“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968

Friday, 6 December 2013


Mandela has gone. That he was a good man, and probably a great one, seems beyond dispute and humanity will be the poorer for his departing. Now may not be the time to draw attention to the failings of the ANC and the continuing gross economic inequality of South Africa but one thing is for sure. During the next few days, alongside the very genuine grieving and sense of loss,  there will also be an unprecedented outpouring of hypocrisy and nowhere more so than in this country. Flowery tributes for the man will be mouthed by those who felt that apartheid was the natural order of things and that South Africa would have been a better place had Mandela and his comrades hanged. Others will praise Mandela and heap scorn on the Afrikaners safe in the knowledge that for the  wealthy, ANC South Africa is open for business as usual. As Mandela's old comrade Denis Goldberg was quick to point out this morning, the gains for the South African working class have been minimal. Meanwhile, the North London Guardian reading middle class will bow their heads, hum Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrica and move heaven and earth to ensure that their kids don't have to go to a school with a large proportion of black pupils. It is for all of that, as well as for the loss of Mandela, that I grieve.


Dr Llareggub said...

A most thoughtful post. Thanks. I fear that the worse is yet to happen to the people of South Africa. But let me mention how attitudes change over generations. My brother-in-law, who was a music composer, came across a piece of unfinished music from a victim/survivor of Auschwitz. He completed the music which was performed in several countries in memory of the holocaust victims. The piano solo, which is very moving, was played by a man who became my friend and represents a tradition wherein music stands opposed to totalitarian beliefs. I won't say more but simply add that his grandfather was Vorster, an architect of apartheid. The times change, new generations can overcome the hatred and stupidity of the past, and I wish that the North London Guardian reading middle classes will refrain from milking their version of white guilt.

Dr Llareggub said...

At least his family will not be short of a bob or two.