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conAdios Madiba, Nelson Rolihlahla MANDELA ·· 18 July 1918 · Mvezo, Unión of Sudáfrica · 5 December 2013 · Johannesburgo, Gauteng, Sudáfrica ·· autobiography Long Walk to Freedom ·· ኔልሰን ማንዴላ · نيلسون مانديلا · ܢܠܣܘܢ ܡܐܢܕܝܠܐ · نيلسون مانديلا · নেলছন মেণ্ডেলা · Нэльсан Мандэла · Нелсън Мандела · নেলসন ম্যান্ডেলা · ནེལ་སོན་མཱན་ཌེ་ལ། · Мандела, Нельсон · نێڵسۆن ماندێلا · Νέλσον Μαντέλα · نلسون ماندلا · નેલ્સન રોલિહ્‍લાહ્‍લા મંડેલા · Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela · נלסון מנדלה · नेल्सन मंडेला · ネルソン・マンデラ · ნელსონ მანდელა · Нельсон Мандела · ನೆಲ್ಸನ್ ಮಂಡೇಲಾ · 넬슨 만델라 · نیلسَن منٛڈیلَ · Нелсон Мандела · നെൽ‌സൺ മണ്ടേല · नेल्सन मंडेला · نلسون ماندلا · नेल्सन मण्डेला · 曼德拉 · 纳尔逊·曼德拉 · נעלסאן מאנדעלע · ნელსონ მანდელა · 纳尔逊·曼德拉 · نیلسن منڈیلا · Нельсон Мандела · نىلسۇن ماندىلا ·· Apartheid in South Africa · Απαρτχάιντ · Apartheid · ئاپارتاید · আপার্টহাইট · Апартейд · Апартэід · Apartheids · Aparteid · ابارتهيد · أبارتيد · Апартеид · Apartheed · Апартеид · 아파르트헤이트 · Апартеид · Апартхейд · აპართეიდი · アパルトヘイト· Aðskilnaðarstefnan í Suður-Afríku · रंगभेद नीति · אפרטהייד · Apartheid · آپارتاید · اپارتھائیڈ · ਰੰਗਭੇਦ ਨੀਤੀ · اپارټايډ · अपार्थेईड · ദക്ഷിണാഫ്രിക്കയിലെ വർണ്ണവിവേചനം · Апартхејд · Aparteīds · Apartheidas · Апартгьейд · אפארטהייד · 南非種族隔離 · Lâm-hui Chióng-cho̍k Keh-lī · 南非種族隔離 · اپارتھائیڈ · Апартеїд · Timog Aprika sa ilalim ng apartheid · การถือผิวในประเทศแอฟริกาใต้ · தென்னாபிரிக்காவின் இனவொதுக்கல் · Апартхејд · Aparteidi ···· biography ·· the life and times of Madiba · Apartheid ·· tallermuse · meneghino ·· Nelson Mandela: 70th Birthday Tribute performed at Wembley Stadium, produced by Tony Hollingsworth, Executive Producer of Tribute Inspirations Ltd. See: www.tonyhollingsworth.com & www.tributeinspirations.com Artists included: Al Green, Ali McGraw, Amabutho, Amapondo, Arnhem Land Dance Troupe, Ashford and Simpson, Aswad, Bee Gees, Billy Connolly, Bryan Adams, Chrissie Hynde, Chubby Checker, Corbin Bernsen, Courtney Pine, Curt Smith, Daryl Hannah, David Sanborn, Denzel Washington, Derek B, Dire Straits, Emily Lloyd, Eric Clapton, Eurythmics, Farafina, Fat Boys, Fish, Freddie Jackson, Fry & Laurie, George Michael, Graham Chapman, Gregory Hines, Grupo Experimental de Dansa, Harry Enfield, Harry Belafonte, HB Barnum, Hugh Masakela, IDJ Dancers, Jackson Browne, Jennifer Beals, Jerry Dammers, Jessye Norman, Joan Armatrading, Joe Cocker, Johnny Marr, Jonas Gwangwa, Jonathan Butler, Lenny Henry, Little Steven, Mahlatini And The Mahotella Queens, Mark Kelly, Meatloaf, Michael Palin, Mick Karn, Midge Ure, Miriam Makeba, Natalie Cole, Paul Young, Paul Carrack, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Philip Michael Thomas, Ray Lema, Richard Gere, Salif Keita, Salt n Pepa, Simple Minds, Sir Richard Attenborough, Sly & Robbie, Steve Norman, Stevie Wonder, Sting, Tony Hadley, Tracy Chapman, UB40, Wet Wet Wet, Whitney Houston, Whoopi Goldberg, Youssou NDour ·· Mandela guerrigliero che si fece icona di pace ·· Es un ideal por el que espero vivir, pero por el que estoy dispuesto a morir · 20 de abril de 1964 ·· antiapartheid ·· Elogio a Nelson Mandela by Mario Vargas Llosa · O artigo de Vargas Llosa avisa que Mandela não tem nada a ver com lulas e dilmas ·· by Desmond Tutu on Nelson Mandela Prison became a crucible · John Carlin a propósito de Mandela · Paz para Nelson Mandela by Paloma Cortina ·· Il lungo cammino verso la Libertà · Città del Capo · Terzomillennio nel 1999·· IN GALERA FIORI E DESIGN · cascina bollate ·· Attraverso il giardino ··

“To plant a seed, watch it grow, to tend it and then harvest it, offered a simple but enduring satisfaction. The sense of being the custodian of this small patch of earth offered a small taste of freedom.”
Un prisionero en el jardín 
"Fotografías, cartas y anotaciones de Nelson Mandela durante sus 27 años de prisión", de la Fundación Nelson Mandela, está editado por Penguin.
"guardare mis sueños"
“The Bible tells us that gardens preceded gardeners, but that was not the case at Pollsmoor, where I cultivated a garden that became one of my happiest diversions. It was my way of escaping from the monolithic concrete world that surrounded us. Within a few weeks of surveying all the empty space we had on the building’s roof and how it was bathed the whole day, I decided to start a garden and received permission to do so from the commanding officer.
“Each morning, I put on a straw hat and rough gloves and worked in the garden for two hours. Every Sunday, I would supply vegetables to the kitchen so that they could cook a special meal for the common-law prisoners. I also gave quite a lot of my harvest to the warders, who used to bring satchels to take away their fresh vegetables.”
“A garden was one of the few things in prison that one could control. To plant a seed, watch it grow, to tend it and then harvest it, offered a simple but enduring satisfaction. The sense of being the custodian of this small patch of earth offered a taste of freedom.
“In some ways, I saw the garden as a metaphor for certain aspects of my life. A leader must also tend his garden; he, too, plants seeds, and then watches, cultivates, and harvests the results. Like the gardener, a leader must take responsibility for what he cultivates; he must mind his work, try to repel enemies, preserve what can be preserved, and eliminate what cannot succeed.”
Excerpt from his autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom”

Nelson Mandela first interview 1961

"No hay camino fácil de la libertad en ningún lugar, y muchos de nosotros tendremos que pasar por el valle de la sombra de la muerte una y otra vez antes de llegar a la cima de la montaña de nuestros sueños"

"La muerte es algo inevitable. Cuando un hombre ha hecho lo que él considera como su deber para con su pueblo y su país, puede descansar en paz. Creo que he hecho ese esfuerzo y que, por lo tanto, dormiré por toda la eternidad"


«Estoy seguro de que si voy al cielo me dirán: '¿Quién eres tú?'. Yo diré: 'Bueno, soy Madiba'. '¿De Qunu?'. Yo diré: 'Sí'. Entonces ellos me dirán: '¿Cómo pretendes entrar aquí con todos tus pecados?'. Me dirán: 'Márchate, por favor, llama a las puertas del infierno. Puede que allí te acepten'». 

el 18 de julio de 2010, en su 92 cumpleaños.


"Aprendí que el coraje no era la ausencia de miedo, sino el triunfo sobre él. El valiente no es quien no siente miedo, sino aquel que conquista ese miedo"

"Es a través de la educación que la hija de un campesino puede convertirse en médico, que el hijo de un minero puede convertirse en jefe de la mina, que un niño de los trabajadores agrícolas puede llegar a ser el presidente de una gran nación"

"Una prensa crítica, independiente y de investigación es el elemento vital de cualquier democracia. La prensa debe ser libre de la interferencia del Estado. Debe tener la capacidad económica para hacer frente a las lisonjas de los gobiernos..."

"Durante toda mi vida me he dedicado a esta lucha del pueblo africano. He peleado contra la dominación blanca, y he peleado contra la dominación negra. He buscado el ideal de una sociedad libre y democrática, en la que todas las personas vivan en armonía"

"Para ser libre no se necesita sólo despojarse de las propias cadenas, sino vivir de una manera que respete y potencie la libertad de otros"

"Mucha gente en este país ha pagado un precio antes de mí, y muchos pagarán el precio después de mí"

"El efecto acumulativo fue apaciguar los temores de los blancos y también, de los negros, porque hubo muchos que dijeron: 'Bueno, este viejo nos ha traicionado'. Y me silbaron cuando dije: 'Apoyemos el rugby, consideremos esos chicos como nuestros chicos

Nelson Mandela


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John Carlin a propósito de Mandela AUDIO

Charlamos con el periodista y escritor John Carlin con motivo de la muerte de Mandela. Buena parte de la obra del británico trata sobre la política de Sudáfrica, lo que le hizo forjar una relación personal con Madiba. Eso lo convierte en unas de las voces más autorizadas para hablar del primer presidente negro de Sudáfrica. Hoy Carlin comparte con nosotros algunas de las anécdotas que vivió con él y que reflejan el increíble valor humano e inteligencia política del hombre que acabó con el apartheid


Hoy empieza todo con Marta Echeverria - Paz para Nelson Mandela AUDIO


06 dic 2013


Decimos adiós al primer presidente negro de Sudáfrica, al preso que supo perdonar y no quiso vengarse, al político que acabó con el apartheid, al hombre bueno que inspiró a cineastas, a escritores y al mundo entero: Nelson Mandela. Un reportaje de Paloma Cortina

Elogio a Nelson Mandela by Mario Vargas Llosa
Transformó la historia de Sudáfrica de una manera que parecía inconcebible y demostró, con su inteligencia, honestidad y valentía, que en el campo de la política a veces los milagros son posibles
.


Nelson Mandela, el político más admirable de estos tiempos revueltos, agoniza en un hospital de Pretoria y es probable que cuando se publique este artículo ya haya fallecido, pocas semanas antes de cumplir 95 años y reverenciado en el mundo entero. Por una vez podremos estar seguros de que todos los elogios que lluevan sobre su tumba serán justos, pues el estadista sudafricano transformó la historia de su país de una manera que nadie creía concebible y demostró, con su inteligencia, destreza, honestidad y valentía, que en el campo de la política a veces los milagros son posibles.


FERNANDO VICENTE

Todo aquello se gestó, antes que en la historia, en la soledad de una conciencia, en la desolada prisión de Robben Island, donde Mandela llegó en 1964, a cumplir una pena de trabajos forzados a perpetuidad. Las condiciones en que el régimen del apartheid tenía a sus prisioneros políticos en aquella isla rodeada de remolinos y tiburones, frente a Ciudad del Cabo, eran atroces. Una celda tan minúscula que parecía un nicho o el cubil de una fiera, una estera de paja, un potaje de maíz tres veces al día, mudez obligatoria, media hora de visitas cada seis meses y el derecho de recibir y escribir sólo dos cartas por año, en las que no debía mencionarse nunca la política ni la actualidad. En ese aislamiento, ascetismo y soledad transcurrieron los primeros nueve años de los veintisiete que pasó Mandela en Robben Island.

En vez de suicidarse o enloquecerse, como muchos compañeros de prisión, en esos nueve años Mandela meditó, revisó sus propias ideas e ideales, hizo una autocrítica radical de sus convicciones y alcanzó aquella serenidad y sabiduría que a partir de entonces guiarían todas sus iniciativas políticas. Aunque nunca había compartido las tesis de los resistentes que proponían una “África para los africanos” y querían echar al mar a todos los blancos de la Unión Sudafricana, en su partido, el African National Congress, Mandela, al igual que Sisulu y Tambo, los dirigentes más moderados, estaba convencido de que el régimen racista y totalitario sólo sería derrotado mediante acciones armadas, sabotajes y otras formas de violencia, y para ello formó un grupo de comandos activistas llamado Umkhonto we Sizwe, que enviaba a adiestrarse a jóvenes militantes a Cuba, China Popular, Corea del Norte y Alemania Oriental.

Debió de tomarle mucho tiempo —meses, años— convencerse de que toda esa concepción de la lucha contra la opresión y el racismo en África del Sur era errónea e ineficaz y que había que renunciar a la violencia y optar por métodos pacíficos, es decir, buscar una negociación con los dirigentes de la minoría blanca —un 12% del país que explotaba y discriminaba de manera inicua al 88% restante—, a la que había que persuadir de que permaneciera en el país porque la convivencia entre las dos comunidades era posible y necesaria, cuando Sudáfrica fuera una democracia gobernada por la mayoría negra.

En aquella época, fines de los años sesenta y comienzos de los setenta, pensar semejante cosa era un juego mental desprovisto de toda realidad. La brutalidad irracional con que se reprimía a la mayoría negra y los esporádicos actos de terror con que los resistentes respondían a la violencia del Estado, habían creado un clima de rencor y odio que presagiaba para el país, tarde o temprano, un desenlace cataclísmico. La libertad sólo podría significar la desaparición o el exilio para la minoría blanca, en especial los afrikáners, los verdaderos dueños del poder. Maravilla pensar que Mandela, perfectamente consciente de las vertiginosas dificultades que encontraría en el camino que se había trazado, lo emprendiera, y, más todavía, que perseverara en él sin sucumbir a la desmoralización un solo momento, y veinte años más tarde, consiguiera aquel sueño imposible: una transición pacífica del apartheid a la libertad, y que el grueso de la comunidad blanca permaneciera en un país junto a los millones de negros y mulatos sudafricanos que, persuadidos por su ejemplo y sus razones, habían olvidado los agravios y crímenes del pasado y perdonado.

Habría que ir a la Biblia, a aquellas historias ejemplares del catecismo que nos contaban de niños, para tratar de entender el poder de convicción, la paciencia, la voluntad de acero y el heroísmo de que debió hacer gala Nelson Mandela todos aquellos años para ir convenciendo, primero a sus propios compañeros de Robben Island, luego a sus correligionarios del Congreso Nacional Africano y, por último, a los propios gobernantes y a la minoría blanca, de que no era imposible que la razón reemplazara al miedo y al prejuicio, que una transición sin violencia era algo realizable y que ella sentaría las bases de una convivencia humana que reemplazaría al sistema cruel y discriminatorio que por siglos había padecido Sudáfrica. Yo creo que Nelson Mandela es todavía más digno de reconocimiento por este trabajo lentísimo, hercúleo, interminable, que fue contagiando poco a poco sus ideas y convicciones al conjunto de sus compatriotas, que por los extraordinarios servicios que prestaría después, desde el Gobierno, a sus conciudadanos y a la cultura democrática.

Como la gota persistente que horada la piedra, fue abriendo puertas en esa ciudadela de desconfianza.


PEDRO UGARTE (AFP)

Hay que recordar que quien se echó sobre los hombros esta soberbia empresa era un prisionero político, que, hasta el año 1973, en que se atenuaron las condiciones de carcelería en Robben Island, vivía poco menos que confinado en una minúscula celda y con apenas unos pocos minutos al día para cambiar palabras con los otros presos, casi privado de toda comunicación con el mundo exterior. Y, sin embargo, su tenacidad y su paciencia hicieron posible lo imposible. Mientras, desde la prisión ya menos inflexible de los años setenta, estudiaba y se recibía de abogado, sus ideas fueron rompiendo poco a poco las muy legítimas prevenciones que existían entre los negros y mulatos sudafricanos y siendo aceptadas sus tesis de que la lucha pacífica en pos de una negociación sería más eficaz y más pronta para alcanzar la liberación.

Pero fue todavía mucho más difícil convencer de todo aquello a la minoría que detentaba el poder y se creía con el derecho divino a ejercerlo con exclusividad y para siempre. Estos eran los supuestos de la filosofía del apartheid que había sido proclamada por su progenitor intelectual, el sociólogo Hendrik Verwoerd, en la Universidad de Stellenbosch, en 1948 y adoptada de modo casi unánime por los blancos en las elecciones de ese mismo año. ¿Cómo convencerlos de que estaban equivocados, que debían renunciar no sólo a semejantes ideas sino también al poder y resignarse a vivir en una sociedad gobernada por la mayoría negra? El esfuerzo duró muchos años pero, al final, como la gota persistente que horada la piedra, Mandela fue abriendo puertas en esa ciudadela de desconfianza y temor, y el mundo entero descubrió un día, estupefacto, que el líder del Congreso Nacional Africano salía a ratos de su prisión para ir a tomar civilizadamente el té de las cinco con quienes serían los dos últimos mandatarios del apartheid: Botha y De Klerk.


DAVID BRAUCHLI (AP)

Cuando Mandela subió al poder su popularidad en Sudáfrica era indescriptible, y tan grande en la comunidad negra como en la blanca. (Yo recuerdo haber visto, en enero de 1998, en la Universidad de Stellenbosch, la cuna del apartheid, una pared llena de fotos de alumnos y profesores recibiendo la visita de Mandela con entusiasmo delirante). Ese tipo de devoción popular mitológica suele marear a sus beneficiarios y volverlos —Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Fidel Castro— demagogos y tiranos. Pero a Mandela no lo ensoberbeció; siguió siendo el hombre sencillo, austero y honesto de antaño y ante la sorpresa de todo el mundo se negó a permanecer en el poder, como sus compatriotas le pedían. Se retiró y fue a pasar sus últimos años en la aldea indígena de donde era oriunda su familia.
Mandela es el mejor ejemplo que tenemos - uno de los muy escasos en nuestros días - de que la política no es sólo ese quehacer sucio y mediocre que cree tanta gente, que sirve a los pillos para enriquecerse y a los vagos para sobrevivir sin hacer nada, sino una actividad que puede también mejorar la vida, reemplazar el fanatismo por la tolerancia, el odio por la solidaridad, la injusticia por la justicia, el egoísmo por el bien común, y que hay políticos, como el estadista sudafricano, que dejan su país, el mundo, mucho mejor de como lo encontraron.

Nelson Mandela by Mario Vargas Llosa

© Derechos mundiales de prensa en todas las lenguas reservados a Ediciones EL PAÍS, SL, 2013.

© Mario Vargas Llosa, 2013.

(CORDON PRESS)

Nelson Mandela: 70th Birthday Tribute

Tribute Inspirations - Nelson Mandela: 70th Birthday Tribute


Tracy Chapman - Fast Car - Nelson Mandela: 70th Birthday Tribute



Dire Straits - Walk of Life with Eric Clapton - Nelson Mandela: 70th Birthday Tribute





George Michael - Nelson Mandela: 70th Birthday Tribute



Nelson Mandela: 70th Birthday Tribute performed at Wembley Stadium Natalie Cole


Joe Cocker Mandela Concert - Nelson Mandela: 70th Birthday Tribute


Lou Reed, Neil Young Nelson Mandela: 70th Birthday Tribute


Nelson Mandela: 70th Birthday Tribute
Nelson Mandela: 70th Birthday Tribute performed at Wembley Stadium, produced by Tony Hollingsworth, Executive Producer of Tribute Inspirations www.tonyhollingsworth.com & www.tributeinspirations.com.

