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Cover story I Mandela's legacy

Nelson Mandela


An EXCLUSIVE with his daughter

As, once again, the health of the man the whole world has loved to love waxes and wanes, and as
prayers were held, vigils kept, doctors worked, and the whole world hoped that he should live tor
much longer, following yet another hospitalisation in June tor a recurrent lung infection, his family
has maintained a dignified silence. It is therefore with humble gratitude that amid all the media
frenzy and speculation. New Africans Pusch Commey was honoured to speak exclusively
with Nelson Mandela's eldest daughter, Dr Makaziwe Mandela at her residence.They
discuss, among many issues, how the Mandela family will define his legacy.

tackling and defeating racism of the worst kind

- apartheid - the biggest institutional fraud
in the modern world, which was grounded in
myth, group narcissism and a vile belief system.
But Mandela squirmed in humility. The defeat
of physical racism was a global partnership and
he was lucky to have had principled and astute
mentors by his side. And best of all the African
traditional value system of inclusivity Ubuntu.
He has often been deified, but has rejected sainthood, unless in

his words, "a saint is a sinner who keeps on trying." Like Christ, he
was prepared to die for his people, and paid a heavy price - 27 years
in prison. Like Christ, he preached forgiveness and reconciliation,
even in victory. All this, and much more, is what has for the past 6
decades resonated around the world - Mandela's moral conscience
in a fractious world. But like all things, there are hangovers. Turning the other cheek is saintly, but on the other hand it emboldens
your bitter adversaries to nail you to the cross; those who see the
world as a power relation in black and white not in colour. Those
terrible one-dimensional inhabitants of the earth.
And as Madiba or Tata (as he is affectionately known in South
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Cover story Mandela's legacy

Africa) fought for his life in June, having been in and out of hospital in the past few months, speculation has been in overdrive and
much has been made by certain media of a particular narrative, with
sensational headlines such as: "The children and grandchildren of
Nelson Mandela have begun a mad scramble for thefinancialbenefits
ofhis legacy while Tata lay sick in bed. "
Meeting Makaziwe Mandela at her residence to present her with
a new book for her father (loo Great African Kings and Queens) Nelson Mandela's eldest daughter, who is the head of the Mandela
household, was asked to comment on such speculation:
"That is media with an agenda. Nothing can be further from
the truth. It is preposterous. As Ghinua Achebe said, 'If you want
to plunder your neighbour, first hire a good storyteller to spew out
false narratives about him or her.' There are those who are intent on
a 'free-for-air access to his intellectual property for their own commercial gain. Any attempt at protecting his name, image, dignity
and legacy is countered with mudslinging in the media, witting or
unwitting. We have seen purveyors ofhis name, in many instances
for gain, and have kept a dignified silence as family. But there comes
a time when we as family have to take a stand, otherwise we are not
Mandela. Taking a principled stand is what defined Tata. We have
no respect for crass materialism," she told New African.
when asked why the family remains dignifiedly silent on such
reports, she said: "We appreciated that the world made Mandela. For
after all what is a soccer match without the supporters, the referee,
the linesmen and all those who make it what it is. We are thankful. But Mandela and his legacy, is African first. His statue stands
in the plush suburb of Sandton and many other places around the
world, with others benefitting from the tourism spin-offs. We have
no qualms. It is an honour. His face appears on the Rand, gold coins
and in so many places with benefits channelled into the unknown.
He is everywhere. Someone even opened a Nelson Mandela Bottle
Store. While most of it is in honour of him, there are also those who
see an opportunity to profit from that association. And they see the
family as an impediment. We have had value extracted from his
name by all kinds of entrepreneurs without question. But it is time
to take a stand and protect his name, honour, dignity and legacy."
But as the condition of the people Mandela liberated remains
static after 20 years, it is a dilemma the "new" South Africa still
grapples with, as its famous son's advanced age and frequent hospitalisation brings to the fore the question of how South Africa will
move on from or build on the Mandela legacy. The South Africa of
today is still in conflict by and large, in terms of race, class, economics, politics, ethnicity, nationality and a myriad other known and
unknown factors. But many concur, that as the curtain inevitably
closes, Madiba gave his best performance, and is exiting the stage
to a standing ovation. It was not easy and Mandela, as wise beyond
measure as he was throughout his active life, himself acknowledged:
"After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more
hills to climb," he would say.
But how does the daughter and family of one of the world's most
revered people define his legacy?
"People will remember him for forgiveness and reconciliation,
but often forget about the children, the future," Maki, as she is
fondly known, told New African.
"Remember, on retirement he set up the Nelson Mandela children's fund. He committed one third of his salary to that fund.
He loves children, and surrounded himself with his children and
grandchildren at home. He tirelessly encouraged captains of industry to build schools. He has stated that education is the most
powerful weapon you can use to change the world. The Nelson
Mandela Ghildren's Hospital is nearing completion. Our children
are our future."


