Richard Branson recently posted an article about Nelson Mandela’s book on Linked In.
I could not believe that someone as astute as Richard Branson would be taken in by the Mandela Myth, but perhaps he is looking to expand his business in South Africa. Political Correctness? Hypocrisy?
It seemed that my comment might be of interest to readers.
Here is my comment (it exceeded the number of words for a comment, the last 3 paragraphs did not appear in the Linked In version)
As someone who saw the effects of terrorism in both Rhodesia and South Africa at first hand including losing a parent to terrorism in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and being a victim of Mugabe’s brutal farm invasions, I am surprised that a man of your vision and experience is promoting the Mandela myth.
It is a frequently and conveniently overlooked fact that Mandela was convicted and imprisoned for acts of terrorism, not for opposing the South African government. If he had been convicted of the same crimes in the USA or Europe, he would almost certainly have been executed, or still be serving a life sentence.
It is a further fact that approximately double the number of violent deaths have occurred South Africa since Mandela was released from prison in 1992 than in the 44 years from 1948 to that date under the “old” South Africa. Which government was more benign?
I am not sure that the families of those 5000 or so mainly Zulu opponents of Mandela’s ANC who were brutally murdered, many by the burning tyre “necklace” method would agree with your assessment of Mandela.
Before accusing me of being a racist, white supremacist or worse, yes there were aspects of the South African government policies that with hindsight, appear horrendous. Yes the native population could have been treated better in many ways. Yes some white South Africans did terrible things to black South Africans.
However white South Africans did not reduce the indigenous population to a powerless minority through massive European immigration, introduction of diseases, alcohol or casual murder as happened in North America and Australia. South Africa did not practice slavery as did the USA.
It’s very easy to point fingers from the safety of a country in Europe that has not had to deal with the same issues or from a “conquered” country that dealt with them much more harshly, two centuries ago. It’s time that the world starts recognising the contribution white (and other immigrant) South Africans did make to the country and all its people and time to recognise Mandela for what he was.
The world did a huge disservice to all South Africans by imposing sanctions and boycotts, pressuring the country to release Mandela and hand over to a former terrorist group that is proving incapable of managing a sophisticated economy.
By the early 1990’s demographics were changing South Africa and would have continued to do so, allowed to develop and change at its own pace the country would have evolved into a true “Rainbow Nation” and thousands of lives may have been saved.