Artists included: Al Green, Ali McGraw, Amabutho, Amapondo, Arnhem Land Dance Troupe, Ashford and Simpson, Aswad, Bee Gees, Billy Connolly, Bryan Adams, Chrissie Hynde, Chubby Checker, Corbin Bernsen, Courtney Pine, Curt Smith, Daryl Hannah, David Sanborn, Denzel Washington, Derek B, Dire Straits, Emily Lloyd, Eric Clapton, Eurythmics, Farafina, Fat Boys, Fish, Freddie Jackson, Fry & Laurie, George Michael, Graham Chapman, Gregory Hines, Grupo Experimental de Dansa, Harry Enfield, Harry Belafonte, HB Barnum, Hugh Masakela, IDJ Dancers, Jackson Browne, Jennifer Beals, Jerry Dammers, Jessye Norman, Joan Armatrading, Joe Cocker, Johnny Marr, Jonas Gwangwa, Jonathan Butler, Lenny Henry, Little Steven, Mahlatini And The Mahotella Queens, Mark Kelly, Meatloaf, Michael Palin, Mick Karn, Midge Ure, Miriam Makeba, Natalie Cole, Paul Young, Paul Carrack, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Philip Michael Thomas, Ray Lema, Richard Gere, Salif Keita, Salt n Pepa, Simple Minds, Sir Richard Attenborough, Sly & Robbie, Steve Norman, Stevie Wonder, Sting, Tony Hadley, Tracy Chapman, UB40, Wet Wet Wet, Whitney Houston, Whoopi Goldberg, Youssou NDour.

Aquella Sudáfrica de 1991

En el verano de 2010, además de que España fuera la campeona del mundo, el planeta pudo comprobar cómo Sudáfrica, sede del Mundial, no tenía nada que ver con la misma que, dos décadas antes, había finiquitado la vergüenza. La misma que obligaba, por ley, a ser racista. La que prohibía que blancos y negros pisaran las mismas playas o que el 85% de la población pudiera elegir a sus líderes en las urnas. El 11 de febrero de 1990, Nelson Mandela salió de prisión tras 27 años en la sombra y el 17 de junio de 1991 se votaron las leyes que supusieron el fin del Apartheid. En sólo 20 años, Sudáfrica ha pasado de tener una «terrible y épica singularidad» a sufrir «los mismos problemas que el resto»: crisis económica, necesidad de mejorar el sistema educativo, el sanitario, combatir la corrupción política…

Quien hace este análisis conoce muy bien aquella realidad y ésta. El periodista John Carlin (Reino Unido, 1956) fue enviado en 1989 a Johanesburgo como corresponsal de su diario de entonces, 'The Independent', y, según describe, viajó a otro planeta: «Fue una experiencia surrealista; es una palabra que se usa demasiado, pero en este caso puede decirse así», recuerda sobre las vivencias que marcaron su desarrollo profesional. «Nunca había estado en un país en el que el racismo estuviera legalizado. Si salías al campo todavía era más claro: al poblado blanco y al negro les separaban solo 500 metros. Donde estaban los blancos había jardines, árboles, flores, casas bonitas, buenos coches, piscinas… cruzabas esos 500 metros y veías chabolas, calles sin pavimentar, no había árboles ni flores ni pájaros». Su parada anterior había sido Guatemala y ahí también había «un apartheid nefasto y brutal, pero por lo menos lo disimulaban; en Sudáfrica había una terrible honestidad».
En pocos meses, los cambios fueron propios de un siglo. Periodistas de todo el mundo, los de más experiencia de todos los medios, se desplazaron hasta Sudáfrica porque se sabía que algo estaba a punto de terminar. De la prisión de Victor Verster iba a salir el preso número 466/64 y Carlin estaba ahí para vivirlo, lo que para él fue la «gran final» de su vida: «En aquel momento los periódicos ingleses eran muy grandotes y toda la primera página era mía, por lo que como periodista tenía una presión y una tensión tremendas; para un futbolista puede ser la final de la Champions, para Rafa Nadal la final de Wimbledon; pues para mí, en un terreno mucho más humilde, aquella era mi gran final. Tenía que hacerlo muy bien».

La salida de Mandela estaba prevista para las dos de la tarde y se demoró hasta las seis. La presión crecía y convertía aquella jornada en algo histórico, aunque personalmente Carlin se queda con el día siguiente, cuando Mandela dio su primera rueda de prensa: «Eran las 7 de la mañana y estábamos en un jardín precioso en casa del arzobispo Tutu. Ahí lo vi de cerca e incluso le hice una pregunta. Inmediatamente supe que estaba en la presencia del líder político más importante que iba a conocer en mi vida». La incertidumbre era mucha. Nelson Mandela era el símbolo antiApartheid, pero de él se conocía bien poco: «Era una incógnita total. Sólo sabíamos que era un hombre de 71 años y, después de tiempo en prisión, no sabíamos ni cómo estaba física ni mentalmente. Sospechábamos que era imposible que estuviera a la altura de ese monumento que se había construido alrededor de él; y lo increíble es cómo superó las expectativas en cuanto a presencia, carisma, encanto y lucidez».
Buena prueba fue aquella comparecencia en casa de Desmond Tutu. Siete de la mañana, tras 27 años en la cárcel, 18 en Robben Island. Los mejores periodistas frente a él para cubrir la gran noticia: «Pasó algo que yo no he visto jamás en la rueda de prensa de un político: todos aplaudimos y le dimos una ovación. Esa necesidad que tenemos de mantener la distancia periodística se cayó. Se impuso el ser humano que está detrás de la máscara de periodista, ante la manifiesta grandeza de este hombre». Carlin recuerda que le preguntó cuál era la fórmula para iniciar el proceso de negociaciones para el fin del Apartheid: «Me dijo: 'Reconciliar las aspiraciones de los negros con los temores de los blancos'».
Una frase épica que, sorprendentemente, se tornó en real cuando, en abril de 1994, se convirtió en el presidente de la República de Sudáfrica: «Hay que mirar la foto en la que le está dando la mano a de Klerk [su predecesor]; hay que mirar la foto del día de su toma de posesión en la que está rodeado de los generales blancos que ahora se rendían ante él. Sorprende cómo logró reconducir los sentimientos negativos de su gente hacia la reconciliación. Y lo fantástico de eso es que, como ser humano, sentía mucha rabia por lo que su familia sufrió. Pero tuvo la inteligencia de anteponer los intereses de su país. Entendió que no iba a lograr el objetivo de la democracia si iba por el camino de la venganza».
Porque, igual que en un momento decidió que la solución era fundar un grupo terrorista [en sus 30 años de existencia mataron a unos 30 civiles], en éste supo que el futuro debía ser otro: «Él tuvo la grandeza de verlo con un tremendo pragmatismo y por eso insisto en que Mandela es un gran líder político. Es importante no verlo como un santo: es una persona, sin duda, tremendamente generosa y capaz de perdonar; pero no hay que olvidar que estos fueron sus instrumentos políticos. Lo hizo porque juzgó que la generosidad y el perdón eran las 'armas' para lograr la democracia y la paz. Si él hubiera creído, como hizo en otros momentos de su vida política, que el camino para lograr su objetivo político era la guerra, también lo hubiera hecho».
¿Y de la persona, del ser humano, con qué se queda? «Fue fantásticamente coherente. Como todos los políticos tenía su discurso y como todos, muy bonito. Pero él siempre lo mantuvo, también en su vida privada alejada de las cámaras. Tengo montones de anécdotas que demuestran ese respeto con una azafata en un avión o con una camarera en un hotel. Daba igual que estuviera con la reina de Inglaterra o con cualquiera; trataba a la gente con igual elegancia, cortesía y respeto».

* John Carlin (Reino Unido, 1956) es periodista, especializado en Política y Deportes, y escritor. Fue corresponsal en Sudáfrica para 'The Independent' de 1989 a 1995. Actualmente vive en España y trabaja para el diario 'El País'. Es autor de 'El factor humano' (Seix Barral), libro en el que se basó la película 'Invictus', de Clint Eastwood, sobre la final del Mundial de Rugby de 1995, que ganó Sudáfrica después de muchos años de boicot deportivo por el Apartheid.

Aquella Sudáfrica de 1991 by VIRGINIA HERNÁNDEZ

La Forja del rebelde
Cuando nació Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela aún existía el África de los rituales. Los hombres nacidos en la aristocracia xhosa, en el clan Madiba, al que perteneció, tomaban a su padre como ejemplo de todas las cosas. Para el niño Nelson, las andanzas de su progenitor como líder del clan fueron su mejor escuela.
Su carácter conciliador, su trabajo incansable, su labor para proteger a los más débiles del clan y su generosidad fueron sus puntos cardinales. Su niñez terminó el día quesu padre regresó muy enfermo, con pulmones encharcados de sangre, de un viaje a pie. Se sentó en su choza y pidió a su mujer que le preparara una pipa de tabaco. No podía casi respirar, pero fumó con la placidez de quien sabe que no verá el próximo amanecer. Murió tranquilo el 5 de diciembre de 2013, frente a sus 13 hijos y cuatro esposas, en su tierra. Esa imagen, la de su padre sereno a las puertas de la muerte, acompañó a Mandela de por vida.
Después de la muerte de su padre, Mandela dejó su aldea natalpara estudiar como ahijado del regente de su tribu, Jongintaba. Nada más llegar a aquella casa, huérfano y perdido, recibió de su nuevo protector estas palabras: «Sé fuerte, hijo mío». En Mqhekezweni, una urbe nacida alrededor de una iglesia metodista, Mandela disfrutó de un entorno mágico que él mismo calificó en su biografía El largo camino hacia la libertad como «el Gran Lugar».
Allí aprendió historia, inglés, geografía y le fue bien en aquel colegio, como él mismo recuerda, no porque fuera muy listo, sino muy testarudo. Las aventuras de la niñez junto a Justine, el hijo natural del regente, acabaron con un rito de paso que se hacía en una cabaña apartada: la circuncisión. El viaje de la niñez a la madurez, representado después por la quema de esas mismas chozas en las que tuvo lugar la ceremonia. Mandela ya era, pues, un adulto xhosa deseoso de ver mundo y de estudiar leyes. Su próxima estación seríaJohanesburgo, sus minas de oro y la Universidad. En 1941 terminó sus estudios de Bachillerato por correspondencia en Ford Hare y poco después su licenciatura de Derecho en la Universidad de Witwatersrand. Durante todos estos años decisivos, Mandela va comprobando cómo la segregación racial en su país desgasta y lesiona las posibilidades de igualdad y prosperidad de los sudafricanos negros, el 90% de la población.
En su primer contacto con la megaurbe, fue arrestado por llevar un revolver en la maleta, rechazado en varios trabajos y tuvo que dormir en la calle. Hasta que se cruzó en su camino un hombre decisivo en su vida: un agente inmobiliario llamado Walter Sisulu, que ya le acompañará casi de por vida. Mandela era un chico de 23 años con la cabeza llena de fantasías, pero Sisulu, nueve años mayor, ya era unveterano activista del Consejo Nacional Africano. Sisulu buscaba a personas de la energía de Mandela para renovar el partido. Nadie sabe si su nombre en xhosa, Rolihlahla (literalmente, Alborotador), tuvo que ver en esa decisión de incluirlo en una organización considerada terrorista por el Gobierno supremacista blanco. Mandela emprendió entonces el viaje más importante de su vida, el de la lucha por los derechos civiles en una Sudáfrica dividida por décadas de odio racial.
Inspirado en los métodos de resistencia pasiva de Gandhi, sus acciones más recordadas de aquella época fueron la llamadaCampaña de Desobediencia Civil de 1952 y el Congreso del Pueblo, en el que se adoptó la conocida como Carta de Libertad (1955), una durísima declaración contra el apartheid. Por aquel entonces, junto a Oliver Tambo, Mandela trabajó como abogado ayudando a ciudadanos negros en sus problemas con la Justicia.
Todas estas iniciativas pusieron a Mandela y a sus compañeros en el punto de mira del Ejecutivo de Pretoria, aterrado con la fuerza que empezada a cobrar el CNA no sólo en las universidades, sino también en los grandes townships de la capital. Como respuesta a este movimiento cada vez más pujante, Mandela y otros 150 compañeros fueron arrestados el 5 de diciembre de 1956 y sentenciados a prisión. Salieron en 1961, cuando se les declaró no culpables, un año después de la matanza de Sharpeville, cuando la policía disparó indiscriminadamente contra una manifestación de gente desarmada. Murieron 69 personas y 180 fueron heridas, todas ellas de raza negra.
Los acontecimientos se precipitaron. Mandela y unos cuantos líderes del CNA decidieron pasar a la acción y promover acciones de resistencia armada. Junto a Denis Goldberg, Harold Wolpe o Lionel Bernstein, Mandela planeó golpes de mano con una clara intención propagandística y creó el Umkhonto we Sizwe, el brazo armado del CNA. Aquello le valió el apelativo de «terrorista» no sólo por parte del régimen sudafricano, también de la ONU. En sus memorias, Mandela reconocerá después que ése no era el camino y que aquellos errores le costaron décadas de sufrimiento.
A partir de entonces, Mandela no volvería a pensar en un arma como parte de la solución, sino como parte del problema. Brian Walden, presentador de la BBC, definió a Nelson Mandela «no como un mesías, sino como un hombre ordinario que se convierte en líder en circunstancias extraordinarias». No es fácil encontrar un contexto más extraordinario que el que llevó a Mandela a convertirse en el timonel de una causa como la igualdad racial y la democracia.
La Forja del rebelde by ALBERTO ROJAS
 
Los avatares de una existencia difícil
27 años de su vida se consumieron tras los muros de cárceles sudafricanas. ¿Su pecado? Plantar cara al régimen del Apartheid. A pesar del aislamiento al que quisieron someterle, Mandela tomó las riendas. Las de su destino y las de su país.
• 18 de julio de 1918.
Nace Nelson Rolihlahia Mandela en Qunu, Umtata, capital de Trasnekei. Su destino era convertirse en el jefe del clan de los Temblu.
• 1939.
Ingresa en la Universidad de Fort Hare, la única para negros en Sudáfrica. Allí conoce a Oliver Tambo, futuro líder del Congreso Nacional Africano (CNA).
• 1940.
Condenado a un matrimonio concertado, toma la decisión de huir a Johanesburgo. En esa ciudad, su camino se cruza con el del histórico miembro del CNA Walter Sisulu.
• 1942.
Regresa a la Universidad de Fort Hare. Se gradúa en Derecho.
• 1944.
Su lucha contra la segregación racial le lleva al Congreso Nacional Africano (CNA), donde comienza una pelea tangible. Se casa con Evelyn Mase, prima de Sisulu.
• 1948.
Junto a Oliver Tambo y Walter Sisulu, funda la Liga Juvenil del CNA. Ese mismo año se convirtió en su secretario general y dos años más tarde, en su presidente.
Durante una manifestación en 1991. | Ap
• 1952.
Participa en el primer acto de desobediencia civil (desacato al toque de queda). El acoso del Gobierno le lleva a renunciar a todos sus cargos, aunque dirige el movimiento en secreto. De nuevo acompañado de Tambo, abre en Johanesburgo el primer bufete de abogados negros de Sudáfrica.
• 26 de junio de 1955.
Se adopta la Carta de la Libertad, un documento redactado en la clandestinidad que exige la consecución de una sociedad democrática, libre y multirracial.
• 5 de diciembre de 1956.
Es detenido junto a 155 personas y juzgado por alta traición. Antes de que acabe el año se inicia el juicio.
• 1958.
Se divorcia de Evelyn Mase y contrae matrimonio con Winnie. Ella se encargó de mantener viva su memoria durante los años en los que Mandela estuvo en prisión.
• 1960.
El CNA es proscrito tras la masacre de Sharpeville. La policía abre fuego contra una multitud que se manifestaba contra el Apartheid. Mueren 67 personas. Mandela, todavía en juicio, es detenido.
• 1961.
Es absuelto del cargo de alta traición tras un juicio en el que asumió su propia defensa y la del resto de los acusados.

Pasa a la clandestinidad y crea la 'Lanza de la Nación', brazo armado del CNA, del que se convierte en comandante en jefe.

Saludando en Santa Lucía, en 1998. | Ap
• 1962.
En enero, abandonó Sudáfrica y acudió a la Conferencia Panafricana de Addis Abeba (Etiopía); más tarde se dirigió a Argelia, donde recibió entrenamiento guerrillero. Su último destino: Londres. A su vuelta es juzgado por abandono ilegal del país. Le condenan a cinco años.
• 1963.
Es enviado a la cárcel de máxima seguridad de Robben Island. En noviembre comienza el juicio de Rivonia.
• 12 de junio de 1964.
Es condenado a cadena perpetua. Un día después ingresa en la prisión de Robben Island, frente a Ciudad del Cabo, junto con Sisulu y Govan Mbeki.
• 1969.
Muere su hijo mayor en un accidente de tráfico. Al igual que ocurrió en el fallecimiento de su madre, se le prohibió ir al entierro.
• 1973.
La ONU declara el Apartheid crimen contra la Humanidad.
• 1982.
Es trasladado a la prisión de Pollsmoor. Arranca una intensa campaña internacional en favor de su excarcelación.
• 10 de febrero de 1985.
Rechaza ser liberado a cambio de renunciar a la violencia. El ofrecimiento llegó de la mano

del presidente Pieter Botha. Un año después, acepta negociar con el ministro de Justicia, Kobie Coetsee, con quien se ve en su residencia.

• 12 de septiembre de 1988.
Sale de prisión para ingresar en el hospital de Tygerberg, aquejado de tuberculosis.

Después, es trasladado a la prisión de Víctor Verster.

Mandela, durante un discurso sobre la pobreza en la plaza Trafalgar de Londres. | Efe
• 4 de julio de 1989.
Se entrevista con el presidente Botha en su oficina, algo que provocó cierta controversia política

en los movimientos antiApartheid. El 13 de diciembre de ese mismo año se reúne con el nuevo presidente, Frederick de Klerk.