New African July 2013

"There are those who see an

opportunity to profit from
association with the name of
Mandela. And they see the family
as an impediment. But it is time to
take a stand and protect his name,
honour, dignity and legacy."

And how does the Mandela family plan to carry on with his
"We, as a family, are on the same page. My background is that
of a social worker until I took my doctorate in anthropology in the
US, to better understand my chosen profession. Despite my forays
into successful businesses, children have been close to my heart too.
As a family, Tata's legacy will be channelled into improving the lot
of the African child and to inspiring children of the world. We have
benefitted from education, and that is what has made us. Oh, and
also remember that irrespective of a chequered educational trajectory, of uncompleted degrees due to his politics, Tata never gave up
on education. When he was much older and in prison he persisted
and finished with all the unfinished courses he had embarked on
and got his degrees. That inspiration is often forgotten."
On the continental front there have been towering predecessor
heroes like Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba (who paid the ultimate price), Julius Nyerere and Kenneth Kaunda, to mention but
a few. What makes Mandela special is perhaps his pragmatism, his
forgiveness and reconciliation project that lifted him to a Ghrist-like
figure. He was militant, persistent and sacrificed everything he held
dear for a cause. He had a just cause, firm principles, was persecuted
and was, most tellingly, prepared to die for what he believed in.

Clockwise: On his wedding day to Winnie Madiiiizela in 1957: with his

eldest daughter Dr Makaziwe Mandela from his first wife Evelyn: with his
late son Thembekiie: celebrating his 86th birthday with his current wife
Graa Machet and ex-wife Winnie in his rural home town of Qunu

Having given up 27 years of his most productive life in jail, he

came out to lead his people to political liberation and eschewed
retribution. He forgave and partnered with his oppressors and allowed them to keep their gains. With the future of his country in
his heart, he believed that the future belonged to the next generation, hence he served just one term in office, when most African
heads of state would bleed their countries to death just to prolong
their presidency. Then after retiring from public life he dedicated
himself to children, the next generation. It is that kind of timeless
romantic narrative that has captured the Imagination of the world.
And he has been well rewarded with adulation and undoubtedly,
his shoes are too large to fill. But Dr Maki Mandela has a special
message to the world:
"We as a family express our great appreciation to all those who
have supported, loved, and stood steadfastly by Tata during his
travails. Special thanks must go to his senior counsel who defended
him in the famous Rivonia trial in 1963, where he drew a line in
the sand to proclaim to the world a non-racial inclusive society,
and was prepared to die for it. These honourable men are Sir
Sydney Kentridge (QC) and the late Bram Fischer (may his soul
rest in peace). And to all South Africans, irrespective of race and
creed, who stood by him. Many heroic ones stood by their conscience when their race afiForded them privileges exclusive of their
fellow citizens. Some even paid the ultimate price. We thank his
party, the ANC, the Nelson Mandela foundation. South Africa, our
African brothers and sisters on our continent, and the world. Tata
is an African first. Everyone made great sacrifices to make sure that
what was wrong would not triumph. Without the support of the
world he would not be the revered icon that he is today. We cannot
thank the world enough."

