Nelson Mandela

Detecting the Scam



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Obama, Osama and Trump — And Nelson Mandela's Ghost

(May 7, 2011)


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a brief overview of Apartheid (Part 2)
what nelson mandela faced

The following is an extract from Detecting the Scam: Nelson Mandela's Gift...

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The government created an internal security force that the KGB would have envied. They gave it enormous power. Generally, its enemy was anyone involved in the anti-apartheid movement. Specifically, its enemy was the African National Congress and its most eloquent spokesman, Nelson Mandela. He was the face of the enemy.

After Mr. Mandela was arrested and convicted, the government was convinced his stature would fade over time. It was also convinced that he was more dangerous dead than alive. It did not need a martyr on its hands to rally the angry young blacks. Its main concern became to keep him alive.

In her book, The Anatomy of a Miracle: The End of Apartheid and the Birth of South Africa, Patti Waldmeir described how, within the walls of the Robben Island prison, Nelson Mandela was scheming to outsmart and seduce the government into dismantling apartheid. Amazingly, he succeeded.

He knew he would have to begin by persuading the government to negotiate with him and with the African National Congress. While he was convinced he could handle the negotiators, he also knew his greatest obstacle would be to get them to the negotiating table. Only then could the seduction begin.

An obstacle to those negotiations was not just the three hundred-
year old Afrikaner culture. It was also the United States and the United Kingdom, who saw the apartheid regime as an important ally in the fight against communism. Each wanted to keep the status quo in South Africa. Each was prepared to look the other way as the apartheid government trampled lives and rights.

In 1984, for example, Prime Minister Thatcher referred to the African National Congress as “a typical terrorist organization.” She said that anyone who thought the ANC could ever form a government was “living in cloud-cuckoo land.” That same year, Dr. Niël Barnard, the head of the National Intelligence Service, South Africa’s equivalent of the KGB, recalled believing that some settlement between the government and the ANC was a necessity. He later described Nelson Mandela in this way:

“[H]e has this strange charisma, being a man who people want to listen to…so there was, in our minds, looking from an intelligence perspective, never the slightest doubt. This is
the man—if you cannot find settlement with him, any settlement will be out.”

At the time, the government did not share his impression.

The negotiations about the negotiations began slowly. By 1990, President de Klerk recognized that the country was on the verge of exploding. A new generation of young blacks was making the country ungovernable. The president had only two choices. He could either bring in his military to provide yet another temporary reprieve, or he could choose another path. He could attempt to negotiate a peaceful settlement with a legitimate and respected black leader, while
maintaining as much power as he could.

Both the president and Nelson Mandela recognized South Africa was looking into an abyss. Both knew that any solution would have to address the rage of the neo-Nazi groups of the Afrikaner right wing, on the one hand, and the rage of those younger victims of apartheid who were demanding vengeance and retribution, on the other.

The president reluctantly came to accept that only Nelson Mandela had the stature to control the anger in the streets. What perplexed him was that the longer he remained in jail, the more his stature grew. With the demand for his release growing around the world, and with the anger on the streets becoming uncontainable, it became clear the government could wait no longer. The president needed him.

Although Nelson Mandela had already been in jail for the past twenty-seven years, in a strange irony, the president effectively became Mr. Mandela’s prisoner. When the president would later release him from jail, South Africa and the world would hold their collective breath.

For President de Klerk, this was a calculated decision—and a risk. He reasoned that the newly released seventyone-year-old would be unable to cope with the strains of life and leadership outside prison. He was certain that disillusionment and disenchantment would follow the euphoria of his release. It was inconceivable to the president and his Cabinet that Mr. Mandela could meet his followers’ impossible expectations. They were totally convinced that his charisma and standing would quickly wane. They were therefore in no rush to begin negotiations. To the contrary, they were waiting for the euphoria that greeted his release to die down. They wanted to give him the time to fall on his face. They wanted to show that the former prisoner was not a savior, but was instead a fallible man who had lost touch with the new world he had just entered.

As the negotiations eventually began, two questions persisted:

• How would a man, who had been imprisoned for twenty-seven years be able to withstand the negotiating pressure the government could exert?

• How would a man with such humble roots be able to match wits—let alone outwit—the government’s sophisticated team and the military might that was available to it?

The answers to these questions lay in the man himself—and in the negotiating skills he had acquired throughout his life. Looking back, even his adversaries grudgingly acknowledged that Nelson Mandela was a leader and negotiator extraordinaire.

The South African apartheid-era foreign minister, Pik Botha, for example, provides an insight into how Nelson Mandela approached his epic negotiations with the South African government:

“When we started negotiations, Nelson Mandela, in his very first opening statement, for at least 20 minutes or more, said he made a study of the Afrikaner history, merely telling us, ‘Look, I know you and I respect what you’ve gone through.’ He didn’t come up with a statement of bitterness, retribution. No. A man, after 27 years of being robbed of his freedom, and to then come forward and start negotiations on that basis—remarkable. There’s no way you can argue against that.”

The issue wasn’t whether or not he felt bitterness. He did. He also simply appreciated that the expression of bitterness would not help him reach his goal of eliminating apartheid.