Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela

The African people’s struggle for liberation started in the 1400’s when the continent was invaded by Europeans. Subsequently, millions of Africans were taken to the Americas as slaves. The African people’s struggle against white (European) domination produced leaders such as Toussaint L’Ouverture who defeated the French in Haiti in the 1700’s. This article will deliberately omit the invasion of ancient Egypt by the Hyksos and by Alexander before the Common Era as well as by the Muslims with their Jihads in the seventh century in the Common Era.

In South Africa, our struggle for liberation started when the Dutch people from Europe landed in this country in 1652. It did not start even with the establishment of the South African Native National Congress, the ANC’s predecessor in 1912, or with Nelson Mandela. Waves and waves of European invaders from England and other countries continued to come to South Africa and tensions continued to simmer. Many gallant Africans Kings, not only in what came to be known as South Africa but also in Southern Africa and Africa in general, fought against white encroachment. Kings such as Moshoeshoe, Sekhukhune, Hintsa and others fought against white domination and were victorious but European invaders would not let up.

There were different phases of our struggle for liberation in the so called South Africa, which include Imbumba Ya Manyama, the African People’s Organisation, SANNC, the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) and the Black Consciousness Movement. These organizations had intelligent, gallant and outstanding leaders. This writer would like to choose only one of them, the founding President of the PAC, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, who had an act of Parliament passed specifically for him known as The Sobukwe Clause aimed to keep him indefinitely in prison and was renewed annually. Sobukwe served time on Robben Island and was kept under solitary confinement for six years, when he had served and completed his prison sentence, because Apartheid authorities said they feared him. They did not say they feared Nelson Mandela. In fact, one of the Prime Ministers of South Africa, in response to a foreign journalist’s question about the conditions of political prisoners on Robben Island said there was only one political prisoner on Robben Island and that prisoner was Robert Sobukwe. The rest of the prisoners were, according to the said Prime Minister, his followers. Mandela was also included among Sobukwe’s followers. Now where does the idea of celebrating Mandela’s birthday come from and why should we celebrate Mandela’s birthday and not Sobukwe’s birthday on the 5th December?

The answer to the above question can be found in Chinweizu’s book, Decolonising the African Mind, published in 1987. He writes that when the Nobel Peace Prize is bestowed on a person from the Third World, the prizes have, almost invariably, gone to persons who have accommodated themselves to the Western world outlook and served its interests. The Peace Prize is for preserving the peace on Western terms, or for engineering a battle truce on terms compatible with the interests of the West, or for limiting the damage to Western interests from insurrections by the oppressed. Thus, when rebellions seriously challenge Western hegemony and white racism, the Peace Prize is brought out to manipulate them into channels least threatening to Western power.

Chinweizu gave the cases of Martin Luther King and Desmond Tutu. The award to Albert Luthuli in 1961 was politically quite similar to that of Tutu (1984) and Nelson Mandela (1992). He says that when Martin Luther King was awarded the prize in 1964, he was competing with Malcolm X for the allegiance of the African-American population. King was following the non-violent path to African-American emancipation from American racism. Malcolm X was beginning to gather opposition to the non-violent campaign which he diagnosed as futile. Malcolm X’s way was far more threatening to white America and to the interests of the entire Western world than King’s. By giving King the Nobel Peace Prize, Chinweizu says the establishment of the white West intervened in the black rebellion, and gave a prestigious boost to that faction which they judged more tame and accommodating.

It is obvious that the white West are giving the ANC faction a boost against the PAC by drumming up support for this dubious Mandela Day. What is it based on? The first political prisoners on Robben Island in modern times were PAC members that included the longest-serving political prisoner on Robben Island, Jafta Masemola, who also spent nine years in solitary confinement.

Moreover, Mandela sold us out and compromised the future of African children. He was out-maneuvered by South African and foreign corporations during the secret negotiations in which he and the ANC appropriated to themselves, and arrogantly excluded the PAC and Black Consciousness organizations, the right to determine the solution to the Azanian question. So why should we celebrate the birthday a person such as this? Let those corporations, the white West and some sections of South Africa’s white ruling elite celebrate Mandela Day because they scored big from the secret deals they held with him.

Finally, the SABC hosts of radio programmes, especially Ashraf Garda, are refusing to read my smses and emails in which I oppose Mandela Day. They want to manufacture consent. There is no consent on Mandela Day among many South Africans, who feel the same way as this writer that he does not deserve to be elevated higher that Robert Sobukwe.

By Sam Ditshego
The writer is a Senior Researcher at the Pan Africanist Research Institute (PARI).


  1. I could not agree more than this, so sad and yet so true. The Africans were completely sold out to secure the colonial interests. I personally don’t recognise him as a saint but a true sellout.

    1. Nelson Mandela was an ANC quisling who was at his best when he was piously assuring the enemy of his own harmlessness to white interests.

