Charges by the Prosecution-
“The white people bought and sold him like that…”
“He betrayed the blacks of South Africa; he was a Western Stooge…..”
“He should have done more for South Africa…..”
“They broke him when he was in prison….”
Kabir Kareem-Bello for the Defence
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, these charges have been laid against my client over the past few years by various factions. The defence contends that these accusations are based on unfounded postulation and emotional reasoning. I will not eulogise the man; world leaders, celebrities and better orators than me have already done so extensively. Instead I will attempt defend him against the baseless charges listed above.
The prosecution have not been able to provide a single cogent motive for the actions my client has been charged with. The main crux of these charges is based on the notion that my client gave black South Africans a raw deal at the end of Apartheid era. The prosecution alleges that my client failed to adhere to content of the ANC Freedom Charter. Most crucially, the vast social and economic disparity in South Africa since the end of Apartheid is the prosecutions “smoking gun” against my client. It has even been suggested by some that life was better in South Africa when the whites were in charge. The defence deem these charges fallacious and a travesty not only against my client but the Thousands who fought and died to bring an end to one of the darkest periods of the 20th century, Apartheid. These unsung heroes and heroines of all races must not be forgotten.
The defence accuses the prosecution of trivialising the horrors and effects of Apartheid by bringing these accusations against my client. Additionally, they lack knowledge and understanding of history. He is accused of being a traitor because the “equality, freedom, riches etc.” that was expected after the end of Apartheid has not materialised at the speed that some expected. You, members of the jury must acknowledge that the current situation in South Africa is a residue of hundreds of years of colonialism and over 50 years of the systematic and absolute application of Apartheid. There are multiple generations of South Africans who did not receive adequate education; do you know what this does to the fabric of a nation. Four years as President of Nation is insufficient time to heal years of physical, and mental torment and anguish.
Before Mr. Mandela was the hero to millions around the world, he was fighting for justice for thousands of people as lawyer in the townships of South Africa. Before he was the face of hope and personification of fight for freedom and equality, he had fought and won many battles against a system which stripped human beings of their dignity, curtailed their freedom and abused their human rights. The defence does not suggest that people should not be angry at the current situation in South Africa. Poverty is rife amongst the black majority; whilst the vast majority of the country’s natural wealth still belongs to the white minority. To lay the cause at my client’s feet is as disingenuous as suggesting that he brought down Apartheid single handedly.
There are those who say that my client was broken in prison, which is why he gave up the armed struggle, and bowed to the demands of the white minority government. This argument lacks intelligence and is logically flawed. My client took up the armed struggle as a last resort because the oppressors used violence against them and the world was not listening. During the 27 years in prison, his freedom was offered in exchange for giving up the armed struggle which- he had the courage to refuse. It makes no logical sense that he would “sell out” his people and the struggle, which had fought so hard and sacrificed so much for when the world was watching and listening. It would have been illogical to continue the armed struggle when the tide was turning in their favor. Mr. Mandela was the face of “the struggle” faced by millions. He was the hope of a better tomorrow that wouldn’t die; his courage gave people the strength to face the barrel of machine guns to fight for their freedom. A number tragically lost their lives; so to suggest that my client would tarnish their memories is a charge that we should all fight against.
The defence acknowledges that Mr. Mandela and the ANC leadership made a number of concessions during the negations to end Apartheid namely failure to nationalise the country’s vast mineral resources and repatriation of land. The long and hard fought battle against Apartheid was on the cusp of being won; it would be unfair to expect my client to begin the fight against capitalism. The economic powers belonged to a few in South Africa similar to the vast majority of countries in the world. The political battle had been won with the end of Apartheid and the foundations for the economic battles had been laid. My client and the ANC leadership expected this battle to be continued by the next generation of freedom fighters. As a leader of the fight against racial inequality and struggle for freedom & equality; and then the leader of a nation, Mr. Mandela understood that it was a lot harder to sue for peace than to start a war. He had the courage and foresight to put aside his own bitterness and anger in order to unite and heal a nation.
There can be no peace in the world without freedom from inequality. Poverty is a form of Apartheid for millions across the world; the difference is that it does not care about race or creed. The fight for justice, equality and freedom did not end when my client walked out prison on the 11th of February 1990; in fact it was just the beginning. My client knew this, after his tenure as president; he continued the fight for freedom for his people through educating the nation about the scourge of HIV in South Africa.
In this age of # activists; we should not project the limits of our comprehension on Mr. Nelson Mandela. Do not trivialise the sacrifices made by him and thousands of others who fought for the rights of the basic freedoms that you take for granted. Based on the arguments above, my client has no case to answer.
The defence for Nelson Mandela, the last freedom fighter rests.
Till next time next week-KKB Out