• 11 de febrero de 1990.
Es puesto en libertad, tras 27 años en la cárcel. Una semana antes, el CNA había sido legalizado.
Nelson y Winnie Mandela. | Radial Press
• 2 de marzo de 1990.
Elegido vicepresidente del CNA.
• 17 de junio de 1991.
Después de más de cuatro décadas, el parlamento de Sudáfrica derogaba la ley sobre segregación racial de la población.
• 06 de julio de 1991.
Nombrado presidente del Congreso Nacional Africano (CNA) por aclamación. Sustituye a Oliver Tambo.
• 15 de mayo de 1992.
Recibe el Príncipe de Asturias de Cooperación Internacional.
• 15 de octubre de 1993.
Recibe el Premio Nobel de la Paz.
• 26 de abril de 1994.
Se celebran las primeras elecciones libres de Sudáfrica. Veinte millones de ciudadanos ejercieron por primera vez su derecho al voto. Terminaron con más de 300 años de dominio blanco al otorgar a Mandela el 62,6 % de los sufragios.
• 11 de noviembre de 1994.
Jura como presidente de Sudáfrica.
• 1996.
Se divorcia de Winnie. En 1998 se casa con la mozambiqueña Graça Machel.
• 16 de diciembre de 1997.
Anuncia su retirada del CNA y de la política.
• Marzo de 1999.
Aquejado de cáncer de próstata, se despide del Parlamento dando paso a Thabo Mbeki como nuevo presidente. Desde entonces ha orientado su trabajo hacia diversas causas humanitarias desde su Fundación. En 2001 comenzó el tratamiento contra la enfermedad.
• Noviembre de 2003.
La Fundación Mandela lanza una gran campaña internacional con el objetivo de recaudar fondos para la lucha contra el sida. Lleva por nombre '46664', el número de prisionero que llevó Mandela en Robben Island.
• Julio de 2008.
El mundo celebra su 90 cumpleaños con un llamamiento a la paz. Londres le rinde homenaje con un macroconcierto y EEUU le saca al fin de su lista de terroristas.
• Noviembre de 2009.
La ONU declara el 18 de julio como su Día Internacional. En 2010 se celebró la festividad por primera vez.
• 2010.
Cuando se cumplían 20 años de su liberación, publicó 'Conversaciones conmigo mismo'. Ese mismo año, la tragedia volvió a tocar a su familia. Su biznieta Zenani Mandela, de 13 años, murió en un accidente de tráfico tras salir del concierto de apertura del Mundial de Fútbol.
 Los avatares de una existencia difícil By el mundo.es

Rolihlahla, el «revoltoso»

  1. «Además de la vida, una constitución fuerte y una vinculación con la casa real de Thembu, lo único que mi padre me dio al nacer fue un nombre, Rolihlahla. En xhosa, Rolihlahla quiere decir literalmente “arrancar una rama de un árbol” pero su significado coloquial se aproxima más a “revoltoso”. Yo no creo que los nombres predeterminen el destino, ni que mi padre adivinara de algún modo cuál iba a ser mi futuro, pero en años posteriores, tanto mis amigos como mis parientes llegaron a atribuir a ese nombre las muchas tempestades que he causado, y a las que he sobrevivido. Mi nombre inglés, o cristiano, más familiar, no me fue dado hasta mi primer día de colegio, pero me anticipo a los acontecimientos». Así reza el primer párrafo de «El largo camino hacia la libertad», la autobiografía de Nelson Mandela, publicada en España en 2010 por la editorial Aguilar.

    Nació el 18 de julio de 1918 en Mvezo, una diminuta aldea a orillas del río Mbashe, distrito de Umtata, capital del Transkei. Conocido en su país como Madiba (título honorífico otorgado por los ancianos de su clan),tras acabar los estudios de secundaria ingresó en el colegio universitario de Fort Hare. Elegido para el Consejo de Representantes Estudiantiles, fue expulsado junto a otro compañero por tomar parte en una huelga. Se fue a vivir a Johannesburgo, donde finalizó el bachillerato. Abogado (se graduó en 1942 en la universidad de Witwatersrand) y político, se casó tres veces y tuvo seis hijos. Su matrimonio más sonado y controvertido fue el segundo, con la activistaWinnie Madikizela, de la que se separó tras 38 años de matrimonio a causa de los escándalos políticos en que se vio involucrada. Cuando cumplió 80 años contrajo matrimonio con Graça Machel, viuda deSamora Machel, el mítico presidente de Mozambique.

    Fue el primer presidente en la historia de Sudáfrica en ser elegido democráticamente mediante sufragio universal. Antiguo líder del Umkhonto we Sizwe, brazo armado del Congreso Nacional Africano (CNA), fue detenido en el año 1962 y condenado por varios cargos, entre ellos el de sabotaje, a cadena perpetua. Mandela había empezado a cobrar relevancia en las filas del CNA durante la campaña de desobediencia civil de 1952, y sobre todo en el denominado Congreso del Pueblo, celebrado en 1955, y en el que se aprobó la «Carta de la libertad», programa para combatir el sistema de segregación racial imperante en el país. Es en ese período cuando Mandela y Oliver Tambo, también abogado, prestan apoyo legal a negros sin recursos. La figura de Gandhi y la no violencia inspiraban la acción de Mandela, que junto a otros 150 miembros de su partido es detenido. Sentenciados a prisión, son puestos en libertad en 1961, una vez reconocida su inocencia. Las tensiones políticas en el seno del CNA, sobre todo por cuestiones de estrategia para combatir el régimen de Pretoria, acaban provocando una escisión. Mandela aprovecha la Conferencia Pan-Africana de 1961 para hacer un llamamiento a la lucha armada y anuncia la creación del Umkhonto we Sizwe (Lanza de la nación), a imagen de los movimientos guerrilleros judíos, y a cuyo mando se sitúa el propio Mandela, que se implica en la organización de acciones de resistencia armada. Era considerado un terrorista tanto por el régimen como por la ONU. En el recién aparecido «Nelson Mandela por sí mismo» (el libro de citas autorizado), publicado por Plataforma Editorial, en la entrada “violencia” se lee: «La resistencia del hombre negro frente a los intrusos colonialistas fue aplastada por las armas. Nuestra ofensiva para liberarnos de la dominación blanca está contenida por la fuerza de las armas» (Declaración sobre la sublevación de Soweto de 1976, pasada de contrabando desde la prisión). El tono de sus opiniones se va suavizando a medida que pasa años en prisión, y sobre todo a su salida. Durante una intervención en un mitin celebrado en febrero de 1990 en un estadio de Durban, declaró: «La ira y la violencia no pueden edificar una nación».

    En el tercer capítulo de su autobiografía, escribe Madiba: «No puedo precisar en qué momento se produjo mi politización, cuándo supe que dedicaría mi vida a luchar por la liberación. Ser negro en Sudáfrica supone estar politizado desde el momento de nacer, lo sepa uno o no. (...) No experimenté ninguna iluminación, ninguna aparición, en ningún momento se me manifestó la verdad, pero la continua acumulación de pequeñas ofensas, las mil indignidades y momentos olvidados, despertaron mi ira y mi rebeldía, y el deseo de combatir el sistema que oprimía a mi pueblo».

    En 1962 fue arrestado y condenado por sabotaje (además de otros cargos) a cadena perpetua en el célebre juicio de Rivonia. Estuvo 27 años en la cárcel, la mayoría en la prisión de Robben Island, con el número 466/64 (es decir, el preso 466 del año 1964): 18 en precarias condiciones, los últimos diez en otras cárceles del régimen que combatió desde su militancia. Wikipedia recuerda uno de los aspectos menos conocidos de su cautiverio: la falsa operación de fuga que el servicio secreto sudafricano ideó en 1969 con el objetivo de asesinarle bajo la apariencia de captura. Pero el espionaje británico descubrió el compló y frustró la operación, como relató el agente británico Gordon Winteren su libro de memorias, «Inside Boss».

    Algunas de las páginas más vibrantes de sus memorias son las que se refieren a su larguísimo tiempo de prisión, y las que acabaron de forjar un carácter que desembocó en la reconciliación, no en el resentimiento. En el capítulo «Hablando con el enemigo», cuando el gobierno de P. W. Botha buscaba la manera de poner fin a la situación de su preso más famoso, escribe: «Amo profundamente mi libertad, pero amo aún más la vuestra. Ha muerto demasiada gente desde que ingresé en prisión. (...). No amo menos la vida que vosotros, pero no puedo vender mis derechos ni estoy dispuesto a vender el derecho del pueblo a ser libre... ¿Qué clase de libertad se me ofrece cuando la organización de mi pueblo sigue estando prohibida?».

    Mandela fue puesto en libertad el 11 de febrero de 1990 y encabezó la delegación de su partido en unas arduas negociaciones con las autoridades surafricanas, que desembocaron en unas elecciones libres que ganó de forma inapelable el preso más famoso del mundo. Ejerció la presidencia desde 1994 hasta 1999. Hizo de la reconciliación nacional el eje de su política. La inmensidad de los problemas de su país le hacía desvelarse. «Si yo no puedo dormir, ningún ministro debe dormir». A veces convocaba a sus ministros de madrugada. Escribe: «El día de mi liberación me desperté, tras pocas horas de sueño, a las cuatro y media de la mañana. El 11 de febrero fue un típico día de finales de verano en Ciudad del Cabo, un día claro y sin nubes. Hice una versión abreviada de mis ejercicios habituales, me lavé y desayuné. Seguidamente llamé por teléfono a una serie de compañeros del CNA y el UDF de Ciudad del Cabo para que vinieran a la casa para preparar mi puesta en libertad y trabajar en mi discurso. (...). No pensaba tanto en la perspectiva de ser libre como en la cantidad de cosas que tenía que hacer antes de que llegara el momento de serlo. Como tan a menudo ocurre en la vida, la trascendencia de una determinada ocasión puede perderse en un marasmo de detalles».

    Recibió más de 250 premios y reconocimientos, incluido en 1993 el Premio Nobel de la Paz, junto a presidente que abrió la puerta a fin del apartheid, Frederik Willem de Klerk. Junto a la madre Teresa de Calcuta y Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, ha sido el único extranjero distinguido (en 1958, cuando penaba en la cárcel) con el Bharat Ratna, el premio civil de mayor prestigio de la India, y el premio Príncipe de Asturias de Cooperación Internacional en 1992, el año de los Juegos Olímpicos de Barcelona. Sudáfrica volvía a participar en las Olimpiadas después de una ausencia de treinta años, y el futuro presidente de la superpotencia africana acudió para apoyar a su país.

    Las últimas palabras de su autobiografía son un resumen de su credo y de su grandeza: «Cuando salí de la cárcel ésa era mi misión: liberar tanto al oprimido como al opresor. Hay quien dice que ese objetivo ya ha sido alcanzado, pero sé que no es así. La verdad ese que aún no somos libres; sólo hemos logrado la libertad de ser libres, el derecho a no ser oprimidos. No hemos dado el último paso, sino el primero de un camino aún más largo y difícil. Ser libre no es simplemente desprenderse de las cadenas, sino vivir de un modo que respete y aumente la libertad de los demás». Y termina: «He recorrido un largo camino hacia la libertad. He intentado no titubear. He dado pasos en falso en mi recorrido, pero he descubierto el gran secreto. Tras subir a una colina, uno descubre que hay muchas más colinas detrás. (...) sólo puedo descansar un instante, ya que la libertad trae consigo responsabilidades y no me atrevo a quedarme rezagado. Mi largo camino aún no ha terminado». Ahora sí. Acaba de terminar. Descanse en paz, Nelson Mandela, Madiba para su pueblo, ejemplo para políticos y seres humanos de toda condición.
  2. Rolihlahla, el «revoltoso»  by ALFONSO ARMADA

¿Dos décadas sin Apartheid?
La presión internacional, en concreto la asfixia económica, hicieron el milagro el 17 de junio de 1991. Las tres cámaras del Parlamento sudafricano (blanca, mestiza e india) derogaban la última de las leyes sobre las que se sustentaba el complicado entramado legal del Apartheid: «Los recién nacidos no serán clasificados por razas». Se terminaba así con toda una cadena de normas que comenzó en 1913 con el Black Land Act, por el que la población negra podía ser desposeída de sus tierras. Casi 80 años en los que se prohibió la mezcla de razas y se dividió el país entre blancos, mestizos, indios y negros. Los primeros acaparaban todo el poder político y económico. Los demás eran comparsas, las mulas de carga del Apartheid. ¿Cómo era la Sudáfrica de 1991 y cómo es la Sudáfrica de hoy?
Hace 20 años el Gobierno sudafricano sabía que su hasta entonces inmaculada economía estaba en estado de quiebra por un goteo de sanciones internacionales que les iba arrinconando monetariamente. La Guerra Fría tocaba a su fin y EEUU y Gran Bretaña, que vieron antaño en Sudáfrica el país desde el que detener el avance del marxismo que envolvía la mayoría de procesos independentistas africanos, condenaban ahora en distintas resoluciones de la ONU el sistema racista sudafricano. Con la caída del Muro de Berlín se caía también todo un sistema de alianzas internacionales existentes en este continente.
Por entonces también, el terrorista para algunos, mito para muchos y casi desconocido para todos tras 27 años en prisiónNelson Mandela, comenzaba a tomar las riendas del Congreso Nacional Africano (era vicepresidente del partido tras algo más de un año de libertad y encabezaba unas negociaciones secretas con el Gobierno). Eran aquellos tiempos muy difíciles, ya que el último gran plan del Gobierno sudafricano estaba desangrando literalmente al país. Desde el Ejecutivo se había decidido apoyar Inkatha, un movimiento zulú que creó una guerra interna de negros contra negros. Los zulúes masacraban ferozmente los feudos dominados por el CNA, la mayoría de etnia Khosa, con la aquiescencia de la policía. «Una vez tras otra se repetía la historia. Los agentes confiscaban armas a los nuestros y al día siguiente la gente de Inkatha atacaba a los nuestros con esas mismas armas», recordaba Mandela en su libro de memorias 'Largo camino a la libertad'. «Luego se supo que la policía del Apartheid había fundado Inkatha», afirmó el ex presidente. La jugada era perfecta. A ojos de la opinión pública el Gobierno hacía las reformas exigidas y eran los propios negros los que se estaban matando entre ellos. El estado era de guerra civil encubierta, con cientos de muertos por todos las 'townships' del país (guetos de población negra). Lasmatanzas eran especialmente sanguinarias y violentas.
No fue la única jugada que salió de la cabeza de los concienzudos líderes del Partido Nacional. Antes del 17 de junio de 1991, el Apartheid se suavizó para mestizos e indios, a los que se les creó una 'cámara parlamentaria de palo' como la que tuvieron en tiempos de la colonia británica. La pérdida de esa representación, así como la de casi todos sus derechos, fue la que empujó a indios y mestizos a unirse al CNA (no sin muchas discusiones sobre la idoneidad de compartir con los negros un mismo programa político. Los recelos eran mutuos). Por entonces, la propaganda del Partido Nacional consistía en un cómic que se entregaba a la población de Ciudad del Cabo que decía: «CNA: asesino de mestizos y de granjeros».
En ese panorama social y político se derogó la última norma del Apartheid legal, pero ¿terminaba el Apartheid social? Tras dos décadas, cuatro elecciones y tres presidentes, el CNA domina políticamente Sudáfrica con una superioridad que sólo tiene contestación en Western Cape (provincia de Ciudad del Cabo), donde gobierna la Democrática Alianza, partido multirracial pero liderado por una blanca. La mayoría del voto mestizo y blanco va a la única oposición del ahora poderoso partido gubernamental. «A los mestizos no nos gusta el CNA», dicen ellos. En la práctica aquel maquiavélico cómic del Apartheid es una realidad social: los granjeros blancos se sienten amenazados y muchos han decidido marcharse y vender sus tierras por la violencia y los mestizos viven separados de los negros, con los que mantienen una relación tensa. De hecho, en las propias 'townships' sigue habiendo una separación de razas. Hay 'townships' de negros y de mestizos, pero es casi imposible verlos mezclados.
El dinero, por su parte, sigue en manos de los blancos y de una muy minoritaria parte de la población negra (en muchos casos conectada al poder político y salpicada de flagrantes casos de corrupción). Una de las grandes sorpresas de los políticos del CNA fue comprobar cuando tomaron el poder que la caja estaba vacía. «Pensaban que el Apartheid les dejaría un país rico y se encontraron con una bancarrota», explica Alec Rusell en su libro 'Después de Mandela'. El CNA aprobó entonces una ley, la BEE, por la que las empresas tienen la obligación de contratar empleados en proporción al número de habitantes de cada raza. En la práctica, para muchos, un Apartheid a la inversa; para otros, justicia social tras años de brutal represión.
Lo que se ha conseguido es reinventar clases sociales. Hay una incipiente clase media negra/mestiza y una incipiente clase blanca pobre. Muchos blancos están emigrando a otros países por la falta legal de oportunidades. Sin embargo, el proceso de cambio es muy lento y es fácil de entender con sólo pasear con el coche por muchas localidades. La perfecta ciudad de casas victorianas de los blancos está aún rodeada de miles de casas miserables donde viven los negros y mestizos hacinados. Hay mejoras, pero queda mucho por hacer.
La unión social parece lejana. Hay siempre una tensa calma. Las distintas razas viven juntas pero sin mezclarse (algo más en las generaciones más jóvenes). Las parejas mixtas son una quimera. El último escollo racial está afectando a los negros inmigrantes de otros países, que son rechazados violentamente por la población local que ve en ellos una amenaza a sus puestos de trabajo. «Éste es un país racista de todos contra todos», denuncian los ahora perseguidos y hasta hace poco 'hermanos africanos'.
En Kwla Zulu Natal sigue habiendo heridas abiertas entre las huestes del viejo líder de Inkatha, Buthelezi, y el CNA. «Quieren venir a amenazarnos a nuestra tierra», declaraba Buthelezi antes de las elecciones locales de mayo de 2011. Se refería a las juventudes del CNA, que pretendían manifestarse ante la misma casa del viejo líder para enseñar que ahora ellos tienen el poder y que no olvidan. La respuesta fue volver a ver a zulúes armados avisando de que allí no entrarían. Imágenes que recordaban a las pesadillas del pasado. No pasó nada, no hubo choques.
Veinte años después de caer la última ley del Apartheid, Sudáfrica da razones a optimistas y negativos para dibujar su futuro. Quizá el país del arcoiris que bautizó el obispo Desmond Tutu sea un imposible. Quizá éste sea el nuevo Zimbabue, liderado por las revolucionarias juventudes del CNA que declaran abiertamente su intención de nacionalizar minas y granjas. Pero quizá no. Quizá el mandato de Mandela de vivir en paz sea inamovible (lo será al menos mientras él viva). Quizá la invariable mejora de su macroeconomía haga que germine el proyecto en el que negros, mestizos y blancos vivan juntos años después de acabar uno de los regímenes más atroces que ha inventado el ser humano. Ya lo advirtió Mandela entonces: «Pasarán muchos años para superar los efectos de estas leyes racistas».
¿Dos décadas sin Apartheid? by JAVIER BRANDOLI

First look at Nelson Mandela biopic Long Walk To Freedom


Nelson Mandela biography:

A long walk to immortality - the life and times of Madiba


Nelson Mandela was the most respected, and probably the most loved of all world leaders in the late 20th century, and the most enduring of the heroes who emerged from the political convulsions of the 1980s. He personified the peaceful and rapid transition of power in South Africa that many had thought impossible, while his commitment to reconciliation was underlined by his own experience of personal sacrifice and forgiveness.