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Cover story Mandela's legacy

And indeed what is also often forgotten is that Nelson Mandela, like his African brothers in the liberation struggle, started
off as an African Nationalist, an ideological position he held since
joining the ANC in 1943. From that perspective he stood firmly
in favour of democracy and socialist ideals. He held a conviction
that "inclusivity, accountability and freedom of speech" were the
fundamentals of democracy and was driven by a belief in natural
and human rights. Like most libration leaders of those formative
years in the mid 20th century, he was opposed to capitalism, private
land-ownership and the power of hig money.
The 1955 Freedom Charter, which Mandela had helped create, called for the nationalisation of banks, gold mines, and land,
believing it necessary to ensure equal distribution of wealth. But
Nelson Mandela evolved. After attaining the objective of freedom
he said, "If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to
work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner." After all,
the African National Congress did not attain a military victory,
and his adversaries were an integral part of the social fabric of
South Africa.
After all is said and done, the Mandela family, as Maki has explained, know what will define his legacy. But outside the family
view, many may also ask, what has Nelson Mandela's legacy really
been? What comes immediately to mind is what is often described
as realpolitik. Despite his socialist beliefs, Mandela nationalised
nothing during his presidency, fearing that this would scare away
foreign investors. This decision was in part influenced hy the collapse
ofthe Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc during the early 1990s, and
China's adoption of free market policies. This dilemma of an appropriate economic pathway steeped in injustice has had implications.
After his retirement from public office, economic justice has
become the theme of the current South Africa, with some radical
blacks including his ex-wife Winnie Mandela, accusing him of
having compromised the economic liberation of his people. So the
battle continues on how massive inequalities, drawn along racial
lines, can be bridged. This has pitted the white owners ofthe factors
of production and capital, inherited from apartheid, against poor
and cheap hlack labour, also an apartheid relic. An educational and
skills deficit means the blacks have difficulty in competing, and have
often vented theit spleen on more entrepreneurial foreign immigrants
without such deficit. Even when blacks manage to get into university, a recent report has found that only 15% manage to graduate.
In the mix is the deadly time homh of unemployment, which has
partly contributed to criminality. It officially stands at 25.2%, but
others project it being up to 70%. Then there are those politically
connected blacks who have found economic nirvana through white
anointing, to keep the waters calm. Other blacks who have found
space in government employment have embarked on a looting spree
of state coffers. Many people often wonder what Nelson Mandela
could have been thinking about in retirement.
The long walk
Nelson Mandela's long walk hegan in Mvezo Village on 18 July 1918,
then a part of South Africa's Cape Province. Given the forename
Rolihlahla, a Xhosa term colloquially meaning "troublemaker", in
later years he became known hy his clan name, Madiba, a member
ofthe Thembu royal family which ruled the Transkei region. His
father, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, was a local chief and councillor to the monarch. Nelson's mother was Gadla's third wife,
Nosekeni Fanny.
He recalled in 1994: "No one in my family had ever attended
school. On the first day of school my teacher. Miss Mdingane, gave
each of us an English name. This was the custom among Africans
in those days and was undoubtedly due to the British bias of our

New African July 2013

Clockwise from right: U February 1990. A jubilant Sowetan holds

up a newspaper announcing Mandela's release, at a mass rally;
Mandela meeting young boys at a party hosted by the Nelson
Mandela Children's Fund in 2006 to celebrate his 88th birthday;
Mandela as the ANC president in 1993, with President F. W. de
Klerk, after they received Nobel Peace Prizes

education. That day. Miss Mdingane told me that my new name

was Nelson. Why this particular name I have no idea."
In his hometown of Qunu, his mother, a devout Christian, sent
him to a local Methodist school when he was seven. She then took
Mandela to the "Great Place" palace at Mqhekezweni, where he was
entrusted under the guardianship of Thembu regent. Chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo. Raised by Jongintaba and his wife Noengland
alongside their son Justice and daughter Nomafu, he developed a
love of African history, listening to the tales told by elderly visitors
to the palace, and became influenced hy the anti-imperialist rhetoric
of Chief Joyi. The African value of inclusivity and collective decision making was to shape his worldview.
With Jongintaba's hacking, Mandela hegan work on a Bachelor
of Arts (BA) degree at the University of Fort Hare. He became involved in a Students' Representative Council (SRC) boycott against
the quality of food, for which he was temporarily suspended from

"He has stated that education is the

most powerful weapon you can use
to change the world. As a family,
Tata's legacy will be channelled into
improving the lot of the African child
and to inspire children of the world."

the university. He left without receiving a degree.