  2. GREAT WORK…. Malcolm X warns people of African descent to wary of their leaders consistently praised by the west.

  3. The PAC under the leadership of Robert Sobukwe organised the 21 March 1960 which culminated in the killing of unarmed and peaceful demonstrators in Sharpeville. After the Sharpeville massacre, the United Nations declared March 21 as a Day for the Elimanation of Racial Discrimination. It did not name March 21 after Robert Sobukwe. It was because of the PAC and its founding President, Robert Sobukwe that the world came to know about the naked brutality of the Apartheid government and not because of the ANC and Melson Mandela. It was the PAC and Robert Sobukwe that caused the brutal system of Apartheid to be discussed at international forums. It was not the ANC and Nelson Mandela. How does it come that the PAC and Robert Sobukwe have suddenly been dropped from the lexicon of the UN and the the literature of the struggle against the brutal system of Apartheid when the world came to know about that brutal system through the PAC and its founding President, Robert Sobukwe? The UN has now personalised the struggle against Apartheid which they did not do in the 1960’s. The UN no longer mentions Sobukwe, the great leader who made the world and the UN itself aware about the fight against Apartheid and the brutality of the Apartheid government. Sobukwe the great leader who was identified by Apartheid authorities as a threat and a person who had a magnetic personality. Sobukwe who was discussed in the Apartheid parliament which enacted the Sobukwe Clause to keep him in detention indefinitely. If the UN was genuine it was against racial descrimination then Sobukwe should have been the first leader who should have been honoured by having declared 5th December Sobukwe Day which could have been celebrated around the world many years back. But because the UN in keeping with the hidden agenda of the white West they could not honour Sobukwe because as I Chinweizu wrote in his Decolonising the African Mind, those who threaten the interests of the white West will never be honoured. When the UN was founded in 1945 there were many delegates who belonged to the US’ Council on Foreign Relations such as Alger Hiss who was later falsely accused as being a Soviet spy. I have previously written about the CFR and those who follow my writings must now be familiar with the modus operandi of the CFR. The UN was designed to serve the interests of the white West. That is why they honoured their client Nelson Mandela.

  4. I am trying to show the majority of PAC members who are active and those that are not active to be aware that the celebration of this dubious Mandela Day is a propaganda war the ANC won against the PAC and during the time of exile and at the present moment but they don’t seem to realise it. Last week former PAC Secretary General and MP, Mike Muendane was a panelist in a SAFm radio discussion on what unites South Africans. The radio programme host Ashraf Garda suggested that Nelson Mandela united South Africans. Muendane did not oppose this view. Muendane must be aware that before he died in October 1990, former PAC President Zeph Mothopeng said Mandela sold us out. About a month ago, former ANC government Minister, Ronnie Kasrils who says he joined the ANC after the Sharpeville massacre, wrote in the UK Guardian that the ANC sold Africans down the river and that Mandela delegated young economists to go and negotiate with representatives of foreign and local corporations and did not monitor them. Consequently, these young economists were out-manuvered by these corporations. Muendane himself once told Mandela to his face that he was not answerable to him. But today he fails to say it publicly that Mandela can’t be a unifying factor because he sold us out or is atleast perceived that way. I am sure that Muendane and many other people know that Mandela is not more deserving of honour than PAC founding President, Robert Sobukwe. After the Sharpeville massacre the United Nations declared March 21 a Day Against Racial Discrimination. The UN did not personalise it and name it Sobukwe or PAC Day. It was because of the PAC under the leadership of Sobukwe that the international community came to know about the brutality of the Apartheid system and not because of the ANC and Mandela. So how did it happen that the UN recognises Mandela above Sobukwe the leader who helped make them aware of the brutality of the Apartheid system? Does the UN not have institutional memory and peruse their records from time to time? Let us pause and think of Sobukwe’s outstanding leadership qualities; his intellect; the way he was feared by Apartheid authorities to the extent that the racist Parliament enacted a law specifically against him that was meant to keep him indefinitely in prison; the way he suffered on Robben Island and after his release in 1969 until his death in 1978; his reconciliatory spirit as recounted by Alex Borraine when he went to visit him in hospital and his love for his people and uncompromising stance and commitment to the struggle. Is this not the person the UN must have had a Day named after him? Do you know why the UN would not have set aside a day and named after Sobukwe? Because the UN was founded by Western powers who included many members from the US’s Council on Foreign Relations. Sobukwe was a threat to the interests of the West. Mandela is not. I condemn all media outlets, universities and institutions, columnists and analysts such as Mcebisi Mdletyana and the whole caboodle of them including Desmond Tutu and Archbishop Thabo Makgoba who deliberately obfuscate the importance of Sobukwe and elevate Mandela when they know quite well that Mandela is not more deserving of honour than Sobukwe.

  5. M’afrika Sam, I fully concur with your piece , the piece is well-nitted with facts and unapologetic arguments. asking the neo-liberals to honour the great soul is like asking americans to honour Marcus Garvey. There is no way they can honour a soldier who stand up for the destruction of the very same apartheid system they are sugar-coating. I ‘m of the opinion that we should declare 5 Dec- The Great Soul day, honour the african warrior in the manner that is beffiting. we can organise marches, books,memorabilia, lectures,… Its incumbent upon all Africans to honour our heroes and heroines. Izwe-lethu!

  6. I solemnly agree with thie whole story and it gives me an insight regarding the role played by other great leaders in South Africa who most of them are not at all recognised and celebrated, and this also leaves me with a question that why out of many African leaders who were effectively and literally involved in the liberation strugle Mandela is singled out as individual peace maker and the world iconn like he is god of Black nation?

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