Written by Frederik van Dyk
Although it was a day the world knew was not too far off, South Africa’s first democratically-elected president, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, passed away peacefully on 5 December 2013 at his house in Houghton, Johannesburg, on the glorious old age of 95 years.
Mandela, or as he is more populary known, Madiba (his traditional isiXhosa ceremonial-name) was arguably the greatest fighter for freedom and liberty in the modern age.
He served as a selfless lawyer for Africans with his comrade Oliver Tambo during the early years of Apartheid, and later became the founding leader of the ANC Youth League. As commander of the ANC’s military wing Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) he presided over a number of bombing attacks against Apartheid government-buildings, but remained steadfast in his belief that human blood should not be spilt. Thanks to this semi non-violent position of his, the attacks were mainly damaging sabotage missions.
Mandela was arrested for treason and conspiracy to overthrow the government and served 27 years in prison for this- walking out a free man in 1990, after being released by President de Klerk under the latter’s reformist-policy.
Madiba is greatly revered for his role in ending Apartheid peacefully and fostering a spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation between the racial and ethnic groups of our country. His efforts to bring justice to correct the wrongdoings of the past in a peaceful fashion inspired the world and earned him the respect of billions, as could be seen in the sheer magnitude of his funeral.
Politically, Mandela was an African nationalist and democratic socialist. However, despite his favoured ideologies, he continued the Apartheid government’s neoliberal economic policy, even though many of his comrades called for a Marxist reform of the country’s economy. This decision greatly benefited the free market in South Africa. By quashing the calls for rampant nationalisation and massive wealth redistribution, and doing so avoiding the road to serfdom like many other African nations, investors once again flocked to South Africa. Many people forgot how these actions supported not only entrepreneurship and renewed courage within South Africa’s private sector, but also greatly helped to lighten the burden of poverty that crippled marginalised groups since Apartheid’s early days.
Mandela and his government supported a constitution that enshrines liberal social values with an emphasis on individual rights.
Recent years, however, have seen the slow erosion of Madiba’s legacy. State corruption, violent crime and racialist policy are trademarks of the ANC-government’s total disregard for the rights of the individual. The state is much larger than necessary, and a large public sector requires, of course, high taxes to function. Our hard earned money is squandered on a daily basis by government officials. Recent scandals in the Zuma-administration threatens to completely undermine the integrity of the entire nation.
Madiba’s legacy is under attack by the very organisation he used to liberate our nation from authoritarianism, and, typically Orwellian, the ANC is committing very much the same crimes as its predecessor, the National Party. Just consider the Protection of Information Bill, as well as the Marikana Massacre. Their continious arrogance and incompetence have given rise to radical nationalist-communist splinter groups, such as Julius Malema’s EFF.
As libertarians, let us honour the legacy of Madiba by continuing the struggle and make a stand for our rights. Let us stand up for change that will benefit the individuals of this nation. Let us plough the earth of this country to ready it for a fair, free and libertarian future!