South Africa has been in a volcano, what with the political detritus rising
up and swallowing the surrounding country.
Let's start with the man whom no one dares to criticize, Mandela. No, not
his wife, Winnie. Nelson himself. He couldn't stand her. After all, she
was involved in various murders of opponents and in other
depredations. But he could tolerate all kinds of monstrous political
leaders. To him, Castro, Khaddafi, Arafat and the usual despots from
sub-Saharan Africa were all in what was termed "the progressive camp." The
non-aligned bloc. The fact is that, aside from Pandit Nehru, they were all
tyrants and unabashed tyrants, at that. But give Mandela his due. The
U.S., under a Republican president or a Democratic one, effectively tilted
towards apartheid Pretoria. And the Kremlin titled toward the A.N.C. What
was Mandela to do?
Thabo Mkebi was Mandela's designated successor, a succession lubricated by
the Rockefeller Foundation which has not yet apologized to anyone -- and
especially not the South Africans -- for paving the way for president who
forced the country to take his wisdom on AIDS. As it happens, his approach
to HIV was that of a witch doctor, and he has still been interceding
against the rational protocols that have to some extent limited the virus'
Then, in the last few weeks, Jacob Zuma has wrested control of the African
National Congress from Mbeki who, in comparison to his opponents, is a very
civilized man. Cry, the beloved country. Also a gangster and a crook,
Zuma has inflicted on Mbeki "humiliating defeats," as William MacNamara
reported to the weekend FT, and then went on to elevate Winnie
Madikizela-Mandela to the ruling national executive of the Congress with
the greatest number of votes of any candidates. The trajectory of South
Africa, once again, is tyranny, tyranny by election.