Tag: Nelson Mandela

Ruud Gullit and the Struggle for South African Freedom

Ruud Gullit was more than a total footballer. It was not for no reason that the late Nelson Mandela praised him as ‘a source of tremendous inspiration for young people, not only in Holland or Europe, but throughout the world.’ More than a footballer, he was a musician (although not anywhere as accomplished in the latter field as he was the former). And more than a musician, he was a voice.

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Winnie Mandela on the exceptionalism ascribed to Nelson Mandela

Mandela was extricated from the masses. He was made an idol, almost Jesus Christ! This is nonsense, a lot of nonsense. The freedom of this country was attained by the masses of this country. It was attained by the children who gave their lives in 1976, who faced machine guns with stones and dustbin lids. It was attained by women who were left to fend for their families. They fought the enemy! We are the ones who fought the enemy physically, who went out to face their bullets. The leaders were cushioned behind bars. They don’t know. They never engaged the enemy on the battlefield …

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Nelson Mandela and how we talk about the state in Africa

The first point to recognize is that most states in Africa were formed as a consequence of independence struggles. State power followed long and bitter anti-colonial struggles, with the promise not only of building a nation, but also enabling a public sphere. The consequences of these struggles have had an enduring and lasting effect on the political formation of the state in Africa. The second is that many of these states came into being at the height of the Cold War. And the ideological struggles of the Cold War have had devastating consequences for the shape of African politics.

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