Returning to Mqhekezweni in December 1940, Mandela found
that Jongintaba had arranged marriages for him and Justice. The
two fled to Johannesburg. Mandela found work as a night watchman at Crown Mines, but was fired when the induna (headman)
discovered he was a runaway. Staying with a cousin in George
Goch Township, Mandela was introduced to the realtor and ANC
activist Walter Sisulu, who secured him a job as an articled clerk at
law firm Witkin, Sidelsky and Edelman, run by a liberal Jew, Lazar
Sidelsky, who took a keen interest in the education of indigenous
Africans. At night Mandela worked on his BA through a University
of South Africa correspondence course. His subsequent friendships
with Gaur Radebe and Jewish communists like Nat Bergman saw
him join the ANC in 1943.
The rest is history. He then began his radical political career
with illustrious anti-apartheid mentors like Walter Sisulu, Joe
Slovo, Ruth First and Oliver Tambo. Having lost confidence in the
mainstream ANC, they embarked on a path of radical opposition
that culminated in the formation of the ANC youth league. After
a period of political resistance, struggle and prosecution during
which he was acquitted, the Rivonia trial of 1963 led to his incarceration for 27 years.
Before the trial the ANC agreed to send Mandela as a delegate
to the February 1962 Pan-African Freedom Movement for East,
Central and Southern Africa (PAFMECSA) meeting in Addis
Ababa, Ethiopia. Travelling there in secret, Mandela met with
Emperor Haile Selassie, and gave his speech after Selassie's at the
conference. After the conference, he travelled to Cairo in Egypt,
and observed the political reforms of President Gamal Abdel
Nasser. He then went to Tunisia, where President Habib Bourguiba
gave him 5,000 for weaponry. He proceeded to Morocco, Mali,
Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Senegal, receiving funds from
Liberian President William Tubman and Guiean President
Ahmed Skou Tour. Leaving Africa for London, England, he met
anti-apartheid activists, reporters and prominent leftist politicians.
He returned to Ethiopia to begin a six-month course in guerrilla
warfare, but completed only two months before being recalled to
South Africa. Thereafter African countries stood solidly against
the apartheid state, sacrificing blood and treasure to help liberate
South Africa.
After his release from jail Mandela personally met with senior
figures of the apartheid regime, including Hendrik Verwoerd's
widow Betsie Schoombie and his Rivonia trial prosecutor Percy
Yutar; emphasising personal forgiveness and reconciliation. He
announced that "courageous people do not fear forgiving, for the
sake of peace".
More controversially, Mandela oversaw the formation of a Truth
and Reconciliation Commission to investigate crimes committed
under apartheid by both the government and the ANC, appointing
Desmond Tutu as its chair. To prevent the creation of martyrs, the
Commission granted individual amnesties in exchange for testimony
about crimes committed during the apartheid era. It held two years
of hearings detailing rapes, torture, bombings, and assassinations,
before issuing its final report in October 1998.
Since 2004, Mandela successfully campaigned for South Africa
to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup, declaring that there would be
"few better gifts for us in the year" marking a decade since the fall
of apartheid. Despite maintaining a low-profile during the event,
Mandela made a rare public appearance during the closing ceremony,
where he received a "rapturous reception".
Since 2011, he has been in and out of hospital, mainly for a
respiratory infection, thought to be the result of having contracted
tuberculosis during his long imprisonment.

