Letters to the Editor
January 17, 2014.
Cecil John Rhodes
It would appear that the worship of Nelson Mandela has reached such great heights that anything that he could say or do had to be revered and yet he himself said that he was a mere mortal and was no saint. Indeed.
I am concerned with the manner his name has given legitimacy to Cecil John Rhodes, who was the arch British imperialist with Lord Milner and Lord Curzon of the round-table notoriety. Rhodes even had a whole country named after him – Rhodesia – now changed to Zimbabwe in remembrance of the Great Zimbabwe Ruins that Smuts denied was the work of Africans, such was the denigration of African culture during the heyday of the Empire and white supremacy.
There is a Rhodes-Mandela Building in Cape Town and I learn that a Rhodes-Mandela scholarship has been set up in Oxford and a Rhodes-Mandela house.
The Rhodes scholarship was set up to tutor successors for the maintenance of the British Empire.
Did Mandela himself sanction this and how did it come about? Or was this done behind Mandela's back and knowledge? It raises question also of the proprietorship of his name in this manner that is objectionable to many. If Mandela did sanction it, what gave him the right to do so?
I doubt very much that any Israeli leader would allow their name to be used with that of Adolf Hitler in this manner.
Of course we also know the matter of reparations from the colonial West, which is still an ongoing issue with their previous colonies, that is, as in the case of Namibia, Germany is refusing reparations for the holocaust of the native population there.
Must we now, in emulation of the Rhodes-Mandela examples, have a Sam Nujoma–Hitler memorial to forget the past annihilation of the native population in Namibia?
South African history is a history of colonial atrocities. Neither Mandela nor any other leader should wipe out that memory. – Yasien Mohamed, Cape Town.
*****Comment: Mr Yasien Mohamed is absolutely right about the unjust sullying of Mandela's legacy through its association with Cecil John Rhodes - the maniacal colonial brute.
The problem though - as Mr Mohamed knows - is that the association is a willing one in which Mandela himself participated.
See the Mandela Rhodes Foundation and its work.
Before Mandela died I used to wonder how a man who gave his life to the struggle against colonialism could lend his legacy (and that of the ANC by implication) to the arch-colonialist, Rhodes.
Did Mandela not know that the struggle against colonialism was about defeating Rhodes and his continuing legacy?
He surely must have.
The problem is that Mandela extended so much of an olive branch that he ignored how he was blunting history.
The other problem is that his revisionism was a willing act not to be uncoupled from the financial benefits it brought.
I am not saying Mandela was after money only. That is too callous an argument though it is hardly a hidden one.
What I am saying is that Mandela got so cozy with white capital (racist capital) that he seemed to overlook the consequences.
A major consequence is that too much forgiveness and too little truth has in effect negatively impacted the contribution he made to fight colonial oppression (apartheid).
Mandela should never have lent his name and credibility to the colonial murderer, Rhodes.
Like Mr Mohamed says it would be unthinkable to revise and rehabilitate Hitler, or Stalin for that matter, so why do so for Rhodes?
Selling out struggle principles for capital advancement should never be an option in any revolution.