For 27 years in jail he refused to compromise his principles, while for most of that time his own party, the African National Congress (ANC), was broken. But he emerged in February 1990 to become the dominant influence in his country, without whom peace was unlikely. When he was elected President in April 1994, he was accepted by whites as well as blacks as the embodiment of his country's new democracy, with a unique moral authority.
The roots of Mandela's strength went back to his upbringing in the rural Transkei, the homeland of the Xhosas in the Eastern Cape province. He was related to the paramount chief of the Thembu people, to whom his father was chief councillor, and he was brought up with a strong sense of responsibility and tribal pride. "The elders would tell tales," as he later described it, "about the wars fought by our ancestors in defence of the fatherland."
His first influences were very local and tribal. His father died when he was nine, and he went to live at the paramount chief's Great Place, where he would watch the chief dispensing justice - which gave him an early interest in the law. But he soon absorbed a very English missionary education, at the local Methodist high school, and later at the black university college of Fort Hare, where he met many future black leaders including his closest friend, Oliver Tambo.
Mandela was dashing, ambitious, keen on ballroom dancing and boxing. But he was in a rebellious mood, both against the college - which suspended him and others for political agitation - and against the paramount chief who was planning his marriage and future chieftainship.
At 22 he sold two oxen to pay for a journey to Johannesburg, where he began a far more turbulent career. There, he became friends with a much more experienced black activist, Walter Sisulu, and his mother, with whom he stayed in the township of Orlando West. Sisulu became his indispensable political mentor, and introduced him to his cousin, Evelyn, whom he married.
When Mandela wanted to study law, Sisulu arranged for him to be articled to a white attorney, Lazar Sidelsky, who befriended him. Mandela studied law part-time at the University of the Witwatersrand; but he was soon drawn into militant politics through the ANC, the veteran black organisation that was now in the process of revival. He was inspired by a fiery young Zulu intellectual, Anton Lembede, who, together with Sisulu, Tambo and Mandela, set up a Congress Youth League in 1944 to press the ANC towards effective protest.
The Youth Leaguers were initially exclusively African nationalist and fiercely anti-Communist; but they soon widened their outlook, particularly after the Afrikaner National Party came to power in 1948 and enforced their apartheid policy.
Mandela and his friends found common cause with Indian and Coloured leaders and began to look to communists as invaluable allies. Mandela never joined the Communist Party, but he respected his communist colleagues in the ANC. As he put it in 1964: "For many decades the communists were the only political group in South Africa who were prepared to treat Africans as human beings and their equals; who were prepared to eat with us, talk with us, live with us, and work with us."
Mandela continued his legal career, setting up a partnership with Tambo near the centre of Johannesburg, which helped black clients with their political and other legal difficulties.
But both partners were now wholly committed to the struggle against apartheid, and Mandela became more deeply implicated when the ANC launched its first passive resistance in the Defiance Campaign in 1952, for which he mobilised volunteers.
Mandela, Sisulu and Tambo were now seen as the "kingmakers" behind the more conservative leaders of the ANC. Mandela was the most imposing and charismatic of them, with his military bearing and chiefly confidence. He was tall, physically very strong, with a natural sense of command. But he was politically less shrewd and knowledgeable than either Sisulu or Tambo.
The Defiance Campaign was soon suppressed by fierce legislation, and subsequent protests against apartheid were met by mass arrests. In 1956, the police arrested 156 leaders of the ANC and its allies, including Mandela, and charged them with treason, in a trial that periodically immobilised them for four years.
But Mandela was growing in stature and his morale was strengthened by his second marriage in 1958 to Winnie Madikizela, a vivacious and attractive social worker who soon developed her own fiery political awareness, and would before long become a controversial politician in her own right.
Mandela faced a much greater challenge in early 1960, when the breakaway Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) set a faster pace for resistance, and peaceful protests against passbooks were met with violent reprisals, culminating in the Sharpeville Massacre. When the ANC and the PAC continued to demonstrate and burn passes, they were both banned. Mandela was forced to go underground, travelling in disguise through the country as the "black Pimpernel".
Mandela was now the effective leader of the banned ANC inside South Africa, while Tambo led it in exile. Mandela threw all his energies into an ambitious stay-at-home strike planned for May 1961, when South Africa would become a republic. But the police massed in the townships with armoured cars, and the protest - though remarkably successful - was depicted by the press as a flop. Mandela was convinced that, as he said on British television: "We are closing a chapter on this question of non-violent protest".
South African president Nelson Mandela speaks at a conference in the early 1960sSouth African president Nelson Mandela speaks at a conference in the early 1960s (AFP)


Mandela and his radical colleagues now persuaded the ANC leadership, with some difficulty, to form a separate military wing, called Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), to embark on the "armed struggle" beginning with sabotage. Mandela became commander- in-chief; and MK set up a secret base on a farm at Rivonia outside of Johannesburg.

It was a much more dangerous policy than passive resistance and strikes, and conceived with inadequate planning, and bound to alienate many allies. But their sabotage was carefully limited to destroying power plants and communications that, Mandela hoped, would discourage overseas investment; and linked to appeals to world opinion to impose economic sanctions on Pretoria to compel it to abandon apartheid.
Soon after the first explosions, Mandela was smuggled out of the country to make his first journey abroad, appealing for world support. After addressing a conference in Ethiopia he travelled through North and West Africa and visited London, where he made influential friends including Hugh Gaitskell, the Labour opposition leader, and David Astor, the editor of The Observer. He returned to South Africa, back in disguise, and rashly visited political colleagues until in August 1962 his car was stopped by the police in Natal and he was arrested after 17 months in hiding. He was charged with incitement to strike and with illegally leaving the country. He conducted his own eloquent defence, insisting that this was "a trial of the aspirations of the African people". He was sentenced to five years' imprisonment with hard labour.
But while he was serving his sentence the police raided the farm in Rivonia, capturing other conspirators and uncovering documents revealing the plans for future sabotage. Mandela became one of the accused in the much bigger "Rivonia trial" with colleagues, including Sisulu, charged with organising sabotage and violent revolution, and furthering the aims of communism.
At the end of the massive trial, Mandela made his most historic speech, a four-hour exposition of his political philosophy and development, and his ideal of democracy, concluding with the words: "It is an ideal for which I am prepared to die." The accused were found guilty and narrowly avoided a death sentence, but were sentenced to life imprisonment, and were sent to Robben Island.
Most white South Africans assumed that Mandela and the ANC would never again play a role in politics, and for the next decade the black opposition inside South Africa was virtually obliterated. But on Robben Island Mandela, Sisulu and the others maintained their optimism. They were encouraged in the late 1960s by the news of ANC guerrilla fighters entering South Africa from the north. But it was not until 1976 that they saw a revival of political militancy, when a younger generation rebelled against their schooling in Soweto. The revolt was suppressed with more ruthless detention, interrogation and torture by the police. But the influx of young, new political prisoners gave Mandela new cause for hope.
Mandela developed his inner strength and political judgement through all his years in jail; and his letters to his family show how consistently he retained his self- control and self-respect, and exerted his authority over the warders themselves. He was not a religious man; but he had a strong sense of human and family values, and a conviction that his cause would eventually win. He also used his prison experience to sharpen his mind by constant argument and later by studying for a law degree, which he took from jail.
By 1984, Mandela could at last see signs of more concerted world action against apartheid, as a new mass revolt was spreading inside South Africa, accompanied by massive international protest and the beginnings of effective sanctions, which were beginning to achieve what Mandela had anticipated a quarter century before. But he was surprised to find the most effective boycott coming from American bankers, who had helped to finance Pretoria's military state in the past, and were now abruptly withdrawing their loans and investments.
The first hopes of concessions from Pretoria were soon dashed, as the government imposed its severest state of emergency, detaining 20,000 people without trial. But the government was becoming painfully aware that its acceptance by the outside world would depend on Mandela's release; and some ministers believed that Mandela was more dangerous inside jail than at large.
In 1989, the State President, Pieter Willem Botha, had a talk with Mandela to explore a new formula for his release, and soon afterwards his successor Frederik Willem de Klerk quickly recognised that he must give way to world opinion and internal resistance and moved towards a more conciliatory agenda. In February 1990, De Klerk unbanned the ANC, and shortly afterwards released Mandela himself, after 27 years in jail.
It was a sensational emergence. Many observers had expected Mandela to appear as a weakened old man who would be out of touch with the modern world and the militant younger blacks. But from the beginning he was politically shrewd, loyal to the ANC and mastering new communications, including television - which had not existed in South Africa when he began his sentence.
Nelson Mandela addresses at a funeral of 12 people died during the township unrests in Soweto, 20 September 1990Nelson Mandela addresses at a funeral of 12 people died during the township unrests in Soweto, 20 September 1990 (AFP)


His style was that of a statesman combining intimacy with a formidable presence and authority. But he remained a master-politician: and at 71 he had mental flexibility and openness to new ideas at an age when most people become more rigid.

Two weeks after his release he was confirmed as Deputy President of the ANC, serving alongside his old friend Oliver Tambo, the official President, who was recovering from a stroke.
In the following months, Mandela became still more clearly the key to future peace in South Africa. He betrayed no signs of bitterness or resentment, praised the integrity of President De Klerk and reassured white South Africans. But he continued to follow the ANC's official policy.
He refused to reject the armed struggle; called for nationalising the mines and industry; and, remained committed to sanctions.
But he was privately more conciliatory and far-sighted than many of his younger colleagues. He welcomed dialogue with international businessmen, and looked forward to overseas investment after sanctions were no longer needed. He was very aware of South Africa's interdependence with the world.
His public glory was accompanied by personal loneliness: after Oliver Tambo died in April 1993 he described himself as being "like the loneliest man in the world". He had separated from his wife Winnie in April 1992, after she had been convicted of kidnapping and accessory to assault; and he was painfully aware of his limited contact with his children. "To be the father of a nation is a great honour," he wrote later, "but to be the father of a family is a greater joy. It was a joy I had far too little of."
In the four years following his release he became that indisputable father of the nation. He demonstrated all of his political skill by maintaining his party's unity and the support of young militants while also working towards a government of national unity, in coalition with his former white enemies.
He could never wholly trust De Klerk, after he realised that he had endorsed a "double agenda" that included secret police support of Zulu killing bands; and he still felt the need to re-assert the ANC's power by demonstrations and strikes. But he was still prepared to negotiate with De Klerk - and with other Afrikaner politicians who had previously approved torture and murders.
And whites were increasingly seeing him as a national leader - all the more so after the assassination of his radical lieutenant Chris Hani. Temporarily, Mandela virtually took over the role of head of state in successfully appealing for calm.
When democratic elections were eventually agreed for April 1994, Mandela became a tireless campaigner, projecting his reassuring smile across the nation; but he was careful not to raise black expectations too high. The ANC victory in the elections automatically made Mandela President and Head of State. His inauguration ceremony in Pretoria revealed his full achievement in attracting the loyalty of whites.
He was welcomed emotionally by many former right-wingers who now saw Mandela bringing South Africa back to the world's fold. Mandela, at the cost of painful compromises, could now rely on the military chiefs to support him. When the generals saluted him, he reflected: "Not so many years before they would not have saluted but arrested me."
He had achieved the main purpose for which he had sacrificed much of his life, and he had maintained his fundamental principles. But he also knew that the hardest part was still to come. As he concluded in his memoirs, finished after his election: "The true test of our devotion to freedom is only just beginning."

PRESIDENT
Becoming president at 75, Mandela was aware that his powers were circumscribed.
For the first two years, he maintained the "government of national unity" with his former enemy De Klerk as one deputy president; and in many fields he regarded himself as head of state, rather than head of government, leaving most appointments and practical decisions to his other deputy, Thabo Mbeki.
When De Klerk left the coalition, Mbeki was more clearly emerging as head of government, and Mandela retreated further, sometimes leaving Mbeki to preside over the cabinet.
His relations with Mbeki were sometimes strained: he had been chosen as deputy not by Mandela, but by the ANC and its allies. Mandela worried privately that Mbeki was too suspicious of his colleagues, too dependent on a few cronies, and sometimes implied that he would have preferred Cyril Ramaphosa, who had left politics for business. But Mbeki was in many ways well-suited to running the government, under an increasingly detached President: he made many of the key appointments; he masterminded economic policy, and he remained a skilful negotiator and conciliator - particularly with Buthelezi, the troublesome Zulu minister for home affairs.
The sharing of power was often uneasy and confusing: Mandela often intervened, particularly in foreign affairs, without informing his colleagues, and his own office was sometimes muddled. He had made the inspired choice of Professor Jakes Gerwel as cabinet secretary, but Mandela did not always give a clear lead, and was criticised, particularly by business leaders, for not grappling with urgent issues including tackling corruption and crime.
Both Mandela and Mbeki were limited by the constraints of the ANC: the cabinet had to represent different strands of the party; including some ministers who had obvious shortcomings, particularly in education, health and home affairs. But the ministers who were in the most critical departments of economic policy and justice achieved remarkable stability and trust, gaining the admiration of foreign governments.
Mandela's overriding objective was to set a basis of reconciliation with the white population including his former enemies, which he achieved with the help of dramatic personal gestures, including visiting the widow of Dr Verwoerd and his former prosecutor Percy Yutar, and congratulating the leader of the Springbok rugby team.
February 11, 1990: Nelson Mandela (C) and his then-wife Winnie raising their fists and saluting cheering crowd upon Mandela's release from the Victor Verster prisonFebruary 11, 1990: Nelson Mandela (C) and his then-wife Winnie raising their fists and saluting cheering crowd upon Mandela's release from the Victor Verster prison (AFP)


His most obvious failure was in not confronting the growing disaster of Aids. Before he became president in 1994, he had avoided the subject in his election campaign because - as he later admitted - it was not a popular issue, at a time when many black South Africans were shy of condoms or contraception. And as president he resisted calls to lead a major campaign against Aids.

Edwin Cameron, the gay South African judge who was found to be HIV-positive, and became a prominent campaigner against Aids, later explained: "A message from this man of saintlike, in some ways almost godlike, stature, would have been effective. He didn't do it. In 199 ways he was our country's saviour. In the 200th way, he was not."
In his final two years as President, Mandela withdrew further from executive government and gave up the leadership of the ANC. But his role as the prophet of the new multiracial democracy and the spirit of reconciliation remained as important as ever.
He symbolised the rebirth of a country that had been nearly torn asunder by racial conflict.
His personal life was now more serene and fulfilled. He had divorced from Winnie and eventually married Graça Machel, the widow of the former president of Mozambique, who gave him the companionship and support that he craved, and eased his relationships with his children and grandchildren.
Graça was a politician in her own right, who was able to connect up the private Mandela with his overpowering public image, with her own practical realism. "I want him as a human being," she explained. "He is a symbol, but not a saint. Whatever happens to him, it is a mark of the liberation of the African people."

RETIREMENT
When Mandela relinquished the Presidency in 1999, to be succeeded by President Mbeki, the manner of his retirement was in itself a tribute to his achievement. Five years earlier most South Africans had doubted whether elections could be held at all, in the face of violent threats and bombs. Now they took for granted that their country was a working multiracial democracy.
February 1998: Nelson Mandela (L) hugs British supermodel Naomi Campbell in front of American actress Mia Farrow, British model Kate Moss (second from left) and model Christy TurlingtonFebruary 1998: Nelson Mandela (L) hugs British supermodel Naomi Campbell in front of American actress Mia Farrow, British model Kate Moss (second from left) and model Christy Turlington (AFP)


For the first time since Mandela had left prison nine years before, he was now a private individual without any political position. For a short time he appeared content with a quiet life with his wife Graça and his growing family of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, moving between Johannesburg, Cape Town, Qunu and Mozambique.

But he soon forgot about the quiet life, and he became more, not less, impatient: an old man in a hurry. "I have retired," he said at 84, "but if there's anything that would kill me it is to wake up in the morning not knowing what to do." "He needs to be very busy," his wife Graça confirmed.
"He is quite clear that if he slows down he will feel depressed. He'll feel he is not needed any more."
He established a Mandela Foundation that provided his base. His loyal Afrikaner secretary Zelda le Grange organised his endless meetings, travels and phone calls to the world's leaders. He kept flying across the world, particularly to Britain, America and the Middle East, often in a private plane provided by one of his rich friends. He embarked on the second volume of his memoirs, covering his presidential years, determined to write them himself, without being ghosted. He conducted his research with very personal methods, ringing up old friends and even former enemies, like ex-President De Klerk, to ask for their recollections of crucial meetings.
But he still enjoyed meeting sports heroes and film stars such as Whoopi Goldberg or Whitney Houston, whom he welcomed with outrageous flattery ("I'm only here to shine her shoes").
He sometimes seemed to be re-living his own youth in Johannesburg in the Fifties, when he was not only a politician, but a township hero, ladies' man, dancer and boxer, and loved talking about the old black musicians, writers and sportsmen.
He was lonelier in politics, at least 30 years older than most of the politicians in South Africa, and his contemporaries were dying. He often looked his age, and away from the cameras and with his staff he could be irritable. But he retained his powerful will to live. In 2001 he was diagnosed with cancer of the prostate, but after intensive treatment appeared fully recovered. "If cancer gets the upper hand I will nevertheless be the winner," he said. "In heaven, I will be looking for the nearest branch of the ANC."
He sometimes reflected about his past career with remorse, remembering neglected friends who had helped him on his way up. He worried about political colleagues who were forgotten, while he was so much honoured. When Walter Sisulu died in 2003, Mandela explained his crucial influence.
"By ancestry I was born to rule," he said. "[But Sisulu] helped me to understand that my real vocation was to be a servant of the people."

MBEKI
Mandela had warned that after he retired he would feel free to criticise the leadership "as an ordinary member of the ANC". But he knew that he was no ordinary member. He was careful not to upstage or embarrass Mbeki: he largely avoided commenting on domestic affairs and talked mainly about the need for reconciliation and peacemaking. But his relations inevitably became trickier.
At public occasions, Mandela inevitably overshadowed his successor and often won more applause. Some of his public statements went against Mbeki's policies; while in private he became more critical. "I don't want to be a praise singer," he explained after one closed ANC conference.
"I want to be objective, and I did indicate his weaknesses, which was unpalatable to many members."
Mbeki in turn became more obviously resentful of Mandela's prominence.He sometimes omitted Mandela from state occasions, and was often slow to return his phone calls.
Mbeki's handling of Aids provoked the most obvious tensions, as he delayed facing and publicising the problem while Mandela was impatient for bolder action; to make up for his own past neglect.
He was determined to break through the taboo. In August 2002, he publicly embraced a militant Aids activist Zachie Achmat who was HIV positive - a powerful image that was reproduced round the world. And Mandela disclosed that three members of his own family had died of Aids. "There is no shame," he said, "to disclose a terminal disease from which you are suffering."

FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Mandela still travelled tirelessly, making up for his lost years and relishing foreign friendships and grand occasions. In London, he often called on the Queen, with whom he enjoyed a personal friendship: he broke with protocol by writing to her as "Dear Elizabeth". He was the only foreigner to be awarded the Order of Merit.
He could still play a personal role abroad in encouraging peaceful settlements and negotiations. He preferred working behind the scenes. In dealing with Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, who he believed to be a brilliant politician who should never be underestimated. Mandela feared that overt South African intervention would be counterproductive, provoking a civil war in Zimbabwe that would bring force millions of people from their homes. But Mandela later became much more outspoken than Mbeki about Mugabe's tyranny.
Mandela had more success in Libya, where he enjoyed the unique trust of President Muammar Gaddafi. He and his representative Jakes Gerwel persuaded Gaddafi to release the suspects in the Lockerbie airline crash, to be tried in the Netherlands, in return for relaxing sanctions. And Gaddafi's trust in Mandela and Gerwel prepared the way for the later reconciliation between Libya and the American and British governments.
Mandela became more critical of American and British foreign policies, particularly after the Kosovo war, worried that they wanted to be "the policemen of the world" and Washington was undermining the fragile basis of international law. "They're introducing chaos in to international affairs," he said.
He was much more worried about American domination after 11 September 2001. When he talked with President George W Bush soon afterwards in Washington, he said Osama bin Laden should be held responsible, captured and tried. But his Muslim friends soon persuaded him to modify his support, and he explained that US policy could "be seen as undermining some of the basic tenets of the rule of law". He warned that the war against terrorism must not itself adopt the weapons of terrorism. And he was increasingly opposed to Israeli policies towards Palestinians - like many of his Jewish colleagues in the ANC.
15 November 2001: Nelson Mandela signs the Wall of Nations in New York City15 November 2001: Nelson Mandela signs the Wall of Nations in New York City (AFP)


While he had enjoyed a close relationship with George Bush Sr, he distrusted some his closest advisers whom his son had inherited - particularly Dick Cheney, who had voted in Congress against calling for Mandela's release from prison. As the young Bush prepared for war in Iraq, Mandela stepped up his warnings of the dangers of ignoring the UN, without success. When he could not get through to Bush, he called his father and asked him to talk to his son. In October, he gave an explosive interview to Newsweek describing Bush's advisers Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld as "dinosaurs who do not want him to belong to the modern age". He attacked both America and Britain for racist attitudes. They did not criticise Israel for having weapons of mass destruction, he complained, because Israelis were seen as white, while Iraqis were seen as black. Mandela was emerging more clearly as the spokesman for the developing world, rather than the loyal friend of Washington and London.

