There is this crazy thing about the celebration of Nelson Mandela’s birthday and the exaggeration of his role in the South Africa’s struggle for liberation. There is also overemphasis on the issue of the 67 years he put in the struggle. Some of his fellow comrades, like Govan Mbeki and Walter Sisulu, who were incarcerated with him on Robben Island, put in more years than Mandela in serving humanity. Anton Lembede, Ashby Peter Mda, Zeph Mothopeng and Oliver Tambo were involved in the struggle for liberation long before Mandela. Now what is so significant about Mandela’s 67 years in the struggle? The Western media, UN and Mandela foundations and charities set up after his retirement in 1999, are in the forefront of promoting this Mandela Day. The Western media sets the agenda for us and also decides for us who our important heroes are – the hierarchisation of struggle heroes.
According to the Western media, UN and the Mandela foundations and charities we should all forget the imperialist brokered sellout deals Mandela clinched in secret with representatives of Apartheid regime. They also want us to be in a permanent state of amnesia concerning the accusation against Mandela by his former lawyer, Ismail Ayob, that Mandela did not pay tax from the proceeds of his books sold abroad. The South African Revenue Services did nothing about these tax defaults to this day. Ayob also suggested that there are other trusts for individual Mandela children. Ayob was a trustee of the Mandela trusts. When there was a fallout between Mandela and Ayob after it emerged that Ayob had allegedly cashed in on the Mandela name, the much vaunted reconciler was said to have told a number of friends that, “I want Ayob imprisoned”.