Nelson Mandela ( 1918-2013) You can not talk about the legacy of Nelson Mandela without discussing Winnie Mandela. Their legacy is tied in every way in an amazing but extremely painful journey. It's indisputable that his name remained alive because of her. That is not opinion but an actual fact, as the white South African government terrorized their homes, children and marriage basically ripping it at its thread they remained in solidarity. Their relationship became a political movement which was initially started out as a classic love story. They should have been the original Michelle and Barack for the world but a terroristic regime destroyed any hope for that. Nelson Mandela was not a teddy bear, he was a freedom fighter in every way that word means and his comrade was Winnie. Eventually he had to sacrifice her in the name of a greater movement, bringing peace to a country that would never repay any of the native peoples in a truly meaningful way which is obvious in the violence that is alive among the native peoples today. That in no way undermines the legacy of not just Nelson but Oliver Tambo, Steven Biko, African People’s Congress and many, many other lives that were sacrificed at the hands of that terroristic government.
While he was in the jail, Winnie was on the streets with the pain, strife, withstanding brutality that no one woman should have to endure. She did participate in violence that others may think of an unsavory, well Apartheid was ugly. White officers would go to homes and slaughter families, Steven Biko was beaten to a pulp and handcuffed to the front of a hospital nude. The stories go on and on. Winnie's violence was in question while DeKlerk who should have been tried in the world court shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela. Nelson Mandela was not a saint, nor did he need to be. The Truth and Reconciliation act, helped the people in power but did not support the majority of the citizens as well. It allowed white South African to travel without recourse, no one thinks of the them as Germans were thought of at the end of the Nazi regime. There was no Nuremburg trials for the the 200 years of horrors that the white minority regime inflicted to the Native peoples of Southern Africa. White South Africans are winning awards and are Hollywood stars while who knows the name of any Native outside of Nelson Mandela.
If you are going to respect him, admire him as a survivor, a freedom fighter who carried on the legacies of Biko and others. He along with many others put their life on the line so other Native peoples can have a chance. He was not liberator of the world , the sacrifice he made for his people made him a symbol for what revolution looks like. Admire him for not losing his mind under conditions that were made to destroy him, for having a marriage where his wife was humiliated every way possible but never broke their bond. A man who spoke out against atrocities in other lands, including the USA. As a man who who was able to tolerate the government that for 27 years destroyed his marriage, took his most physically active years, his career, his home, his community and then created dissension between his comrade and lover. In the midst of all this still managed to create something from the scraps that were left. South Africa is not triumphant but his resilience was.
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