by Dan Roodt
Ever since Nelson Mandela died, but even before, one was utterly flabbergasted before the intensity of media fervour pouring out en hommage to the Big Man. In Africa, of course, there are all kinds of theories about Big Men, some more politically correct than others. The tribal elder meets the Soviet personality cult, and we get Idi Amin Dada. Or Charles Taylor. Or Robert Mugabe.
If there is one thing I can stand even less than African Big Men, it is British journalists convulsing on the ground in effusive praise of them. Who still remembers the blasts of praise from Fleet Street when Mugabe assumed power in the ex-Rhodesia? For much of the past ten days while South Africa lit the long-awaited Big Candle, visible from outer space without a doubt, we had to endure near-hysterical outpourings exalting the deceased ex-terrorist. One such scribe from the island north of the Continent – I forget which, there were so many this week – wrote: “Mandela could have been president for life but he chose to stay a single term, for the sake of democracy in Africa!”
Democracy in Africa. Oh, yes. If Mandela’s successor at the helm of this decaying country, Thabo Mbeki, were to be believed, democracy was invented in Africa. No less. The point is that there is now such an Afrocentric phantasmagoria, cultivated in Britain and the United States, that anything is now possible, even Mbeki’s “African century”. The notion that Africa will come to dominate the globe economically, politically and militarily, was first articulated by another African Big Man, born Joseph-Desiré Mobutu but whose full regal appellation afterwards became Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu wa Za Banga.
Novelist V.S. Naipaul wrote somewhat ironically about Mobutu’s dreams of impoverished Europeans beseeching African countries for much-needed aid in 2000. Yet the notion of Nelson Mandela being “the greatest leader of the twentieth century” and voted as the most respected global leader in at least one poll. must inspire some doubt in Naipaul himself. Contemplating the “transformed” inner city of Johannesburg in our postapartheid paradise, Naipaul wrote in The masque of Africa:
It sent my mind back to other places of dereliction and ruin I had seen: the wartime rubble of East Berlin kept as a monument in the communist days. But it seemed easier even in the bad days for that part of East Berlin to be rebuilt than it would be for the half-life of this part of Johannesburg to be restored to something like its original meaning. Where would one begin? One would have to begin with the idea of the city, the idea of civilisation; and already, before one had even begun, one would be swamped by protest.
There were further discoveries to be made within that new slum. A sturdy old warehouse had been given over to new merchandise, which would have been like a parody of what had been here. It was a market of witchdoctors’ goods, and it was extensive. These were the muti goods that witchdoctors required their customers to get, to be used by the witchdoctor as he pleased, usually to make medicines, which the unfortunate bewitched man or woman had to drink.
I have often thought that Mandela had bewitched a good portion of the Anglo-American ruling class that in turn infected the stupid Europeans who are progressively losing the capacity for independent thought. All this talk of “Madiba magic” might be code for some supernatural, Harry Potter-like influence.
As everone knows, some forms of muti are taken as a cure for an evil spell, while others are used precisely to bewitch the victim. A black man who has designs on a woman who is rejecting him could buy some muti from a sangoma to ensure that she falls in love with him.
In Europe, Nietzsche and others wrote about the “twilight of the idols”. However, in Africa the idols are thriving, with the messianic Mandela being the biggest idol of them all. It seems only a few cantankerous Christians still refuse to bow to him, but not the Clintons, the king of the Netherlands or Barack Obama. Even George W. Bush came as a pilgrim to South Africa this week.
During his speech at Soccer City on the outskirts of black Soweto, Obama cast himself in the role of Mandela’s understudy, a humble disciple to the famous Xhosa.
I suppose in the days of the Roman Empire, people were also nonplussed about the seemingly inexorable rise of a strange new cult, Christianity. In the face of global grief over Mandela’s “exchanging the temporary for the eternal”, as the local Afrikaans saying goes, most mainstream conservatives have joined in eulogizing Mandela. British PM David Cameron, who had wanted to “hang Mandela”, together with other Young Conservatives, reacted to Mandela’s death with:
A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time.