As Bush and Blair prepared for war in Iraq, Mandela believed that neither was taking the UN seriously enough; he reminded Blair that Churchill had supported the creation of the UN as the safeguard of world peace. But he felt that Blair was closing ranks with Bush.
Mandela was still more outspoken in a speech to the International Women's Forums in January 2003. "It is a tragedy what is happening, what Bush is doing in Iraq," he told his surprised audience. "What I am condemning is that one power, with a President who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust."
Mandela still hoped to mediate to prevent a war. But his links with Washington were weakening, and his influence in Iraq was slight: he tried and failed to ring Saddam Hussein, and even offered to fly to Iraq himself, provided he was asked by the UN.
When the US and Britain finally went to war, Mandela avoided further criticism. But he was soon again denouncing US foreign policy - just before Bush visited South Africa and other African countries in July 2003.
He could still combine his friendships with the West with outspoken criticism. In July 2003, he launched the Mandela-Rhodes Foundation in London's Westminster Hall where he heard tributes from Bill Clinton and Tony Blair - who made an impromptu speech explaining how Mandela "symbolised the triumph of hope over injustice". Mandela warmly thanked Blair but did not conceal their difference about the Middle East: "We differ on one point; very strongly."
Tony Blair, Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton in July 2003Tony Blair, Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton in July 2003


He remained concerned about the mounting tension between Christians and Muslims. He was proud of the religious tolerance in his own government, which had included Muslim ministers, and he believed South Africa could help bridge the religious divide in the rest of the world.




THE MYTH AND THE MAN
Mandela was still a fairy-tale figure to millions of people around the world: the prisoner who became president, who caught the imagination of crowds and children. The name Mandela was attached to streets, squares, scholarships and buildings across the world - including an elegant new bridge across central Johannesburg that celebrated his 85th birthday.
The less heroic other world leaders, the more Mandela appeared as a solitary hero left over from an age of giants. And as an individual freed from the compromises of power, his icon shone still brighter.
But the myth was still connected to a statesman who could play a role in a dangerous and divided world. His long career had given him a deep personal experience of both power and powerlessness. He could speak for the huge populations in the developing world who were ignored by the richer countries, while he retained his moral authority in the West, even in America, as the champion of reconciliation and a multi-racial society.
Anthony Sampton's 'Mandela: The Authorised Biography' was published by Harper Collins in 1999
By his biographer, Anthony Sampson independent


Nelson Mandela dies: 

He smiled, and I knew I would never see him again

The last time I saw Nelson Mandela face-to-face was four years ago, on 8 December 2009, at his home in Johannesburg. I entered the front door, passed through the entrance hall and headed towards a large dining room. He sat at the head of a long table with his back to me. He was 91, and his hair was white – and at long last, I noticed, thinning.


It was around 1pm, and outside the sun shone brightly; but the big room was dimly lit and he was all alone, perfectly still, bringing to mind the statuesque immobility of his bearing at the numerous public events I had seen him at during my six years as correspondent in South Africa for The Independent, between 1989 and 1995; and recalling a previous interview I’d done with him eight years earlier.
Already then he was struggling to walk, yet he had been lucid, in full voice, chuckling frequently, and his hair was still grey. But when I did the talking he seemed to turn to stone. His face became expressionless, like the bust of a Roman emperor or a mystic in a trance. Or, perhaps, like a man who had spent 23 hours out of 24 all alone, year upon year, inside a tiny cell. It was disconcerting, until he replied and I discovered with relief that he had been rapt in concentration, listening after all.
Now, in 2009, as I approached the dining-room of his Johannesburg home – my eyes fixed on the back of that familiar head – I was disconcerted by the possibility that this time the sphinx would not come to life; that he would be lost in the fog of old age.
But no. Not entirely. Not at first. Unable to stand up, he turned his shoulders stiffly in my direction when we were introduced and shone upon me a shadow of the thousand-volt smile that all of us who had known him remembered so well. He reached out his hand – as enormous and tough-skinned as I remembered it from our first handshake 19 years earlier – and he said: “Hello, John.” I wanted to believe he recognised me, for we had known each other well, but in truth I cannot say for sure that he did. Maybe for a second there was a glimmer of recollection. If so, it was rapidly extinguished. I had little sense from then until we parted that he knew who I was.
Before him was a plate of untouched minced meat. He turned his gaze down upon his fork, as if debating whether to rise to the challenge of lifting it to his mouth. His head had shrunk, birdlike, since I had last seen it close up; his body was thin and brittle-boned. While not unhappy to receive a visitor, he seemed confused. No words left his lips. Nervously, seeking to fill the looming void, I mentioned a Hollywood film about him that had just been released. He replied, in an old conversational tic of his, “Good. Very good”; and then, “I see. I see.” But I don’t think he saw a thing. Nor did mention of Invictus – the 19th century poem that he had loved or the film that Clint Eastwood had made – elicit any recognition in him.
The poem, which he read in prison and much later at the funeral of one of his sons, begins: “Out of the night that covers me,/ Black as the Pit from pole to pole,/ I thank whatever gods may be/ For my unconquerable soul.” Had darkness finally covered him? Or would I manage, as I had hoped, to catch some glimpse of light? I did, in the end – helped initially by Zelda la Grange, his Afrikaner personal assistant and the person with whom he probably spent the most time after becoming his country’s first democratically elected president in 1994.
 “Come on, khulu, eat up!” La Grange said. “Khulu” is term of endearment in Mandela’s native Xhosa language that can be taken to mean “grandfather” or “great one”. “Come, khulu, you need to eat,” she insisted. Recalling that he had always liked to joke about how women were always bossing him about I made a crack along those lines, speaking loudly, close to his ear, for his hearing was not good. He let out a little smile, chuckled lightly and said, “Yes, that is true. Very true.”
Success. A connection had been made. I sought to press home the advantage, evoking memories from his political past that I hoped he would continue, somewhere in the depths of his mind, to treasure. It worked.
I mentioned the names of three of his more formidable former Afrikaner foes, all of whom he had engaged in talks – initially secret talks – that had been critical in steering South Africa away from the nightmare of racial war towards which the country seemed, during many years, to be inexorably headed.
The first name I mentioned was that of General Constand Viljoen, head of the South African Defence Force between 1980 and 1985, the most violent years of apartheid repression. “Ah, yes,” he said. “The military man…” Then I mentioned Niel Barnard, the former chief of apartheid’s National Intelligence Service, regarded in the 1980s as one of the most sinister men alive but whom Mandela met in jail more than 60 times before his release. “Yes,” he said. And last I said the name of Kobie Coetsee, apartheid’s last minister of justice, reminding Mandela that Coetsee had been the first representative of the apartheid government Mandela saw behind bars. “Ah, yes… Good. Very good,” he said.
And then he asked me a question. “Have you ever been to prison?” I said no, though I had visited his cell in Robben Island. He smiled at that and then it happened. A light switch came on in his mind and, in less than a minute, he zoomed in on the very heart of his political achievement
 “My people said I was afraid,” he began, in a thin but steady voice. “They said I was a coward because I reached out to the Afrikaner. But I did not engage them in the debate. I said nothing to them. I knew I was right. I knew this was the way to peace.”
There it was. The boldness and the vision he showed in engaging in dialogue with the apartheid state’s Afrikaner masters, in prison initially, without telling any of his fellow leaders in the African National Congress, for which he was much criticised internally; and the conviction that the only way to achieve his lifetime goal of building a stable democracy in South Africa and averting a bloodbath from which, as he often warned, no winners would emerge had been to appeal to the hearts and minds and better angels of his people’s ancestral enemies.
And yes, in the end, they all did understand that he was right. They saw the results. Mandela’s glory, unmatched in the history of political leadership, was that he got a whole country to change its mind. Faithful always to his principles, to his dream of a “non-racial South Africa”, he persuaded the black majority to repress their hatred and natural impulse for vengeance, and to embrace the spirit of reconciliation; and he convinced his people’s bullying white tormentors to abandon their ancient fears and their guns and accept him as their legitimate president. White South Africa succumbed, almost to a man and woman, to his charms. Proof came when I interviewed those three old foes of his after Mandela had left office. Each spoke of him with reverence, with admiration and – it is no exaggeration – with love.
That magically unexpected outburst that mention of those three men had elicited was as much as I would get out of Mandela during the hour I spent with him. The challenge of feeding his frail body was where his thoughts were chiefly concentrated for what remained of our encounter. I prattled away, getting scant response, and then we said goodbye. He gave me the parting gift of that fabulous smile of his, and then I left, snatching a final glance at the back of that noble white head.
It was terribly sad, because I knew I would never see him again and because it seemed that, surely, he did not have long to live. He hung on a lot longer than I, or many of those closest to him, imagined at the time that he would. I just hope he ended his days aware not only that he had secured his life’s mission of securing peace where there should have been war, but knowing also that one great last victory lay ahead of him in the grave: South Africans, black and white, would celebrate his life and mourn his death equally.
John Carlin is the author of ‘Knowing Mandela: a personal portrait’ and ‘Playing The Enemy’, on which the film ‘Invictus’  is based
.
by John Carlin recalls his last, poignant encounter with a figure who had come to play a central part in his life

Mandela confidencial

En el vigésimo año de los 27 que pasaría en prisión, Nelson Mandela escribió una carta, indignado, a la esposa de uno de sus guardianes: "Mevrou [`Estimada señora', comenzó Mandela en afrikaans, la lengua de los inventores del apartheid]. Su marido es un hombre talentoso de muy buen corazón. Siempre está de buen humor y dispuesto a ayudar a la gente. Pero carece de ambición, y como consecuencia descuida sus propios intereses, y también los de su mujer e hijos. En repetidas ocasiones he pretendido convencerle de que estudie, pero todos mis intentos han fracasado. Me veo obligado ahora a pedirle ayuda a usted. Tal vez logre persuadirle de que haga lo que toda persona joven y responsable en todo el mundo hace: atender a sus intereses y a su futuro".
Tampoco parece que la carta a la mujer del guardián, llamado Christo Brand, surtiera mucho efecto. Brand siguió ejerciendo como carcelero -uno de los trabajos más humildes que ocupaban miembros de la raza dominante afrikáner en tiempos del apartheid- después de la liberación de Mandela, en febrero de 1990. Pero esto era de poco interés, salvo para la familia Brand. Lo fascinante, lo valioso para la humanidad, es lo que la carta revela de la personalidad del que fue, durante casi tres décadas, el prisionero más famoso del mundo. Esta carta y muchas más, junto con documentos y fotografías hasta ahora inéditos (y en su día censurados) de sus años en la cárcel, han sido publicadas en un libro de la Nelson Mandela Foundation titulado A prisoner in the garden (Un prisionero en el jardín). El retrato de Mandela que emerge del libro es el de un individuo extraordinariamente generoso con los que deberían haber sido sus enemigos, de un revolucionario que no dejó nunca de luchar por la justicia y de un padre de familia que nunca dejó de sufrir por su mujer y sus hijos.
Los episodios más lacerantes de la vida del hombre que se convertiría en el primer presidente negro de Suráfrica ocurrieron en 1968 y 1969: primero, la muerte de su madre; segundo, la noticia de que su esposa, Winnie, había sido encarcelada, dejando prácticamente abandonadas a las dos hijas pequeñas de la pareja, y tercero -y lo peor de todo-, el hijo mayor de Mandela, fruto de un anterior matrimonio,murió en un accidente de coche.
"La muerte de Thembi ha sido un trago amargo", escribió Mandela a Winnie (en inglés, su idioma preferido) el 16 de julio de 1969. "Además de ser mi hijo, fue mi íntimo amigo. Me cuesta tanto creer que nunca volveré a verle. El 23 de febrero de este año cumplió 24 años. La última vez que le vi fue a finales de julio de 1962....Era un chico fortachón de 17 que jamás hubiera asociado con la idea de la muerte. Llevaba puestos unos pantalones que le quedaban un poco grandes y largos... Como sabes, tenía mucha ropa, cuidaba mucho su forma de vestir y no tenía el más mínimo motivo para ponerse ropa mía.Me sentí profundamente conmovido".
Mandela pidió permiso para ir al en tierro de su hijo, pero (igual que en el caso de su madre) se lo negaron. Mientras tanto, Winnie permanecía en la cárcel, gran parte del tiempo en solitario. Mandela, que sabía que los fondos familiares estaban agotados, no tenía la más mínima idea de cómo estaban sus dos hijas, Zeni y Zindzi, de 11 y 9 años. Una carta que les escribió el 1 de junio de 1970 empieza de la siguiente manera: "My darlings [`Cariños míos'], han pasado ocho años desde la última vez que os vi y un poco más de doce meses desde que os arrancaron a mami".
Pensar que Mandela pasó sus años de prisión lamentando su triste destino sería un grave error. Nelson Mandela era, y es, un hombre juguetón, con un gran y casi permanente sentido del humor. Incluso hoy recuerda con hilaridad una foto de la revista National Geographic que le regalaron sus camaradas en la cárcel, y que permaneció con él en su celda, adornando la mesa en la que escribía sus cartas, durante años. Era una foto de una chica exuberante corriendo, sonriente, casi desnuda.La carta, muy larga, explica a las niñas lo importante que es para él sentarse y escribirles, "porque se me calman un poco los ataques de angustia que me afligen cada vez que pienso en vosotras". "Hoy", sigue Mandela, "nuestra familia está desparramada por todas partes:mami y papi están en la cárcel, y vosotras vivís como huérfanas. Deseamos que sepáis que estos altibajos sólo han hecho que os queramos más. Estamos seguros de que un día nuestros sueños se harán realidad; podremos vivir juntos y disfrutar de las cosas dulces de la vida que hoy tanto echamos de menos. Toneladas y toneladas de amor, cariños míos. Papi".
También se le permitía tener libros en su pequeña celda de Robben Island, de tres metros por uno y medio. Forjó fuertes amistades y tuvo la posibilidad de impartir clases de todo tipo -de historia, de derecho, de literatura griega...- a los prisioneros más jóvenes (algunos de ellos llegaron a referirse a Robben Island como "la universidad").
Ante todo, Mandela nunca perdió el optimismo. Fue condenado a cadena perpetua, pero nunca dudó de que saldría vivo de la cárcel y de que su destino sería conducir su pueblo a la liberación. Por eso, apenas comenzada su condena, se puso aprender no sólo el idioma afrikaans, sino la historia del afrikáner, gente de origen holandés o protestante francés que se había disputado el control político de Suráfrica con los ingleses durante tres siglos. La discusión se acabó a partir de 1948, cuando el Partido Nacional afrikáner impuso el sistema de racismo legalizado contra el que Mandela, jefe militar del Congreso Nacional Africano (CNA), se levantó en armas a principios de los años sesenta. Una vez ingresado (junto con la casi totalidad de la cúpula del CNA) en la prisión de Robben Island, el Alcatraz surafricano, Mandela entendió que era más probable que la victoria de su pueblo llegara por la vía política que por la lucha armada.
Y así fue, y por eso resultó ser tan valioso al final, cuando inició negociaciones de paz con el Gobierno desde su propia celda, su esfuerzo por conocer bien al enemigo. Pero antes tuvo que librar batallas más inmediatas, más urgentes contra las propias autoridades dentro de la cárcel. Y las libró, como buen abogado que era, por la vía legal.
Una carta dirigida al general en cargado del sistema penal surafricano, por ejemplo, denuncia los malos tratos de uno de los comandantes de Robben Island. Además de amenazar con recurrir a la vía de los tribunales si fuera necesario -el problema en Suráfrica no fue tanto cómo se aplicaban las leyes en tiempos del apartheid, sino el contenido de las leyes en sí-, Mandela contrastó sus valores humanos contra los del sistema al que se oponía. "Nunca he considerado que ningún hombre sea superior a mí", escribió el prisionero al general en julio de 1976. "He ofrecido mi cooperación de manera libre creyendo que actuando de esta manera se fomentarán relaciones armoniosas entre los prisioneros y los carceleros... Mi respeto por los seres humanos se basa no en el color de su piel ni en la autoridad que puedan ejercer, sino en sus méritos como personas".
La fotografía más potente de esa excursión fue la que proporcionó el título del libro de la Nelson Mandela Foundation. Mandela, con cara de estar claramente ofendido por la colaboración propagandística de los periodistas con el Gobierno,mira desafiante a la cámara tras unas gafas de sol y bajo un sombrero de paja. El pie de foto que pusieron las autoridades, como si fuera un intento deliberado de humillar a dela, fue: "Un prisionero trabajando en el jardín".Prueba de que el respeto no era exactamente correspondido se produjo un año más tarde, cuando el Gobierno organizó una expedición a Robben Island para un grupo de periodistas cuya docilidad ante el sistema de apartheid era absoluta. La idea era transmitir la imagen al mundo de que las condiciones en la famosa prisión no eran tan atroces como en algunos lugares se pensaba. Con ese fin vistieron a los prisioneros como turistas de vacaciones en Hawai, les dieron palas y los pusieron a trabajar en un inexistente jardín.
El primer reconocimiento, por parte del Gobierno surafricano, del respeto político que se merecía Mandela llegó en 1985, cuando el presidente Pieter W. Botha le ofreció, a él y a otros importantes prisioneros políticos, la libertad si, a cambio, el CNA abandonaba la lucha armada. Fue Mandela el que redactó la carta de respuesta, dirigida personalmente a Botha. Llevaba más de 23 años en la cárcel, y sus compañeros, una media de 20; pero Mandela fue tajante a la hora de rechazar la oferta del Gobierno. Acusó al presidente de "grosero cinismo", y afirmó: "Nos negamos a participar en lo que es una maniobra cuyo fin claramente es crear división, confusión e incertidumbre en el movimiento de liberación".
Las palabras de Mandela fueron duras, pero fríamente premeditadas. Lejos de reaccionar con cólera, cerrando la puerta al diálogo, el Gobierno de Botha se vio obligado a reconocer que tarde o temprano tendría que negociar con el CNA, y específicamente con Mandela. Dos años después de aquella carta, Botha ordenó a sus dos hombres de más confianza -Kobie Coetsee, ministro de Justicia, y Niel Barnard, jefe de espionaje del apartheid- que iniciaran conversaciones con Mandela. A lo largo de dos años y medio se reunieron más de 60 veces. Fue el episodio decisivo en la historia de la Suráfrica contemporánea.
Mandela llevó a la mesa todo su encanto personal, todos los estudios que había hecho de la mentalidad afrikáner, toda su astucia de abogado y la sabiduría acumulada a lo largo de tanto sufrimiento y tantos años de prisión. Logró todos sus objetivos. Negoció primero la liberación de ocho de sus compañeros de cárcel más veteranos, más importantes dentro del CNA. Negoció luego su propia liberación. Pero ante todo logró el gran objetivo estratégico de su vida: convencer al Gobierno blanco de que participara en negociaciones cuyo fin sería la solución pacífica, democrática del conflicto surafricano.
El éxito que tuvieron esas conversaciones secretas se demuestra en una de las fotos del libro Un prisionero en el jardín, quizá la última tomada de Mandela siendo aún prisionero. Mandela, vestido de camisa y corbata, sonríe ante la atenta mirada de cuatro hombres blancos, también de traje y corbata. Uno de ellos es Coetsee. En la foto, Coetsee le está entregando un maletín de cuero a Mandela, como "regalo de despedida", pocos días antes de su liberación. Otro de los hombres en la foto es Barnard, que en una entrevista diez años después, posterior a las elecciones en las que Mandela le expulso a él y a los suyos del poder, definió gran parte del secreto del éxito político de su antiguo contrincante: no haber tratado a sus enemigos como ellos le habían tratado a él. "Cuando uno ha sufrido penalidades no humilla a la gente", dijo Barnard, un hombre cuya admiración por Mandela no tiene límites. "Porque las penalidades le permiten a uno entender mucho mejor los miedos de los demás. ¿No es eso lo que trasciende en Mandela? Lo que quiero decir es que él, en el fondo, cree en la construcción de este país, y ha trabajado más que cualquier otro, a costa de enormes sacrificios personales, para conseguirlo".
Pero tampoco todo en la cárcel fue sacrificio para Mandela. Ese don para embelesar a la gente que demostró en el caso del preparadísimo Barnard, reconocido intelectual del mundo afrikáner, también lo demostró en su trato con los sencillos hombres rurales que ejercían de guardianes en la cárcel. "Hasta el punto", como dijo una vez Mac Maharaj, prisionero en Robben Island con Mandela, "de que empezaron a acudir a él en busca de consejo cuando tenían conflictos con sus superiores".
Fue extraordinario el grado en que Nelson Mandela impuso su voluntad sobre sus carceleros, como descubrió George Bizos, su abogado durante cuatro decenios, durante una visita a la isla. "Había con él ocho guardianes, todos blancos", recordó Bizos. "Los presos no suelen marcar la pauta a sus vigilantes, pero era evidente que, en su caso, lo hacía. Me dijo `hola' y le devolví el saludo. De pronto se apartó y me dijo: `Perdona, George, no te he presentado a mi guardia de honor'. Y me presentó a cada uno de los guardianes por su nombre. Estaban absolutamente asombrados, pero se comportaron como si verdaderamente fueran una guardia de honor. Me dieron la mano con todo respeto".
El respeto y la confianza que llegaron a tener algunos guardianes con Mandela se demostró de manera incluso más sorprendente un día en 1980, cuando Winnie Mandela fue a visitarle con su primer nieto, de apenas tres meses, envuelto en una manta. Mandela, que normalmente sólo tenía contacto con su mujer a través de una gruesa ventana de cristal, pidió a los dos guardianes de turno que le dejaran coger al niño, algo que no había hecho desde hacía 20 años. Los guardianes intercambiaron miradas nerviosas. Pero no pudieron resistirse a la petición de Mandela. "Cogí al niño por la puerta Posterior", recordó años después uno de ellos, "y llamamos a Mandela. Le pusimos al niño en brazos sin previo aviso y le dijimos que tenía que mantenerlo en secreto. Podíamos perder nuestros puestos. Respondió 'oh!', cogió al niño y le besó. Había lágrimas en sus ojos. Nadie supo jamás que Mandela había visto al niño".
En 1998, cuatro años después de asumir la presidencia, Mandela organizó una gran fiesta en la casa de gobierno en Pretoria para celebrar su cumpleaños. No sólo cumplía 80, sino que ese mismo día anunciaría que, tras haberse divorciado de Winnie dos años antes, se iba a casar con su actual esposa, Graça Machel. Invitó a la fiesta a tres de sus guardianes de sus tiempos en la cárcel. Todos vivían en los alrededores de Ciudad del Cabo, cerca de Robben Island. Ninguno de ellos se había subido jamás a un avión, pero Mandela les organizó el vuelo. Uno de los invitados fue Christo Brand, en el que Mandela ya había dejado de depositar la más mínima confianza en cuanto a su habilidad de superarse. Pero, siempre optimista, Mandela quiso creer que quizá la siguiente generación de la familia Brand lo haría mejor. Una de las cartas más sorprendentes del libro se la escribe Mandela al hijo de Brand en 2000. Escrita a mano, pone lo siguiente: "Querido Riaan, me cuentan que acabas de cumplir 16 años. ¡Enhorabuena! Si estudias duro es probable que llegues a ser uno de los líderes más importantes de nuestro país. ¡Nunca olvides lo que te digo! Te saluda, el tío Nelson".
by John Carlin, el pais.es
Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s Liberator as Prisoner and President, 

