Dark Cloud logo

 

Home

Columns

Commentary

Dark Endeavors

South Africa Reborn

Mandela's Greatest Test

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, May 04, 1994.

For years, South Africa has been a ready resource for journalists looking to display our species' more nauseous characteristics to the world. Murder, virtual slavery and a permanently consigned population of a majority race to subservience is never a pretty sight but, evidently, you can get used to it.

We did. We never even noticed the faceless, genuinely heroic individuals that lost their lives fighting a bigot's paradise. We may never know the men and women who stood up for something like dignity and decency when nobody was watching and gave the finger to the club and bullets that returned them to the utterest soil of all, the one from whence we all came. The Mandelas and the Bikos and the few white supporters all get their due, perhaps more, but will never be able to recall for us those faceless heroes of the past. There are too many and we don't know who they are anyway. We only know they existed.

Whatever else, South Africa has provided the world with some of those gooey moments that it is both an embarrassment and a pleasure to recall. There were those shots of an old black man in a wheelchair going to the polls and saying to the press, his neighbors and the principalities of the air that now, at last, he was a man. He could and would vote. And by God he was happy. And this was so irrefutable that it was positively contagious,even to me, and to look upon his happiness was to unleash my own.

More to the point, here was something rare: clear proof that old, worn liberal clich├ęs were, blushingly, true. That a democracy is a beautiful thing and has a natural self-limiter to violence when exercised by a passionate and knowledgeable electorate. It is seemingly so in South Africa, where their first election was remarkably violence free except for the brain dead white reactionaries still busily searching for something below themselves, further down the chain of being. They'll never find it. The United States has had more violent elections; 1968 comes to mind.

There was no black on black violence, probably because the Zulus have been exposed as pawns of the whites and because without voting their gang leaders would be irrelevant.

How exciting it must be in South Africa tonight. There is a palpable energy that comes when a guilt is dealt with, a long delayed good deed done, bolstered by the surety that South Africa is one of the world's most favored nations, that it starts its real life with money aplenty. Imagine the pressure on Mandela and the ANC: if in five years South Africa is a Rwanda or an Ivory Coast when the transition period is over, then the racists will have a body of evidence hard to dispute. Through his own courage - and that cannot be watered down, no matter how hard you try for rational balance; the man is a paragon - Mandela is the instrument for his nation's redemption to itself. If he doesn't put together a solid government, he will erase it all. Amazingly, Mandela has already stated he will keep the head of the army, among others. Restraint is always the hallmark of greatness; the fact he is now handing over his military to a bunch of gang lords or party hacks despite what must be unbelievable pressure speaks volumes. Good for him, good for them. Awfully impressive.