The normally truculent George W. Bush who had unleashed a war on other terrorists had only kind words for the man who had co-authorized the Church Street and Amanzimtoti bombs:
President Mandela was one of the great forces for freedom and equality of our time. He bore his burdens with dignity and grace, and our world is better off because of his example.
How do we explain such empathy, nay admiration, for a card-carrying member of the South African Communist Party in so-called Western conservative leaders? After all, I cannot recall similar expressions of sorrow when Georges Marchais of the French Communist Party or the East German stalwart, Erich Honecker, expired in 1997 and 1994, respectively.
The answer is that, unlike the venerable European leftists Marchais and Honecker, who had also waged a life-long struggle against fascism and racism – both leaders were among Mandela’s staunchest allies – Comrade Mandela assuages white guilt.
Susan Sontag’s notorious adage, that “the white race is the cancer of human history”, has become almost an official doctrine in the United States and Great Britain, eagerly emulated by the hapless Europeans. Few people have written about this phenomenon, except French “new philosopher” Pascal Bruckner who published two books about it, aptly entitled The tears of the white man: compassion as contempt and The tyranny of guilt: an essay on Western masochism.
Throughout the past week, here in South Africa and elsewhere, whites indulged in moral self-flagellation. A Dutch journalist, resident in South Africa, declared apropos of Mandela as symbol: “We had 40 years of apartheid, but 400 years of colonialism.” I daresay, four hundred years will not be enough to atone for the sins of colonialism and apartheid.
Probably I have referred to this process before, but one of the most repulsive aspects of white, Western guilt, is how South African whites in general, and Afrikaners in particular, have been made into literal scapegoats for it. Every time one of us gets murdered, raped or tortured under the mayhem that Mandela’s ANC regime has brought to South Africa, the West’s burden is proportionately leavened.
For all the odes to Mandela’s “wisdom”, sense of politics and so on, most of his public pronouncements consist of commonplaces and homilies befitting a school boy of very young age. His listeners melt away in awe when he says: “Let bygones be bygones.” His theatrical, even cheap and calculated trick of putting on the Springbok rugby jersey in 1995 is praised as a stroke of genius.
Many Afrikaners have experienced this from Western whites. To them, nothing that we can say, write or compose is even remotely interesting. The handful of modern Afrikaner composers are arguably among the most creative and interesting in the world, yet their music is almost completely unknown. Afrikaans poetry is arguably among the best, even compared to that in much larger languages, yet besides Afrikaners and a few Flemings, no-one has ever taken cognisance of its existence. White guilt excludes the recognition of white talent, especially in the ranks of other “guilty” whites.
Once a young, blonde woman from here recounted to me how she was sent to a European country on a scholarship, together with a black counterpart. Although attractive, intelligent and educated, her European hosts evinced a degree of disinterest in her bordering on rudeness. Despite having been born and bred in Africa, she was white and therefore deemed to be just some displaced European like themselves. The exact opposite behaviour was de rigueur when it came to her fellow black student. She was seen as an object of immense fascination and hidden wisdom, almost like Mandela. Every white European in her presence smiled broadly, addressed her in overly polite terms and posed unending questions about her past and her upbringing. In the same way, the fact that Mandela had herded cattle as a boy according to Xhosa custom arouses far more curiosity than the pedestrian upbringing of some white in Pretoria who learned the cello and read Greek myths and Grimm’s fairytales as a child.
It is as if whites have taken on the behaviour of blacks described by black revolutionary, Frantz Fanon in Black skin, white mask:
The black man has two dimensions. One with his fellows, the other with the white man. A Negro behaves differently with a white man and with another Negro. That this self-division is a direct result of colonialist subjugation is beyond question…
After his organisation had placed bombs on city sidewalks, in bars and restaurants and killed thousands of blacks in internecine power struggles, including by the infamous necklace method, Mandela was praised for preaching moderation and “reconciliation”. Mandela presided over hordes of sadists wantonly looting, burning and killing their fellows. Such incidence of violence and destruction was, as usual, reinterpreted and recoded by guilt-complexed white journalists and pundits as being pleas for democracy and togetherness. Or free housing, affirmative action and racial quotas in sport, all of which South African blacks deserve in copious amounts, as liberals and leftists clamorously assure us. Of course, riots, violence and sadism continue unabated in South Africa, but because there is now a black government and the perpetrators of such violence are black too, any criticism of such behaviour is expressed in muted tones, if at all.