Dies at 95
who led the emancipation of South Africa from white minority rule and served as his country’s first black president, becoming an international emblem of dignity and forbearance, died Thursday night. He was 95.
The South African president, Jacob Zuma, announced Mr. Mandela’s death.
Mr. Mandela had long said he wanted a quiet exit, but the time he spent in a Pretoria hospital this summer was a clamor of quarreling family, hungry news media, spotlight-seeking politicians and a national outpouring of affection and loss. The vigil eclipsed a visit by President Obama, who paid homage to Mr. Mandela but decided not to intrude on the privacy of a dying man he considered his hero.
Mr. Mandela ultimately died at home at 8:50 p.m. local time, and he will be buried according to his wishes in the village of Qunu, where he grew up. The exhumed remains of three of his children were reinterred there in early July under a court order, resolving a family squabble that had played out in the news media.
Mr. Mandela’s quest for freedom took him from the court of tribal royalty to the liberation underground to a prison rock quarry to the presidential suite of Africa’s richest country. And then, when his first term of office was up, unlike so many of the successful revolutionaries he regarded as kindred spirits, he declined a second term and cheerfully handed over power to an elected successor, the country still gnawed by crime, poverty, corruption and disease but a democracy, respected in the world and remarkably at peace.
The question most often asked about Mr. Mandela was how, after whites had systematically humiliated his people, tortured and murdered many of his friends, and cast him into prison for 27 years, he could be so evidently free of spite.
The government he formed when he finally won the chance was an improbable fusion of races and beliefs, including many of his former oppressors. When he became president, he invited one of his white wardens to theinauguration. Mr. Mandela overcame a personal mistrust bordering on loathing to share both power and a Nobel Peace Prize with the white president who preceded him, F. W. de Klerk.
And as president, from 1994 to 1999, he devoted much energy to moderating the bitterness of his black electorate and to reassuring whites with fears of vengeance.
The explanation for his absence of rancor, at least in part, is that Mr. Mandela was that rarity among revolutionaries and moral dissidents: a capable statesman, comfortable with compromise and impatient with the doctrinaire.
When the question was put to Mr. Mandela in an interview for this obituary in 2007 — after such barbarous torment, how do you keep hatred in check? — his answer was almost dismissive: Hating clouds the mind. It gets in the way of strategy. Leaders cannot afford to hate.
Except for a youthful flirtation with black nationalism, he seemed to have genuinely transcended the racial passions that tore at his country. Some who worked with him said this apparent magnanimity came easily to him because he always regarded himself as superior to his persecutors.
In his five years as president, Mr. Mandela, though still a sainted figure abroad, lost some luster at home as he strained to hold together a divided populace and to turn a fractious liberation movement into a credible government.
Some blacks — including Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Mr. Mandela’s former wife, who cultivated a following among the most disaffected blacks — complained that he had moved too slowly to narrow the vast gulf between the impoverished black majority and the more prosperous white minority. Some whites said he had failed to control crime, corruption and cronyism. Some blacks deserted government to make money; some whites emigrated, taking capital and knowledge with them.
Undoubtedly Mr. Mandela had become less attentive to the details of governing, turning over the daily responsibilities to the deputy who would succeed him in 1999, Thabo Mbeki.
But few among his countrymen doubted that without his patriarchal authority and political shrewdness, South Africa might well have descended into civil war long before it reached its imperfect state of democracy.
After leaving the presidency, Mr. Mandela brought that moral stature to bear elsewhere around the continent, as a peace broker and champion of greater outside investment.

Mr. Mandela was deep into a life prison term when he caught the notice of the world as a symbol of the opposition to apartheid, literally “apartness” in the Afrikaans language, a system of racial gerrymandering that stripped blacks of their citizenship and relegated them to reservation-style “homelands” and townships.
Around 1980, exiled leaders of the foremost anti-apartheid movement, the African National Congress, decided that this eloquent lawyer was the perfect hero to humanize their campaign against the system that denied 80 percent of South Africans any voice in their own affairs. “Free Nelson Mandela,” already a liberation chant within South Africa, became a pop-chart anthem in Britain, and Mr. Mandela’s face bloomed on placards at student rallies in America aimed at mustering trade sanctions against the apartheid regime.
Mr. Mandela noted with some amusement in his 1994 autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom,” that this congregation made him the world’s best-known political prisoner without knowing precisely who he was. Probably it was just his impish humor, but he claimed to have been told that when posters went up in London, many young supporters thought Free was his Christian name.
In South Africa, though, and among those who followed the country’s affairs more closely, Nelson Mandela was already a name to reckon with.
He was born Rolihlahla Mandela on July 18, 1918, in Mvezo, a tiny village of cows, corn and mud huts in the rolling hills of the Transkei, a former British protectorate in the south. His given name, he enjoyed pointing out, translates colloquially as “troublemaker.” He received his more familiar English name from a teacher when he began school at age 7. His father, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, was a chief of the Thembu people, a subdivision of the Xhosa nation.
When Nelson was an infant, his father was stripped of his chieftainship by a British magistrate for insubordination, showing a proud stubborn streak his son willingly claimed as an inheritance.
Nine years later, on the death of his father, young Nelson was taken into the home of the paramount chief of the Thembu — not as an heir to power, but in a position to study it. He would become worldly and westernized, but some of his closest friends would always attribute his regal self-confidence (and his occasional autocratic behavior) to his upbringing in a royal household.
Unlike many black South Africans, whose confidence had been crushed by generations of officially proclaimed white superiority, Mr. Mandela never seemed to doubt that he was the equal of any man. “The first thing to remember about Mandela is that he came from a royal family,” said Ahmed Kathrada, an activist who shared a prison cellblock with Mr. Mandela and was part of his inner circle. “That always gave him a strength.”
In his autobiography, Mr. Mandela recalled eavesdropping on the endless consensus-seeking deliberations of the tribal council and noticing that the chief worked “like a shepherd.”
“He stays behind the flock,” he continued, “letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.”
That would often be his own style as leader and president.
Mr. Mandela maintained his close ties to the royal family of the Thembu tribe, a large and influential constituency in the important Transkei region. And his background there gave him useful insights into the sometimes tribal politics of South Africa.
Most important, it helped him manage the lethal divisions within the large Zulu nation, which was rived by a power struggle between the African National Congress and the Inkatha Freedom Party. While many A.N.C. leaders demonized the Inkatha leader, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Mr. Mandela embraced him into his new unity government and finally quelled the violence.
Mr. Mandela once explained in an interview that the key to peace in the Zulu nation was simple: Mr. Buthelezi had been raised as a member of the royal Zulu family, but as a nephew, not in the direct line of succession, leaving him tortured by a sense of insecurity about his position. The solution was to love him into acquiescence.
La straordinaria avventura di Mandela, 
il guerrigliero che si fece icona di pace
Dal villaggio nel Traskei alla militanza nell'Anc, giovane avvocato e poi militante della lotta armata. Gli amori, le mogli, la tragedia dei figli strappati dall'Aids. La lunga prigionia che lo rafforza al punto da diventare la leva che scardina l'apartheid. Gli anni della gloria, dal Nobel alla presidenza. Il nuovo impegno nella lotta al virus e la scelta di ritirarsi dalla scena pubblica, che fino all'ultimo non ha appannato la sua popolarità universale. 95 anni vissuti dalla parte della libertà
PREMIO NOBEL per la Pace, condannato all'ergastolo, rinchiuso per 27 anni in un durissimo carcere, protagonista indiscusso della lotta contro l'apartheid. Con Nelson Mandela il mondo perde il simbolo universale della lotta per la giustizia e la libertà. Mai, in secoli di storia, c'è stato un altro uomo o un'altra donna che hanno speso gran parte della vita per sconfiggere le discriminazioni razziali e trasformare il loro paese, il Sudafrica, il Gigante africano, in una moderna democrazia. In queste ore l'intero pianeta piange la scomparsa di una figura mitica, allegra, spiritosa ma anche ossessivamente legata ad una disciplina che gli ha consentito di superare indenne dieci arresti, due processi e oltre un quarto di secolo di carcere durissimo nell'isola-prigione di Robben Island.
Figlio di Gadla Henry Mphakamyiswa, capo della tribù Thembu, Rolihlahla Dalibhunga nasce il 18 luglio del 1918 nel piccolo villaggio di Qunu, nella regione del Traskei, forse una della più rigogliose del sud-est del paese. Chiamato "Madiba", titolo onorifico che gli viene attribuito dagli anziani della sua tribù e come tuttora viene chiamato dal suo popolo, Rolihlahla perde il padre quando ha solo 9 anni. Viene mandato a studiare in una scuola presbiteriana. Saranno proprio i religiosi a cambiargli il nome in Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, nome che manterrà per il resto dei suoi giorni. Come la maggior parte degli uomini di colore, relegati ai margini di una società fondata sul razzismo, crede nell'importanza della scuola e dell'educazione.
E' convinto che studiando e arricchendosi di quella cultura riservata all'epoca solo ai bianchi avrà qualche possibilità di superare un destino già tracciato per milioni di neri. Supera gli esami, ottiene i suoi diplomi; poi, a 22 anni, giovane e pieno di rabbia, compie una scelta che lo segnerà per il resto della vita ma che lo proietterà verso la più grande impresa della sua esistenza: la lotta di liberazione dal regime dell'apartheid.
Il suo clan decide che per lui è venuto il momento di sposarsi e gli sceglie, come era nella tradizione, anche la moglie. Mandela ci pensa una notte intera ma alla fine preferisce fuggire e quindi rompere con la sua grande e influente famiglia. Con il cugino raggiunge Johannesburg. Continua gli studi, s'iscrive alla facoltà di Giurisprudenza, partecipa alle prime sommosse universitarie. Nel 1942, due anni dopo aver lasciato il suo villaggio, aderisce all'African national congress (Anc). E' molto attivo, ha delle intuizioni politiche brillanti, suggerisce nuove tattiche di lotta. Si fa notare e viene notato. Con i suoi due amici inseparabili, Walter Sisulu e Oliver Tambo, che lo seguiranno in mille avventure, fonda la Youth league, una lega giovanile vicina alle posizioni dell'Anc. 
Nel 1944 sposa la sua prima moglie (ne avrà tre): si chiama Evelyn Ntoko Mase. Resteranno insieme 13 anni. Anni felici e di battaglie comuni. Poi divorziano. Il 1948 è un anno particolare per il Sudafrica. Il partito nazionale afrikaner, partito di destra e razzista formato da soli bianchi nati e cresciuti nel paese, trionfa alle elezioni. Mandela è già rientrato tra le fila dell'Anc: lavora giorno e notte, si distingue ancora nel partito, sale i gradini nelle diverse strutture, raggiunge il vertice dell'Assemblea popolare.
Nel 1955 è stufo di vedere attorno a sé tanta ingiustizia. E' diventato un avvocato, vuole fare qualcosa per la sua gente. Con l'inseparabile Tambo apre uno studio legale e fornisce, in modo gratuito, l'assistenza alle vittime della repressione del regime bianco. Un anno dopo, il 5 dicembre, viene arrestato assieme ad altri 150 compagni dell'Anc con l'accusa di tradimento. Il processo dura sei anni ma al termine saranno tutti assolti. Nel 1958 sposa Winnie Madikizela dalla quale avrà quattro figli. 
Anni contrastanti: di liti violente e di passioni felici, nonostante il regime dell'apartheid lo costringa ad una vita di allarme e di continui arresti. L'Aids, che all'epoca non era stato ancora scoperto, gli porta via tre figli. E' un durissimo colpo per il futuro padre della patria. Lo segnerà per il resto della vita: fino all'ultimo giorno si batterà per sconfiggere la diffusione dell'Hiv che in Sudafrica si è trasformato in un vero flagello. Ammetterà anche di averlo sottovalutato e di non aver agito con sufficiente energia quando fu in condizioni di farlo. Nel 1960, l'esercito sudafricano reprime con la forza una manifestazione di protesta. I soldati sparano ad altezza d'uomo: 69 persone vengono uccise a Sharpeville.
E' il momento più cupo nella storia del Sudafrica. L'Anc è messo al bando, Nelson Mandela sceglie la lotta armata. Vive tre anni da clandestino, tra attentati, sommosse, altre rivolte, altri morti. Nel luglio del 1963 è nuovamente arrestato. E' accusato di tradimento. Il processo dura nove mesi e viene condannato all'ergastolo. Madiba ammetterà gli attentati, ma negherà di aver organizzato l'invasione del Sudafrica da parte di alcuni stati confinanti. Rivendica il ruolo di combattente per la libertà, rifiuta quello di traditore della sua terra. E' trasferito nell'isola di Robben Island, di fronte a Città del Capo. Ci resterà per 27 anni. Senza mai perdere quella lucidità politica che lo porterà a coronare il grande sogno. Sosterrà i compagni finiti in galera, li aiuterà nei momenti di sconforto, imporrà gli esercizi fisici alla mattina e interi pomeriggi di studi. Chiederà libri, penne e quaderni, darà lezioni di grammatica, di storia, di lingua. Chiuso nella sua cella, con una visita al mese, osservato a vista, spesso provocato, porterà avanti la sua battaglia contro l'apartheid.
Ma sarà il resto del mondo, scosso dall'atteggiamento di quest'uomo fermo nei suoi principi e insieme tollerante nel confronto, a creare le condizioni per la sua liberazione. La solidarietà è immensa. Il Sudafrica è stretto nella morsa delle sanzioni e dell'embargo. Il regime segregazionista del presidente Botha è in affanno. Nelson Mandela prigioniero è una spina nel fianco. Nell'inverno del 1985 gli viene offerta la libertà condizionata. A patto che rinneghi la lotta armata. Mandela rifiuta. Resterà in carcere fino all'11 febbraio del 1990. E' una data storica, una domenica: l'ormai icona della libertà e della giustizia varca il portone di Robben Island, percorre una lunga strada sterrata bianca, sbarca a Città del Capo, raggiunge il palazzo del Comune e davanti ad un'immensa folla annuncia la fine del regime razzista. Lo fa insieme a Frederick de Klerk, l'ultimo presidente del Sudafrica segregazionista, l'uomo che lo ha fatto liberare. Una scelta maturata nel tempo. Suggerita, sostengono i più informati, dai preziosi consigli della sua nuova compagna.
Davanti alle crisi irreversibile del paese, fu questa donna ad avvertire l'uomo che guidava il Sudafrica: "Sei vuoi essere ricordato nella storia è venuto il momento del grande passo". De Klerk firma il decreto di scarcerazione e il tempo gli assegna, insieme all'ex prigioniero, il suo posto tra i Grandi: ottengono entrambi, nel 1993, il Premio Nobel per la pace. Dal 1991 al 1994, Nelson Mandela è presidente dell'Anc. Corre per le presidenziali del paese. Le vince con un trionfo. Sarà il primo Capo di Stato sudafricano di colore e nominerà come suo vice proprio Frederick de Klerk. E' il segno più tangibile di quel processo di riaggregazione e di pacificazione  che scandirà la vita politica del nuovo Mandela. Alla cerimonia invita il capo dei suoi carcerieri.
Nel 1996, tra molte polemiche, divorzia da Winnie. Due anni dopo, ormai ottantenne, sposa Graca Machel, vedova di Samora Machel, presidente del Mozambico, morto in un misterioso incidente aereo, suo grande amico durante la lotta all'apartheid. Viaggia nel mondo. Vede ancora i suoi amici di un tempo, i "combattenti in armi". Castro, Gheddafi. Ha la forza di apparire a concerti oceanici di musica. A Londra. Di ricevere decine di premi e onoreficienze. Da Firenze e a New Delhi dove è l'unico, oltre a Madre Teresa di Calcutta, ad essere insignito di un premio destinato solo ai grandi dell'India. Continua ad accogliere leader mondiali, come Blair e Bush. Per tutti ha una battuta, con tutti ostenta il suo humor che non lo ha mai abbandonato. Decine di paesi gli dedicano parchi e piazze. Il suo nome campeggia in molti angoli, piazze, vie, luoghi anche sconosciuti, del pianeta.
Stanco ma soddisfatto, nel giugno del 2004 pensa che sia arrivato il momento di ritirarsi. Il tempo, il carcere, le infinite battaglie lo hanno logorato. Da lontano, fuori dalla mischia politica che si fa sempre più serrata, media nei contrasti tra le correnti dell'Anc. Vuole finire i suoi giorni nel paese che ha liberato. Ma vuole anche lasciare inalterati i principi che hanno proiettato il Sudafrica verso il progresso e la democrazia. Lo ascoltano tutti e tutti lo rispettano. Non è solo un'icona immortale. E' un uomo. Conserva la saggezza, l'equilibrio, la disciplina, la tenacia, l'ostinazione di sempre. Sono le armi a cui si aggrappa. Che vuole trasferire al suo popolo, oggi finalmente libero. Di autodeterminarsi. Di scegliere. Senza più distinzioni di razze, di religione. Ma sa anche che la strada è ancora lunga. Ha combattuto per oltre 90 anni. E' molto debole, il fisico lo sta abbandonando. Ha nostalgia del suo villaggio, delle sue origini, del suo clan. Spiega: "Voglio dedicarmi alla mia famiglia". Lo farà con l'energia e la lucidità di sempre. Sveglia alle 4,30. Ginnastica per un'ora. Lettura dei giornali. Poi il rito della colazione: porridge, latte e cornflakes.  Come sempre. Ogni giorno, da un secolo.
Davanti al giardino in fiore che avvolge la sua casa, sempre curata, sempre ridipinta, di Hougton, quartiere bene di Johannesburg, trascorre le sue ultime giornate. Circondato dai nipoti, dagli amici, dai giovani che ogni mattina risalgono il viale alberato della 12a street per ascoltare la storia di "Madiba". Una storia unica. Una storia di libertà e di giustizia.

interview: Christo Brand

INTERVIEWED BY JOHN CARLIN

For a time, he was a warder on Robben Island when Mandela was there. He later became Mandela's warder at Pollsmoor Prison.
What went on in this wing for the prisoners on Robben Island ... what were the rules? ...
This is B section, where Mandela and all the leader figures of the struggle were kept ... ANC, PAC, all different organizations, were kept here. Single cells. They isolated them from the main community section. We opened in the mornings at 7:00, then ... the food came, till 8:00. People started cleaning their cells. They took their toilet buckets outside ... at the back there is the section where they cleaned it and put it outside in the sun. Some of the people would start doing some rounds, around on the courtyard outside, they would walk in the mornings. 



