Aug. 6, 2021

Provoked Thoughts Revisited

60 Second Thought of the Day (2015)
Revisiting My Provoked Thoughts
South African Blacks and American Blacks

Please don’t come for Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King on their choices to integrate rather than to separate

This morning’s USA Today posted an article that asked a question: Was Nelson Mandela a sellout? It based the question on the fact that since demolishing apartheid 25 years ago economic conditions in South Africa has actually worsened for black South Africans. In South Africa white households earn as much as six times the income of black households. That question can be asked but the blame doesn’t fall at the feet of Nelson Mandela for the current economic plight of blacks in South Africa.

Our South African brothers and sisters must understand that Nelson Mandela utilized many of the same negotiating strategies for freedom from apartheid that American blacks used in wrestling away from ills of Jim Crow. The major and primary difference is that black South Africans held the majority count in terms of numbers of actual citizens. White South Africans comprise about 9% of the total population of the country. So when it came time to negotiate apartheid’s end 25 years ago the threat of civil war was a real dilemma facing both sides of the table. It could be said that had Nelson Mandela and the ANC wanted too they could have demanded that every white person immediately leave South Africa. This would have probably set off terroristic conditions that most likely would have rivaled any of the current situations we have presently in the war torn Middle Eastern nations. White South Africans aligning with international white supremacy powers to maintain economic control of wealth, military and judicial powers and black South Africans with the people numbers but not the military numbers taking on those powers to completely terminate whites in the country. It would have indeed been a bloody, gory, and animalistic mess which would have had incredible human loss on both sides.

The problem that confronted the ANC is similar to the problems that faced black Americans during the period know as the Civil Rights Movement. Black Americans could’ve decided that no marching would work against the evils of Jim and Jane Crow. Our leaders could’ve simply said the hell with attempting to work within this evil system. Let’s get whatever arms we have and strike out against those that strike at us. Well. we all know how that outcome would’ve ended up, right? Black Americans facing the full force of the strongest nation in the world with arms. Black would have been terminated, eliminated and silenced the voices of protest forever. So leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. called out for a moral war against injustice. That moral war ignited a movement and that movement proved victorious when in 1964 the Civil Rights Bill was passed quickly followed in 1965 by the Voting Rights Act. Black Americans chose integration over confrontation.

These black South African civil rights models that Nelson Mandela and the ANC utilized were many of the same strategies implemented by King and his followers. Mandela achieved victory at the bargaining table in Johannesburg in 1990. They allowed white South Africans to maintain economic powers while Mandela sought sought civil and judicial power. Mandela chose integration over physical confrontation. The major flaw in that decision is that the integration has failed to bring economic equality to black South Africans. Thomas Piety, noted economist stated at the recent Nelson Mandela lecture in Soweto; “Black economic empowerment has failed” and that 60-65% of the wealth in South Africa still lays in the hands of the white minority. You see those in power understood something in the 1990’s they learned that if black South Africans chose integration over physical confrontation like black Americans did in 1964. White South Africans still had the major trump card; economic control over all decisions related to the majority race. Hence, white South Africans learned from the best white Americans on how to maintain control when allowing someone new at the party.

While it took Martin Luther King Jr. only 3 years to understand he had indeed been snookered by agreeing to Civil Rights Legislation without Economic Reparations Legislation hence his statements: “redistribute the pain” and “integrating into a burning house of injustice”. It has taken black South Africans 25 years to understand that the dilemma facing the ANC and Nelson Mandela in 1990 to choose integration over confrontation was quite difficult because maybe just maybe Nelson wasn’t fully aware of Dr. King’s final days of struggle when he understood the peril he had thrusted his followers into.

So black South Africans, you cannot come after Nelson Mandela for his choice of integration over physical confrontation because the ANC were facing master manipulators who understood they were dealing from a stacked deck. Either choice made by the opposition seeking to be release from those chains of apartheid was essentially fine with them. Either choice made by the leaders of the ANC would be dealt with swiftly and decisively.

Now black South Africans don’t allow what happened to black Americans happen to you. The time is still available for the majority to adjudicate economic justice to those in need of equality in the marketplace. The most valuable commodity in the world I believe is land. So go back to the table of justice black South Africans and demand the land reparations model you seek. It is important that black South Africans base that decision on a renewed plan of land reform. You need not drag the memory of Nelson Mandela’s name in the mud. Mandela was simply thinking rationally that integration was the honorable choice. The problem is that honor is not the word the oppressor of economic injustice understands or works toward in any equitable sense.

Relating to my black American brothers and sisters if the majority race in South African got snookered by choosing integration over confrontation without any specific economic reparations in place. How do you think we as a community of people fared in that similar scenario in 1964? The only way we can recover our power economically is to build it together as one defined focused group. We can no sooner place the blame on our current condition on those in the civil rights movement as black South Africans can lay the blame at the footsteps of Nelson Mandela.


12.08.2021 12:15

Bea Hill

I feel this is a very good measured assessment of the South African as well as the African American road to their future healing.