He was tortured for four months.
After prison, Khwezi worked for the ANC in the diplomatic service and the information department in Germany and Britain. After the unbanning of the ANC and other organisations he served the movement in different capacities and between 2000 and 2005 he worked in the Department of Trade and Industry in a senior position.
Since 2006, together with other comrades, he has built the Marxist Workers School in South Africa. Today he works as a journalist for communist and working-class newspapers and magazines around the world.
Khwezi’s talk will touch on the important lessons he draws from his time in the movement and his feelings about the present fight against the recolonisation of Africa.
Imperialism steps up its moves to recolonise Africa (Proletarian, December 2011)
US and European interference in African affairs assuredly did not begin with the assassination of Libya, but that crime marks the onset of a renewed and most desperate effort to turn the clock back to the days of the most brazen colonialist meddling. http://www.cpgb-ml.org/index.php?secName=proletarian&subName=display&art=773
Communists and the struggle against imperialism (Proletarian, December 2011)
With imperialism convulsed with crisis and hurtling towards new and ever more dangerous wars of aggression, the work of reuniting and reinvigorating the entire international communist movement on a principled and revolutionary basis is one which will brook no further delay. http://www.cpgb-ml.org/index.php?secName=proletarian&subName=display&art=778
Ivory Coast: No recolonisation of Africa! (Lalkar, May 2011)
The violent overthrow of Ivory Coast’s government by French imperialism, in cahoots with northern rebel militia and with the hypocritical blessing of the UN, signals not the end but the beginning of yet another round of cruel civil strife inflicted on the Ivorian people by imperialism. http://lalkar.org/issues/contents/may2011/ivorycoast.html
South Africa: the fight for equality continues (Lalkar, May 2010)
The struggle against Apartheid was an important step along the road to emancipation for South Africa’s poor majority, but this does not mean that all those who fought against Apartheid want to carry on to a socialist revolution. Black skin does not, any more than white skin, come with a guarantee of common sense, social conscience or saintliness attached. http://lalkar.org/issues/contents/may2010/southafrica.html
Ethinic cleansing in Nato’s ‘new’ Libya (Proletarian, December 2011)
More than 100 militia brigades from Misrata have been operating outside of any official military and civilian command since Tripoli fell in August. Members of these militias have engaged in torture, pursued suspected enemies far and wide, detained them and shot them in detention. They have stated that the entire displaced population of one town, Tawergha, who are largely descendants of African slaves, cannot return home. http://www.cpgb-ml.org/index.php?secName=proletarian&subName=display&art=774
Africans need true independence not imperialist ‘charity’ (Proletarian, August 2005)
The US and European monopoly capitalists are shedding crocodile tears over the havoc they have wrought in their latest scramble for Africa, but the African people will find that charity is no substitute for revolutionary struggle to attain true independence and freedom. http://www.cpgb-ml.org/index.php?secName=proletarian&subName=display&art=118
After the xenophobic violence South Africa will never be the same again (Lalkar, July 2008)
The 11th of March 2008 will go down in the history of our country as the day of national shame. It is the day a pogrom against foreign workers started in Alexandra and then spread from township to township, squatter camp to squatter camp, and from one town to the next. http://lalkar.org/issues/contents/jul2008/safrica.php
Chimurenga! The liberation struggle in Zimbabwe (Proletarian, August 2005)
“The struggle in Zimbabwe and indeed in southern Africa as a whole has never been against the white man per se. It is not a struggle for exclusive African rights. On the contrary, our struggle is against an unjust system — a system of exploitation, oppression and racial discrimination. It is a struggle for human equality and dignity. The struggle, as we see it, is fundamentally between the exploiting class and the exploited class.” — Robert Mugabe http://www.cpgb-ml.org/index.php?secName=proletarian&subName=display&art=111
:: WATCH VIDEOS ABOUT AFRICA AND IMPERIALISM ::
Flowers and famine in Ethiopia
Comrade Mohammad Hassan of the PTB (Belgian Workers’ Party) delivers a powerful speech condemning the puppet regime of Ethiopia for selling his country to imperialism, and engineering a famine with its pro-imperialist policy and at the behest of US/British imperialism. http://youtu.be/0TJZP0p5NcM
Famine in the midst of plenty: the truth about the world food crisis
Comrade Ella Rule explains that although enough food is produced globally to make every person on the planet FAT, the inequality of distribution built into capitalism means that vast amounts are wasted, millions are overfed and obese in the West, while hundreds of millions starve in the rest of the world. These problems can be fixed, but not by capitalism.
China’s meaning to African freedom fighters
Comrade Kojo Gotfreid, former Ghanian liberation fighter and ambassador to China, recounts meeting Mao and the inspiration drawn by African anti-colonial liberation fighters from China’s successful liberation struggle and building of a bright new socialist future. http://youtu.be/RJhlWzFGcS8
Guinea Bissau revolutionary comrade on Libya’s role in Africa
Comrade Teodora Ignacia Gomez of the PAIGC, the party that liberated Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde, outlines the supportive relationship that Colonel Gaddafi’s Libya had fostered both with her country and other African nations. Libya had tried to bring about sustainable infrastructural and agricultural development in Guinea Bissau, she tells us, both through the African Bank and through independently granted aid. http://youtu.be/xcBTxFy0ql8
Gaddafi tribute in London
In the 42 years of his leadership, the Libyan people rose from being literally the poorest on earth, to the wealthiest and most egalitarian in Africa. Contrary to the vile assertions of the western media, Colonel Gaddafi faced his executioners, vile mercenaries and unthinking tools of Nato imperialism, as the proud defender of independent and free Libya. He died a hero’s death in battle, facing his enemies with steely resolve, and refusing to desert his post, his country or his people at their hour of greatest need. http://youtu.be/t8AhEiTQTJs
Anastancia Ndhlovu, Zimbabwe’s youngest MP, speaks to a British correspondent about Zimbabwe at the 17th World Festival of Youth and Students in Pretoria, South Africa. She addresses many issues including Robert Mugabe’s ongoing leadership, the MDC’s role in coalition government, British and US sanctions and Chinese economic involvement in the country.
Africa: black nationalism, capitalism or socialism?
Comrade Ajamu of the A-APRP talks about his ideological development from black nationalism to socialism, and discusses, in particular, the experience of the African national liberation struggles. With reference to the experiences of Ghana, Nkhrumah, Sekou Toure, and others, he underlines the lesson that capitalism has failed Africa.