In the afternoons ... between 12:00 and 2:00, prisoners were locked up. After 2:00 ... some prisoners would go and play tennis outside--table tennis, tennis in the courtyard. Mandela would work in his garden. He was always busy working in his garden ... He would also sometimes take part in the activities outside in the yard, playing tennis ...

Tell me about Mandela and his garden.
...[That was ] in Pollsmoor prison. We were fighting for a garden on the top roof. We got these 44-gallon drums cut in half. We brought up some soil, manure and everything ... I was also helping him ... He and Sisulu were mixing the soil with the manure and filling up the drums. There he started really producing a garden from onions, tomatoes, lettuce and different things he was planting. He was really fond of his garden ...
[At Pollsmoor], in the mornings, he woke up early, which we observed through a window ... He would first ... exercise for at least an hour, push-ups, sit-ups ... then he would go to the shower. After that, Mandela would come back, start making his bed and things, and carry on with his studies. When we opened at 7:00 ... he stood up and he greeted us in the morning ... We started dishing out the food ... after that he did his washing ... [on] certain days ... Outside were community toilets ... and Mandela would do his washing there and would hang up his washing.
He would come back and maybe drink a coffee or a tea ... after he was finished with his garden, he would study there till 12:00 [when] we locked up. Then he was moved back to the community cell ... he would, at least, sleep an hour during lunch hour, wake up at 2:00, exercise outside at the back, walk with his friends, colleagues, walk all around the courtyard, look at his garden before we locked him up. But he would also study sometimes in the afternoons. After lock up time in the evening, they would eat their food. He would start playing cards till 9:00, 10:00, and then he would maybe go through his books quickly again before he went to bed sometimes past 12:00 ... And that was his schedule on Pollsmoor prison and here at Robben Island was little bit different.
On Robben Island after 4:00 lock-up time ... we would play music from 4:00 till 6:00 ... at 6:00 we automatically played some cassettes with the news bulletins of the day which were recorded. We would play that through on the intercom ... And when I was working that office, we also taped certain programs like Radio Today and other programs which they requested. We recorded it for them. And then the next day that would be censored by ... one of the people who was very expert on censoring in the office ... Then after the news finished in the evenings, we would start playing records, that is jazz music and records which people donated for Robben Island for the recreation of the prisoners ... They had a library where they kept all the records. They would pick the records of the day ... then 9:00 we closed everything down. Prisoners were actually not allowed to study late in the evenings ...

Do you know what Mandela's taste in music was?
He was fond of ... not 100% sure, but it was jazz music. All of them were really fond of jazz music. There was a time ... I was taping this Afrikaans movie ... and that music I played through on the system. Immediately the whole display board in front of me was red lights ... They didn't want to listen to that. They told me I made a mistake. I must switch it off ...

Describe the first time that you had real communication or engagement with Mandela.
When I arrived in Robben Island in 1979, the commanding officer gave us a small speech on what type of prisoners we were working with. Then the head of the prison ... explained that we worked with the biggest criminals in history in South Africa. All the criminals ... [who] were supposed to be given the death sentence have been sent to Robben Island. I grew up in a community where I didn't know about politics at all. I came from a farm community. I never knew Mandela. I never heard the name Mandela, at that stage, but when I landed on Robben Island they didn't tell me I am going to meet Mandela. They just told me I'm going to meet the dangerous prisoners here.
When I entered B section, the first day, they took me first to the sergeant in charge, introduced me to him. Then the opposite cell from the office was a chap, Andrew Mlangeni, he came in and he said, "Oh, a new warder," and he asked my surname in Afrikaans. He had totally a different approach [than] the head of the prison told us. This man was speaking Afrikaans fluently and you couldn't see he was dangerous ...

What did the head of the prison say to you?
The head of the prison told us that we mustn't try to have unnecessary communication with the prisoners. We mustn't discuss politics or discuss any family members ... just do our job. They were very strict. If the head of the prison or somebody observed you having too long a conversation with one of the prisoners, they would immediately call you in and ask, "What is the private conversation you had with this prisoner?"

Did you break the rules?
There were occasions [when] we would break the rules, when we were alone in a section, especially at night ... I communicated with Andrew Mlangeni and he asked me what I was doing during the day. I said, "We are fishing." He said next time I am to bring him a piece of fish. And one day ... I brought him a piece ... We communicated in certain ways with them, but not for long. Especially when they exercised at the back. Sometimes, when I greeted Mandela I would ask him how's his health, how is he feeling today. And ask, "What are you studying?" and be interested in what he was doing. But there was not really much communication between us.
But from after '82, things changed. They tried to break the spirit of the ANC on Robben Island. They moved some of the leaders away from Robben Island, like Mandela, Sisulu, Mlangeni, four of them to Pollsmoor. I was also transferred to Pollsmoor prison that time. There, the communication was better. If you entered the cell, Mandela would ... make some coffee ... we must eat and drink coffee with him ... there was a more relaxed atmosphere there at Pollsmoor. Then we discussed his problems with his letters. I actually discussed his studies while we were drinking coffee ... there was not that strict relationship like on Robben Island because ...

You discussed the letters problem with Mandela ...
... some letters were being refused. When Mandela, for instance, wrote a letter we underlined [what] was not allowed to go out. We would take him the letter back. We discussed with him that these portions were being refused for political reasons. It can't go out. He must rewrite his letter. Then he must also hand the old letter in to us. We want the old letter back. It means he must rewrite the whole letter ... then he would hand it in and the letter was kept in his files. But all letters of the leader figures were referred to security branch. We made copies. We first sent originals to them, but some of them got lost on the way. So later, we made ... three copies of the letters--that is one for the security branch, one for national intelligence and one for our files. For instance ... [when the] original one was approved, we had at least one of our copies to trace back if things were being smuggled out or whatever.
There were rumors that Mandela smuggled letters out of prison. Or there was a letter being smuggled out to the outside world and I asked Mandela about it. "Did you smuggle a letter out?" He said, "Mr. Brandt, you know if I'm alone in a cell and there's an ant walking there, there is still life around me. It means there's many ways to send a letter out."
There was one occasion when after hours I opened his cell to give him a message that Mr. Kobie Coetsee wanted to see him. While I was standing there ... a long rope with something heavy on the bottom in a bag was thrown through the window from the top story ... into his cell. So he caught it, he gave it to me, he said, "Mr. Brand it must be for you." When I opened it, it was actually for him. Inside was a letter--the criminal prisoners asking for some tobacco or any foodstuff which he could give them ... then he could put it in a bag ... he could add his letters, they would take it out because ... the criminals go to court every day and it was a way for them to take a letter out.
I showed him the letter and he said, "Mr. Brand you must report this business." And so I reported it and two days or three days after that he was moved to hospital. Immediately, the prison department put louvres on the whole top part of the section of his cell...
...
Tell me more about the guidelines that you had on censoring letters, because obviously you had some discretion. What were you told?
The guidelines which we had to censoring letters was photos, for instance ... peace signs or all those type of signs of the freedom were not allowed. Those were kept back. If he wrote any message to an unknown person who we did not know, we would refer to security branch ... they would send us a letter back that this person is high in the ANC or they are on the run or they are looking for him. Then that part must be cut out.
He was actually, in the beginning, only allowed to correspond with A-degree, first degree family relatives. And letters were strictly censored. There was no news. Mandela and others really want news from outside. Even letters which come in. If Winnie told them about or one of his family members wrote him a letter about a certain bomb blast somewhere, that was cut out. Of certain things happening, of certain gatherings she attended, then the security branch would find out if this gathering was a legal gathering, or was a organization gathering or whatever, that must come out.
Even when he had visitors ... at the visiting box, on Robben Island, there was a piece which we closed if the prisoner ... started changing his subject and he started talking about other people which is not family, or he talked about politics, or he tried to get information in, we immediately switched off. A prisoner was wearing a telephone when he had a visit with his family member on telephone, we cut the line this side. So the other person on the other side could not see what he was [saying] now. He'd just see the mouth was moving, but he couldn't hear.
Then we would warn him, "Mr. Mandela, you can't talk about this and this issue." Then we would have an argument about this, or we would discuss that or he said, "Okay, fine, Mr. Brand," then he would carry on. If it happened two or three times we stopped the visit on the dot. Even if his visit was only for 30 minutes, and he had 10 minutes in the visit more, we stopped the visit. Next time that family member or whatever would be refused, not allowed to come again, or under certain conditions.

Did you ever stop a visit?
There were occasions [when] we stopped him, but then he immediately apologized, and he would carry on. He was quite a gentleman and he knew how to change the subject and how to carry on with his conversations.
There was one occasion when Winnie came to Robben Island ... and she brought a baby with her ... That was one of his grandchildren. When she ended up at the visiting booth, she was not allowed to bring the child in, because he wasn't allowed to see children at all, under the age of 16. So that child was kept back, held in the waiting room with somebody else ... Mandela had the visit ... after we switched off ... [he requested] if he can see the child or just touch the child ... We said, "No sorry, we can't do that." Then he really pleaded to us that he wanted to just see the child ... So Mr. du Preez, he was a Xhosa person ... listening to him in Xhosa. He said, "Christ, go and fetch the child quickly there". I go to the other side. I said to Winnie, "Mandela wants to see you again in the box for five minutes." When she went to the box, we said she must just wait ... I said to the other lady, "I want to keep the child for a while."
So I take the child through the back door, and we call Mandela and we put it in his arms, unexpected. We tell him he must keep quiet about it. We can lose our jobs here. And he said, "Oh," and he held the child, he kissed the child, there were really tears in his eyes at that moment. We took the child immediately out of his arms, took it back to the lady ... [Winnie] didn't know that he had seen the child. The lady inside didn't know where I had taken the child to. Nobody knew that Mandela had ever seen the child. Mandela kept it a secret from everybody, I think. And so we were very pleased ...
What were the criteria for deciding whether you were moved to Pollsmoor?
... on Robben Island our young warders were also isolated from the outside world. Because every fortnight you were only off for two days. You left here on the Friday afternoon, then Friday night you're at home, Saturday night at home, Sunday you must be back on Robben Island. Maybe once every three months you would get a permission to come back on the Monday mornings boat. So I was fighting all the time for a transfer, from the time I arrived on Robben Island, and every time I was turned down. In 1982, they turned down my last application for Robben Island, to have a transfer ... And then things happened. The commanding officer ... I told him I got married in 1982. I wanted a transfer and he said he would let me know. He called me in. He said to me, "Sorry, your transfer is refused." While I was on my honeymoon, I got a telephone call. I must immediately report to Robben Island. When I came back here, I was called in. They said, "You start tomorrow, working on Pollsmoor prison. You are transferred." They didn't give me a reason, [or] what I was going to do or where was I going to work.
When I arrived at Pollsmoor that morning, I reported there to the commanding officer and he said, "You start the first shift, night duty, tonight, immediately." I was pleased to be on the mainland and I accepted it. When I arrived there, they said, "You are going to work on B4 section." B4 section was the top roof section. That same night when I started, Mandela and others arrived there. We were helping them take all their boxes and things up to the section. They were so pleased to see me ... so I was with them working night duty for the first week ... and then after that I worked day shift in the section and tried to sort out all their problems. There were a lot of problems about the food ... to sort out the right procedure of the food ... things were unorganized. But they were happy there was fresh water. If they open a tap they can drink the water. Not this hard water of Robben Island. After a time, we got settled, and ... another gentleman was working with me, Mr. Smuts. Mr. Gregory turned up there and the three of us worked together.
Then I was moved to the censor office. There was nobody really dealing with their studies, and I started getting their things together. I contacted the different companies like UNISA, UTAS and all these organizations ... for the books and things, to organize them [now] that they are on the mainland now. And later, they gave us permission, Mandela must write, for instance, a letter to Jutas, applying for a certain book. If the book is approved through us, he could order the book. Sometimes it took two, three weeks before he get the book ...
On the premises on Pollsmoor, I had a small motorbike that time ... if they wanted to send a letter out to be posted So I would censor a letter, I made my three copies and immediately posted it. We did not first send it to security branch to get an answer back. We immediately posted the letters. But some of the letters were also picked up by security branch at the post office from time to time. So we made it easier. Letters were constantly coming in every day. If a letter arrived I would make my copies. Two of us, me and Mr. Gregory, would go through the letter. If we approved it, we immediately ... took it through to the section once a day, gave them their letters. Like newspapers, only in the morning I would pass the section, take the newspapers for them, ask for any complaints, because we had a special register, we wrote down complaints. If they had any complaint they must put it in writing to me. Then I would put their complaint in this register ... I would refer ... further to the head of the prison, or the commanding officer to the head office of somewhere. When the answer came back, the commanding officer or head office would give me feedback. I would write it in the same book, next to his complaint. Then I would inform him his complaint and he must just sign ... even if he did not accepted the answer, he must sign there that he got his answer back. From there he could fight his complaint further.

When he was in the cell in Pollsmoor, Mandela was under surveillance.
Yes, yes.

Describe to me the different methods that were used to monitor him.
On Pollsmoor, there was the one-way glass to the big cell ... before one officer, for instance, visited a section, he would first go to the one-way glass to see what were they doing in the cell. Sometimes, we would just watch through the glass, and observe them and go and sign the book that we had visited the section ... Through the one-way glass the warder could also observe at night what were they doing. They were playing cards ... what were their activities inside.
There were also occasions when Mandela had special requests which we put in. Then the commanding officer would send me into the section to call Mandela to one side and give him a special message. They also bugged with the microphone and with a small tape recorder, sometimes direct linked to the office. Somebody would listen to our conversation. Then I would go into the cell and call Mandela to one side and I would give him his message. Then he would maybe not accept it. He would give me ... feedback. I would report that to the officers. Then I would tell him also, "Please put it on paper for me." But immediately the officer had the answer already. They had listened to the conversation. But sometimes Mandela wanted to discuss a private thing with me and I am bugged. Then I would show him that I am bugged and ... I said, "Let us go to the garden," because I can't switch the system on me. Because I was afraid the people could also pick me out. That I have discussed certain things with him, private things, private conversations. I was only sent there to give him a message. Not have a big conversation. Or he sometimes when I entered there wanted to make me coffee I said, "No Mandela, I don't want to drink coffee now." And I would show to my body that I had something on me. And sometimes it was not possible. The officer would look through one-way glass and I'm inside. Then I would just give him a tip with the eye or something to try to ... I would just cut the thing short, and just give the message and said, "I am in a hurry." Try to get him off my back.

Why were you doing this? Why were you tipping Mandela off?
Because I wanted to be ... there was one day when they called us into the head of the prison office. A few generals from head office, I can't remember their names now, called us in. There were three of us. Mr. Smuts, Terblanche and me, the three of us were working on the section. Called us in and we pushed Mr. Smuts first. He must go and find out. They wanted to interview us about Mandela, about the section conditions. Mr. Smuts goes in, they ask him (he explained to me after the conversation.) "What do you think of Mandela?" He said, "Mandela is a politician. He is a man of politics ... fighting for his people," They all jumped up. They were very upset. They said, "You are not supposed to work on the section." They gave him a hard talk. They chased him out of the office. They called Mr. Terblanche in. I asked Smuts what was going on ... Immediately, I was geared for that questions ...
So when it my time to go in, they asked me what I thought of Mandela. I said, "Oh, I think Mandela should have been hanged that time. He just gives us a [hard] time and unnecessary complaints in this prison. I don't think he should have been [brought] here." And they all congratulated me, gave me the handshake. They said, "No, carry on with your good job. Don't fight with the prisoners. Just do your work according the rules," and I walked out. They were very fond of me. And so I moved into the office after that. And Mr. Smuts, they were very upset with him.
After that ... the security branch also visited our families outside. Asked them, "Do you know Christo? Where is he working?" Then they said, "He works somewhere in Pollsmoor," because my family didn't know I worked with Mandela ... The same thing happened on Robben Island when warders were sent there, we'd go through an ordinary security check. And then if you were not perfect enough to work in this section, they put you at the medium prison where you worked with the criminals on Robben Island. Otherwise, you worked here, if you were not political motivated outside. But on Pollsmoor, because I worked with a lot of [secret] stuff, they extra security checked me out. Very extra. Then I was allowed to work in certain things like if Mandela had a visit, I monitored the visit or recorded it. And these records ... we wrote it down word by word, and then we sent it by ... telex ... to the head office. And the same time, security branch get the copy of the tape. They would also go through it to get information ... all visits were monitored, strictly monitored ...

