The death of Winnie Mandela, the anti-apartheid activist and ex-wife of revolutionary Nelson Mandela, does not seem to be causing much grief for her previous supporters (having listened to a Dunnes Stores worker, who had taken part in the South Africa produce boycott of 1984, on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland).
As a person who signed the ‘Free Nelson Mandela’ petition (at the behest of my four children), which was placed on the protest table outside South Africa House (in Trafalgar Square, London), back in the late 1980s (and having had my photograph taken by one of the ‘bouncers’ on guard at the entrance of the SA High Commission), I was dismayed at the way South Africa regressed politically in the years after apartheid had been abolished in 1994.
Ms Mandela’s conviction for kidnapping, and her involvement in fraud and theft, diminished both her good works for the anti-apartheid movement and her part in the transition to democracy of the new South Aftrica.
The way that people of the socialist outlook change their emphasis when they attain power is emulated not only in third world countries, but also in democratic countries and sometimes in modern European states.
Even in Ireland, we have some of that ilk, who, once they are installed in accomodation like “the big house up in the park”, then proceed to abandon many of their previous socialist principles.
I am reminded of the section in the George Orwell book, Animal Farm, when the leaders of the revolution that expelled the tyrant from the farmhouse were to later take over that symbol of power (which was designated by the proletariat as a monument to the hardships of tyrannical domination) as a dwelling place for themselves, forever.