"Mandela Was Exactly What the Doctor Ordered": Mushkat Parker Reminisces on the Man South Africans Simply, Yet Fondly, Called "Tata". His Power of Forgiveness Will Be Hard to Emulate. but Where Did He Stand on South Africa's Foreign and Domestic Policy? How Will His Staunch HIV/aids Campaign Be Moved Forward?

By Parker, Mushkat | New African, January 2014 | Go to article overview

"Mandela Was Exactly What the Doctor Ordered": Mushkat Parker Reminisces on the Man South Africans Simply, Yet Fondly, Called "Tata". His Power of Forgiveness Will Be Hard to Emulate. but Where Did He Stand on South Africa's Foreign and Domestic Policy? How Will His Staunch HIV/aids Campaign Be Moved Forward?


Parker, Mushkat, New African


MITH THE PASSING OF the 'Father of the Beloved Country' the underlying and recurring theme in Nelson Mandela's philosophical DNA remains the power of forgiveness which he uncannily exuded by disarming even his most die-hard of detractors through the generosity of his spirit and deportment, firmly rejecting any notion of a Maoist 'cult of personality' or even sainthood, preferring to be a sinner who was trying to do something good.

When the softly-spoken African butler of the assassinated South African Prime Minister Dr Hendrik Verwoerd-who was generally recognized as the Apostle of Apartheid, was asked in 1966 what kind of man he was, the butler almost instinctively replied: "He was a kind but very wrong man."

Fast forward some 28 years, and another South African leader, a certain Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the first elected President of a non-racial South Africa, on a visit to the notorious Robben Island Prison, where he was incarcerated for 18 of his 27 years in gaol, paid tribute to one of his jailers, Christo Brand.

"You know who this person is?" he enquired from a number of members of parliament accompanying him on that visit to the Island after being newly-elected in 1994. "This person was my warden. This person was my friend."

In a subsequent group photograph, Mandela insisted Christo Brand be in the photo. "You must stand next to me, we belong together," he quipped. Today, the former warden and jailer, still works on Robben Island but as a tourist guide to the museum, into which the prison has now metamorphosed.

"What counts in life," he once said, "is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead."

It is that spirit of generosity in forgiving and forging new relationships with foes that makes Nelson Mandela stand out from mere mortals such as Verwoerd.

In the [20.sup.th], Century, it is only Mahatma Ghandi, Mandela's hero, and he who stood out as the true icon of humanity.

Yet the reality suggests that as good a statesman that Mandela was--especially in reconciling a post-apartheid South Africa, warts and all--as a politician his acumen did sometimes desert him. This was either because of inexperience, (he was overawed by the sheer office of the Presidency) or he was swayed by the politically-motivated counsel of his advisers. Nor was the African National Congress (ANC) able to fast-track its transformation from a liberation movement into a ruling political party.

This impacted on foreign policy and domestic issues alike, including affirmative action, land reforms, minority rights and poverty alleviation; and matters pertaining to his ruling ANC party including cronyism and corruption. Some critics have suggested that in terms of foreign policy, his biggest faux pas was to refuse the Ataturk Award, Turkey's most prestigious state honour.

"As you know he was my hero and I am tearful right now over his death. Unfortunately, a minority of people in Ankara (the Turkish capital), are still bitter about him refusing the Award. I was expecting that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan would attend Mandela's funeral but he sent his deputy Ali Babacan instead," explained a Turkish film director who is close to the ruling AK Party.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Mandela was nominated for the Ataturk Award in 1992, in recognition of his life long struggle against apartheid.

The ANC explained the decision to refuse the award thus: "... Nelson Mandela has spent his whole life in the service of democracy, human rights and freedom from oppression. The ANC wishes to state quite categorically that Mr Mandela has not accepted the Ataturk Award, and has no plans to visit Turkey, but the ANC's attitude does not reflect any negative view of Kemal Ataturk, the reformer and founder of modern Turkey."

Years later, an ANC stalwart and fellow Robben Island inmate, Seddick Isaacs, explained to me that in hindsight, Mandela regretted refusing the Award, saying that at the time he was wrongly advised to reject it. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

"Mandela Was Exactly What the Doctor Ordered": Mushkat Parker Reminisces on the Man South Africans Simply, Yet Fondly, Called "Tata". His Power of Forgiveness Will Be Hard to Emulate. but Where Did He Stand on South Africa's Foreign and Domestic Policy? How Will His Staunch HIV/aids Campaign Be Moved Forward?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.