South Africa – The death of Nelson Mandela, the drama and deceitful acts by some members of the Mandela family and the government, strung across the media over the past month shows the insolence of a legacy left behind. Sometimes we need a gentle reminder of history and how apartheid and the Mandela legacy began. Perhaps going back in time can help this country heal its wounds and move forward into a brighter future.
Often, people judge apartheid in the most negative light and condemn the dreaded system for the failures of South African society. People remember the struggle for freedom and embrace Nelson Mandela for his bravery. Yet sooner than later, we must learn to leave the past behind and move forward into a democratic legacy – with lessons learned.
While under the leadership of Jannie Smuts, segregation between different races existed, a method practiced worldwide. In general, Smuts portrayed a patronizing view of the different races and was not alone in these views. A close confident of Gandhi would consider this issue. During March 1908, Gandhi wrote, “We believe as much in the purity of race as we think they do. We believe also that the white race in South Africa should be the predominating race.“
Admittedly, segregation existed under his rule, and yet it was not uncommon in the rural and farming communities, to see different colored children schooling or playing together. The young ones did not allow color to restrict their free spirits.
During his rule, there existed the unsavory elements under the current system who wanted more and during 1948 general elections, the National party gained control, and Jannie Smuts was ousted. The new governing body, the National Party of South Africa introduced apartheid to the South Africa system. Apartheid only began festering its nastiness from 1948 until the collapse in 1994.
We seem to forget that it was not only the ANC and other banned political parties that protested against the apartheid system. From the beginning of the apartheid era, the opposition parties ‘The United Party” and the ‘Democratic Party’ were determined contestants in all the following elections. It was their policy to allow all South Africans freedom and dignity.
The current ruling party of South Africa, the ANC, claims the victory for ending the apartheid system. We seem to forget that the opposition parties during that time also fought to destroy apartheid.
Today in South Africa we remain a democratic country, but still, a third world country with many lessons to be learned. We have under the ANC government gained little and lost a lot. Every time a problem arises, the blame after all these years is called apartheid. The hatred and racist element in the nation is strong and a clash of different cultures or xenophobia should not be forgotten.
It is the recognition and words of the late Nelson Mandela that stems peace into people’s hearts daily. The ruling government must remember the Mandela legacy and revert to becoming a trustworthy one and then, perhaps we will remember our lessons of the past.
The Nelson Mandela drama is a gentle reminder about the history of apartheid. It was not just one person that made all the difference. We will remember Mandela and his wisdom and always agree that he walked the first steps into freedom after 44 years of torture, not only for black people but also for all the people of South Africa. We need to unleash the shackles of the past and move into the future with dignity.
South Africa must move forward with the most valuable legacy from Nelson Mandela, education. We can look back at his term as president and remember how he loved the young ones, and often quoted how essential education was. His legacy is now been tarnished by all the drama and deceit surrounding his last days on earth.
We as a united country, should rise to support the furtherance of educating our people and we should not support the furtherance of keeping our people in the dark. We need a gentle reminder from history that can help all races move forward. Put plainly, we need to stop blaming apartheid for the mistakes of today and focus on moving forward.
Written by Laura Oneale