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Cover story Mandela's legacy

With President Biii Ciinton, iooking out of the ceii window where
Mandeia spent 18 of his 27 years as a poiiticai prisoner on Robben
isiand; and beiow, with Prince Charies in 2002

and divorce (March 1996). Mandela was still in prison when his
daughter Zenani got married to Prince Thumbumuzi Dlamini,
elder brother of King Mswati III of Swaziland, in 1973. In July
2012, Zenani was appointed ambassador to Argentina, becoming
the first of Mandela's three remaining children to enter public
life. Mandela remarried on his 80th birthday in 1998, to Graa
Machei, widow of Samora Machei, the former Mozambican president and ANC ally who was killed in an air crash 12 years earlier.

"We, as a family, have had the

pleasure of his company and wisdom.
We are grateful that God extended
his life to make this possible."

Family life
Mandela has been married three times, has fathered six children,
has 17 grandchildren, and a growing number of great-grandchildren.
Mandela's first marriage was to Evelyn Ntoko Mase, who was
also from the Transkei. The couple broke up in 1957 after 13 years,
and divorced. Tliey had two sons, Madiba "Thembi" Thembekiie
(1946-1969) and Makgatho Mandela (1950-2005), and two daughters, both named Makaziwe Mandela (known as Maki; born 1947
and 1953). Their first daughter died aged nine months, and they
named their second daughter in her honour. Mase died in 2004, and
Mandela attended her funeral. Makgatho's son, Mandla Mandela,
became chief of the Mvezo tribal council in 2007.
Mandela's second wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, also came
from the Transkei area. They met in Johannesburg, where she was
the city's first black social worker. They had two daughters, Zenani
(Zeni), 1958, and Zindziswa (Zindzi) Mandela-Hlongwane, born
i960. Later, Winnie would be deeply torn by family discord which
mirrored the country's political strife, while her husband was serving a life sentence. The marriage ended in separation (April 1992)


New African July 2013

Within South Africa, Mandela is widely considered to be "the father
of the nation", "the founding father of democracy", "the national
liberator", "the saviour" and many more accolades.
He has also received several kinds of international acclaim. In
1993, he received the joint Nobel Peace Prize with F. W. de Klerk. In
November 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed
Mandela's birthday, 18 July, as "Mandela Day", marking his contribution to the anti-apartheid struggle. It called on individuals to
donate 67 minutes to doing something for others, commemorating the 67 years that Mandela had been a part of the movement.
He has been awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom
and the Order of Canada, becoming the first living person to be
made an honorary Canadian citizen. He was also the last recipient
of the Soviet Union's Lenin Peace Prize from the Soviet Union.
In 1990 he received the Bharat Ratna award from the government
of India, and in 1992 received Pakistan's Nishan-e-Pakistan. In 1992
he was awarded the Atatrk Peace Award by Turkey. He refused
the award, citing human rights violations committed by Turkey at
the time, but later accepted the award in 1999. Queen Elizabeth II
awarded him the Bailiff Grand Cross of the Order of St. John and
the Order of Merit. The Obamas, inspired by Madiba's example,
have described his story as one of "unbreakable will, unwavering integrity, and abiding humility". In a statement celebrating Mandela's
94th birthday Barack Obama enthused that "Nelson Mandela had
changed the arc of history, transforming his country, his continent
and the world". Another former US president. Bill Clinton, and
his wife Hillary Clinton, are close friends and regular visitors at
Mandela's house in Johannesburg and Qunu.
But the larger-than-life global icon that is Mandela has had this
to say: "There is no passion to be found in playing small in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."
Best of all, he had a dream: "I dream of an Africa that is at peace
with itself." That dream will be fulfilled when the fight for economic
freedom is won. A new hero will arise to continue where all the great
African leaders signed off. And Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, among
the pantheons of great illustrious Africans, will join his ancestors in
peace, while his dream is realised by the next generation.
When asked to sum up what her memories of her father have
been like as the family comes to terms with what the future inevitably holds, Maki Mandela says:
"For the most part his life has been a dedication to the liberation
of South Africa, a commitment to his continent and a stance against
discrimination, black or white; 27 years of it was in prison where
visits were rare. In his latter years, he has spent most of his life with
his family. It was that gap in his narrative that was missing. And he
has largely fulfilled it in his old age. We, as a family, have had the
pleasure of his company and wisdom. We are grateful to God that
He extended his life to make this possible." MA

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