The Western world expected of South African whites to commit political suicide, which they meekly did. De Klerk and his National Party’s vague dreams of power-sharing came to nought and the former so-called Afrikaner leaders are too embarrassed to admit their abject failure in securing any kind of reasonable future for their constituents.
The corollary of white surrender in South Africa has been the sudden birth of a ready-made black state, a kind of African dream. Whites have been simply pushed aside and most of the state, industrial and mining apparatus taken over by blacks and those communist whites having clearly demonstrated their loyalty to the ANC and SACP through participation in terror and sabotage.
Through the sheer effects of the vast propaganda campaign conducted around Mandela and the apartheid stereotype, many people assume that prior to 1994 South Africa had been as backward as Burkina Faso or Malawi where locals subsist on slightly more than a dollar a day. It is routinely supposed by outsiders that under white rule there were hardly any schools or universities, except ones reserved for whites where they were taught some form of Nazi/racist doctrine. Presumably the roads, multi-storey buildings, concrete bridges and highways, hospitals and more than twenty universities were constructed by Mandela himself or those in his immediate entourage. After all, as the BBC journalists and others in the know assure us, he was the “father of modern South Africa”. A miracle worker, indeed.
Many whites in Europe and North America feel extremely uncomfortable about the fact that Africa is so backward and poor – “underdeveloped” – compared to other continents and regions of the world. European colonialism is usually blamed for this state of affairs, except that it has endured under African rule since the early nineteen-sixties. Also, countries like Haiti, Liberia and Ethiopia that have been independent of white rule for centuries, have not fared any better. Both Liberia and Ethiopia are classified among the poorest countries in the world, with Haiti – “the world’s first black republic” as Thabo Mbeki called it – being not only among the world’s poorest, but also the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Eighty percent of Haitians live under the poverty line and fifty-four percent in abject poverty. According to the Red Cross, seven out of Haitians survive on less than US$2 per day.
However, thanks to the “miracle” brought by Mandela and his backers in the ex-Warsaw Pact countries, as well as the UK, the USA, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands, everyone may now point to a successful “black state”, the Republic of South Africa. Even the names of towns and cities founded by Afrikaner pioneers are changed to Bantu ones to make them “more African”, completing the illusion of black engineering, scientific, architectural, financial and economic success.
It is no wonder that FW de Klerk is so popular in the West and was cheered in Soweto this week. He had his own people subjugated and their hard-earned assets taken away so that not only South African blacks could feel better about themselves, but in order that the white man shedding tears over his guilt in Western Europe and North America could breathe a sigh of relief.
In a real sense, Mandela and his myth are the muti of the West. But his fame and glory come at a terrible price: the disenfranchisement of the white minority, the hijacking of their public and private assets, as well as their ultimate expulsion from their fatherland as in the Zimbabwean example.
Unless South African whites are able to shake off the stupor in which they find themselves as a result of their decades-long brainwashing into left-extremist illusions by the viciously lying Western media, their ultimate fate will be far more tragic than that of their Zimbabwean counterparts. as many more will be killed than are already dying in the ubiquitous farm murders and suburban house attacks.
The indigenous Afrikaners are now seen as foreigners in the country they had built, together with – ironically – the illegal immigrants from other African countries who are also randomly massacred by South African blacks in so-called “xenophobic attacks”.
All those Africans elsewhere on the continent who cheer Mandela for his “victory over the hated whites” should be aware that Mandela’s followers would kill you too, if ever you set foot here.
While the West and its media perverts will maintain its silence over such atrocities.