Also conversation between the prisoners?
That was at a later stage, when they separated him. In 1985, after his prostate operation, they moved him back to Pollsmoor prison. But in an isolation section ...where there were three cells ... he was staying in [one] cell, the other one we were using for the bathroom and store his things, and the empty one was for the warders ... then there was a big bathroom for him, and a exercise yard for himself.
Before he moved in, they put a lot of bugs into this section. There were speaker boxes, small communication boxes, which they disconnected, but ... they also put bugs in ... then they put a separate room up, operations room near the administration offices on Pollsmoor ... a small room. From there all the cables and things was linked to that room. There you could listen in to Mandela's cell. You could listen into the head of the prison office, the two deputies office and even to the place where they had their visits.
There was a special place for their visits that time. Even the head of the prison must be afraid ... what he's talking in his office ... Only when there was conversation taking place, the machine came on ... In Mandela's cell, if you put on the radio it wouldn't come on. Or the TV, it wouldn't come on. Only when two people were speaking, the system would start recording. And then they would listen during the day to the conversations.

What kind of conversations were they concerned about?
They were afraid of conversations that he would have with night shift warders ... that's why they put the bugs there. There were also occasions ... Sisulu applied ... was his birthday ... to see Mandela. Now Mandela wanted to see him in his cell. Now they don't want to take them to the visiting room, but it would be awkward two prisoners sitting in the visiting room. They'd rather bring them to his cell. Sisulu would come down there, he would eat with him and maybe only spend a hour there ... then they had the conversations on record.
There were also cases when a whole group applied--they must see Mandela over Christmas season. And then there came a mistake. The commanding officer of the Pollsmoor went on leave, the deputy commanding officer gave me instruction [that] I must take Mandela to the [other prisoners'] section. Normally, all of them come to Mandela's side ... they were staying in the female prison, [there] was not anything to monitor this situation. I was thinking maybe they don't want it to be monitored. So I take Mandela there, alone by car ... I also go on lunch home, because it was not necessary for me to record anything. So after my lunch, I go back to fetch Mandela. Then I forgot something at home, and I said to Mandela ... "I just pop in at my place quickly." So I stopped there with the car, and ... I called my wife out, and he greeted my wife and had a chat there at the car, and we moved slowly on back to Pollsmoor prison, so he had been able to meet my family.
There was also occasion when I worked day duty, because I had become a warrant officer, I must visit the prison. I must visit the sections ... visit Mandela's cell ... visit all the different sections of the political people. There was also detainees all these on Pollsmoor. So I took my son with me. He was nearly a year old ... I took him into Mandela's cell, and Mandela touched my child, and talked to him and gave him sweets and things. They were very fond of my children. Always sent a message to my wife. Mandela also wrote a small letter, which he smuggled out with a friend of mine, to my wife to [tell] my wife she must motivate me to study. I still have that small letter today. He also sent a chocolate without me knowing it. When I arrived there, she said she received a chocolate from Mandela ...

Tell me a bit more about the meeting with your wife. Did Mandela actually go into your house?
... there was one occasion ... actually coming into my house. But [he] just stood inside while he was on the phone and got back into the car ... Not really sitting down drinking coffee ... see we offered him coffee, but the time was limited ... But a later stage, after Mr. Kobie Coetsee's discussions, we more freely moved with Mandela. We got instructions from the head office we must take Mandela out for a Sunday afternoon trip somewhere. One day, we took him to Constantia, just to go to the farmer there, asked ... to walk in his garden ... the farmer was not worried about Mandela. We walked through the grapes, and Mandela picked a piece of two grapes to eat ...
One day we even take him to Pollsmoor. There's a big dam. Pollsmoor children like fishing there .. we took him near the dam and he got out of the car. We told him he can go and walk. The commanding officer and me were sitting in the car, and Mandela walked alone there on the dam, the side of the dam and talked to the children while they were fishing. I don't know what they discussed but he was just talking to them and was forming such a nice feeling to see small children enjoying themselves on the side of the dam ...
You were present, to some degree, in a meeting between Mandela and Kobie Coetsee at Kobie Coetsee's house.
... At his house ... when they started negotiating, there was a special garage with a special place. From there they monitored everything, very strict. Everything was monitored by cassette. Everything was recorded. The whole conversation. Our warders were not allowed to listen to that ... only national intelligence was dealing with those conversations. So we were also there at the house. And I remember still the way he was one day when I was there, when Mr. Kobie Coetsee asked Mandela what he going to drink. He said, "Sir, I will drink the same as you."
So Mr. Kobie Coetsee ordered....Mandela took the same drink. That was whiskey on ice. That I can still remember and when we walked out one day ... Mandela stood with his hand around Mr. Kobie Coetsee. He said to Mr. Kobie Coetsee, "You know, when we walked out here, Mr. Munro, Mr. Brand, Mr. Gregory there they will say look ... he has become white." ... and we made a joke at it, and all of us were laughing for this joke. So we got him in the car and took him back to Pollsmoor. That was one occasion...
There were special night occasions when we took him out at night ... one evening I get a telephone call. I must prepare Mandela, 10:00. We must take him out to Kobie Coetsee's house. I go to my office. Fetch a suit, because we were not allowed to keep the suit with him. Take it straight to Mandela's room. I knocked. I informed the person in charge of night duty that we go on a secret mission tonight. That he doesn't want to know about it ... So I collected the keys. We moved out with Mandela at the back door of the prison ... Nobody in the prison knew that Mandela had been taken out. We got him in a private car ... We took him alone to the visit without any guards. Only national intelligence was waiting for us.
There was one occasion when Mr. Kobie Coetsee said one day we could take him around Cape Town and we stopped at Sea Point, where we showed Mandela Robben Island and he didn't believe that was Robben Island. He got out of the car ... he just stood outside there, and we got him back in the car and we moved on around Cape Town.

Suddenly he was discovering things, maybe there had been technological advances in cars, in televisions, in radios. Do you remember him maybe expressing surprise?
... the first time we took him out with a car, was a big surprise for him ... he was standing next to the door. He tried to open this door. He was looking for a button to press. That year when he got to prison, the cars didn't have handles which lift up ... and he was standing outside and he knocked, he said, "Mr. Brand, I can't open the door." I said, "Just open the handle there, the handle is there." He said he can't find the handle. I said, "Just put your hand in and lift the thing." He didn't know how to open it.
Conversations you had with Winnie when she came to Pollsmoor, do you have any recollection of any points of tension between them?
There were points of tension between Winnie and Mandela on some occasions. Especially, he wanted her to sometimes note down certain things, and if she did not have a notebook, he would argue about it--that she must always be ready for a visit ... When he went to a visit, he would have all notes with him. He already prepared notes two days or three days in advance, exactly what to discuss in this meeting. He was ready for her and she must take certain notes down and try to do certain things for him outside. Then she would come with information from outside from him. Later years, we were not so strict on the politics. Things became easier for him to get news and information from outside. Newspapers were not censored, news was not censored, they had [ their] own radio, own TV, everything ...

Can you explain a bit more what you mean by these notebooks ...
Sometimes Mandela gave Winnie certain instructions to do for him outside. And then she said she would do it and then the next [time] she came back ... and she hadn't done it at all. Then he was cross about this incident. He said to her, "Get a notebook. Note it down when you get at home, because you have met a lot of people on your way back, you will forget it. At least, if you have the notebook, you can go back to it and then you can refresh your mind what we were discussing" ...

What was your impression of Nelson's feelings about Winnie?
I saw Nelson's feelings with Winnie. They were very close. You could see he really loved her. She was his main instrument outside to carry his name out. Everything which she did outside was done on his behalf ... And they were very ... even when he greeted her ... The way he talked to her. How he handled her. There was a incident when she was sick, and he was very worried about her sickness ... He sent a message out ... to find out how is her health. He was also worried about her driving sometimes. He was very caring for her. You could see, he was very caring for Winnie ... after all those years the love was still between them. The first occasion when they greeted each other, it seemed if they'd just married. And you could see there was big respect, like I said, for each other.

Let me ask you about another relationship ... between Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu.
They have a special relationship. Like they have special names for each other. And Mandela always respected Sisulu. He told me on one occasion, "Mr. Brand, you know, if I didn't listen to this old man, I should have never been in prison. I came from Transkei to study here, then this old man motivated me to join him and going with him with the politics. So I end up in prison now. I should have never been here. I was not interested in politics." So he makes those type of jokes.
But you can see the big respect is there, because Sisulu was also his best man in Mandela's wedding with Winnie and there was a lot of respect between Mandela and Sisulu and Kathrada ... Like Kathrada was always honored to help them and do small things and favors for them and do himself short to try to make it comfortable for them. When Sisulu wanted to talk, they would keep quiet and listen to him. Even Mandela listened to Sisulu.
There were occasions, in the sections, when there was a argument between a warder and one of them ... then you would see later Mandela call the lot in together. Sisulu would report to Mandela, then you would see the lot sit around the table and discuss this incident. And then [they] would be calm after that.
I also saw Mandela one day very cross. That was an occasion when he was isolation after '85 ... A warder on night duty asked him for his newspaper report ... Mr. Zeeman. So Mr. Zeeman read the report, when he wanted to give it back to Mandela that night, Mandela was asleep. He just put it inside the grill ... Then the person in charge at night duty came ... and he took the newspaper with him. The next morning Mandela called me. He wanted his newspaper. I must phone Mr. Zeeman ... Mr. Zeeman said [he left] it in the grill. I told Mandela. He said he wanted to see him. He was very cross. He really gave him ... it seems he wanted to slap him that day. But there was a big argument ... and I tried to calm Mandela down, because he was really upset that day. And the next day we find the newspaper coming back from the night duty, the person who took it by coincidence. He can get cross.

We are told by his friends that when he gets cross, he really does get cross.
That's true ... if there was really something disturbing him or somebody lied to him, he did not accept people lying to him. Must rather tell him you can't do it, but you mustn't lie to him. Especially [if you] took something of him and lied to him. You should've told him you took it. Then he would accept it, in a way. But if you lied to him ... then he was very upset.

... Mandela's relationship with the top commanders in the prison. Do you have any recollection of any exchanges ... anything that gave a feeling of Mandela's own authority?
Mandela sometimes demanded certain things. Like he said one day that sometimes when he had a request to a ordinary warder, he would get a good answer. He would be helped in his request, but if he put his request further to higher levels, like to the commanding officer or to the generals, they said they would refer to the minister, and then the answer came back--it's refused.
Like, for instance, he was fighting for a hot plate. In his prison, he wanted to warm up his food at night. He put in a request he wanted a hot plate. I, personally, referred to the commanding officer, and the commanding officer said no, he can't approve this. It's not approved. So I go back to Mandela ... He said no, he wanted then the commissioner ... so we referred to the commissioner, commissioner referred to the minister and they all decided no. Then it stayed quiet for quite a while, for a month or so. Then the head of the prison came back from leave. One day he visited the section and [Mandela] asked Major van Sittert ... to buy a hot plate, because his food was cold at night. Explained it nice. The head of prison said, "Mr. Brandt, go and buy the plate for the man." "But the hot plate," I said, "you must approve it." Mandela said he had it on paper already, he wrote a request. And he took it out of his drawer and he just put in a date and the head of the prison approved it ... I went and bought it immediately. Then a month later the ... commanding officer visited. And he was quite shocked. He said, "Where you get the hot plate from?" He said, "The head of the prison approve it" And they never went against the authority of the head of a prison ... After that Mr. Kathrada and the other people also get hot plates ... That was one incident.

Where were you on the day of the release?
... on the day of release I was watching it on TV ... I was very proud and very happy for his sake to see him walk outside there. I was very pleased to see the big reception he received and even I listened to the meeting he had on the Grand Parade. I was very happy about this incident. I even tried to phone Sisulu ... Kathrada that night but I didn't get him ... But after ... about a week, two weeks after that, he was phoning me, Mandela. I wasn't at home. He spoke to my children. Just to say hello and that.

Tell me about Kathrada and Mandela. Sisulu and Mandela had a very special relationship. Kathrada was very close but different. What do you remember about that?
Kathrada is very close to Mr. Mandela ... that's why he works today in the president's office. And he was always the person who organized things. When Mandela was isolated alone, Kathrada would send notes and give it to me and I would give it to Mandela. And Mandela would give me a small note to take to Kathrada, without authorities knowing about it. They would even throw it away. Kathrada would keep a secret. Mandela would keep a secret. And they would share these secrets with each other. There were occasions where they suspected certain things. I spoke openly to Kathrada, but I would tell him he must keep quiet about it. And things they knew about each other, but Kathrada ... he would give his last cent, had one cent in his pocket he would give it away to Mandela. So he was near to Mandela. He would do himself short to try to please the others. Not only with Mandela, but with everybody.

At one point, people were leaving newspaper articles in Mandela's cell with negative things about Winnie, smearing her. Do you have any recollection of that?
He always was positive. He always believed in Winnie. He tried to make it positive and said that is part of the security branch, that is part of the struggle to break her down like that. There was also a incident where Winnie was hurt in a accident, broke her arm, which he came and reported to me. He was also worried about that accident and she straightforward said that was security branch pushing her off the road on that occasion. But he was always positive. He always believed in Winnie.
During the time you were on Robben Island and also in Pollsmoor, was it clear to you that Mandela was the leader?
On Robben Island and in Pollsmoor, people outside and inside viewed him as a leader. Even if there was person from a different political background, in PAC or any other organization, they respected Mandela as a leader ... they were all comrades together on Robben Island. Like they mentioned to each other, they had differences in politics, but they respected the leaders of the section ... They respected him as a leader. And even between the warders we observed that Mandela was the leader here trying to be in control of his people inside the prison. If there was a problem inside he would send a message to try to solve the problem.
It seems to me that your relationship evolved... that he almost became your leader.
That is true. While he was in prison on Robben Island, I treated him like I treated all the other prisoners ... But when you were alone, you would maybe listen more to him, and respect him more for his views and what he discussed.
But after '85, after negotiations started ... I was thinking that he will be the leader of the people outside - not, say, my leader. But I listened to him. I would never say I agreed with him, I would never say not agreed with him. But after he came to Victor Verster and then was released, I respected him as a leader for South Africa people. And later he became my leader. And I was very proud that one of my prisoners, which I looked after, became my leader now and ... I felt very proud and happy when I was invited to his birthday party. That one of my ex-prisoners, is the president now ...
You said that you became aware around the time of the negotiations, what was it that made you sense that this was something really big that was happening?
After '85, the government respected his views, because they started negotiating with him. Mandela always told me he had tried from the '60s, and before that he wrote letters to Verwoerd, he wrote letters to Diedericks and he approached them. They never answered his letters. And now all of a sudden people are responding to him and seeing him. Even the Eminent Person Group ... And that was [when] I started believing ... he will be the leader of South Africa.
Link By PBS Mandela interviews



DISCURSO MEMORABLE 

“Es un ideal por el que espero vivir, pero por el que estoy dispuesto a morir”

El líder ‘antiapartheid’ compareció el 20 de abril de 1964 ante el Tribunal Supremo de Pretoria y explicó por qué recurrió a la violencia para combatir el racismo. Fue condenado a cadena perpetua. El discurso marcó para siempre su biografía. 

El furgón que trasladó a prisión a Mandela en 1964

Estas fueron sus palabras

Soy el primer acusado. Soy licenciado en arte y he ejercido como abogado en Johannesburgo durante algunos años en colaboración con Oliver Tambo. Soy un prisionero condenado a cinco años por salir del país sin permiso y por incitar a la gente a hacer huelga a finales de mayo de 1961.
De entrada, quiero decir que la insinuación de que la lucha en Sudáfrica esté influida por extranjeros o comunistas es absolutamente falsa. Sea lo que sea lo que he hecho, lo he hecho por mis experiencias en Sudáfrica y mis raíces africanas, de las que me siento orgulloso, y no por lo que cualquier extranjero pueda haber dicho. Durante mi juventud en Transkei, escuché a los ancianos de la tribu contar historias sobre los viejos tiempos. Entre las historias que me narraron se encuentran las de las batallas libradas por nuestros antepasados en defensa de la patria. Los nombres de Dingane y Bambata, Hintsa y Makana, Squngthi y Dalasile, Moshoeshoe y Sekhukhuni, eran elogiados y considerados el orgullo de toda la nación africana. Por entonces yo esperaba que la vida pudiese ofrecerme la oportunidad de servir a mi pueblo y hacer mi humilde contribución a su lucha por la libertad.
Algunas de las cosas que se le han dicho al tribunal hasta ahora son ciertas, y otras falsas. No niego, sin embargo, que planeé un sabotaje. No lo hice movido por la imprudencia ni porque sienta ningún amor por la violencia. Lo planeé como consecuencia de una evaluación tranquila y racional de la situación política a la que se había llegado tras muchos años de tiranía, explotación y opresión de mi pueblo por parte de los blancos.
Primero infringimos la ley de un modo que eludía todo recurso a la violencia; cuando se legisló contra esta vía, y a continuación el Gobierno recurrió a una demostración de fuerza para aplastar la oposición a sus políticas, solo entonces decidimos responder a la violencia con violencia.Admito de inmediato que yo fui una de las personas que ayudó a crear Umkhonto we Sizwe [brazo armado del Congreso Nacional Africano]. Niego que Umkhonto fuese responsable de una serie de actos que claramente están al margen de las políticas de la organización y de los que se nos ha acusado. Yo y las demás personas que fundaron la organización pesamos que sin violencia no se abriría ninguna vía para que el pueblo africano venza en su lucha contra el principio de la supremacía blanca. Todas las formas legales de expresar la oposición a este principio habían sido proscritas por ley y nos veíamos en una situación en la que teníamos que elegir entre aceptar un estado permanente de inferioridad o desafiar al Gobierno. Optamos por desafiar la ley.
Durante la campaña de desafío, se aprobaron las leyes de Seguridad Pública y de Enmienda del Código Penal. Estas contemplaban unos castigos más duros por las protestas contra [las] leyes. A pesar de ello, las protestas continuaron y el ANC se mantuvo firme en su política de no violencia. En 1956, 156 miembros destacados de la Alianza del Congreso, entre los que me encontraba, fuimos detenidos. La política no violenta del ANC fue puesta en tela de juicio por el Estado, pero cuando el tribunal emitió su veredicto unos cinco años después, halló que el ANC no tenía una política de violencia.El Congreso Nacional Africano (ANC, por sus siglas en inglés) se constituyó en 1912 para defender los derechos del pueblo africano, que se habían visto gravemente coartados. Durante 37 años – es decir, hasta 1949 — llevó a cabo una lucha estrictamente constitucional. Pero los Gobiernos blancos se mantuvieron inamovibles y los derechos de los africanos se redujeron en vez de ampliarse. Incluso después de 1949, el ANC seguía decidido a evitar la violencia. En esa época, sin embargo, se tomó la decisión de protestar contra el apartheid mediante manifestaciones pacíficas, aunque ilegales. Más de 8.500 personas fueron a la cárcel. Pero no hubo ni un solo caso de violencia. Yo y 19 compañeros fuimos condenados por organizar la campaña, pero nuestras condenas se suspendieron, principalmente porque el juez consideró que en todo momento se había hecho hincapié en la no violencia y la disciplina.
En 1960, el Gobierno celebró un referéndum que condujo a la instauración de la república. Los africanos, que representaban aproximadamente el 70% de la población, no tenían derecho a votar y ni siquiera se les consultó. Asumí la responsabilidad de organizar la campaña nacional para que la gente se quedara en casa coincidiendo con la declaración de la república. Puesto que todas las huelgas de los africanos son ilegales, la persona que organice dichas huelgas debe evitar ser detenida. Tuve que dejar mi casa y mi familia y mi trabajo para esconderme y evitar que me detuvieran. El quedarse en casa debía ser una manifestación pacífica. Se dieron instrucciones precisas para evitar cualquier brote de violencia.En 1960 se produjo el tiroteo de Sharpeville, que tuvo como consecuencia la ilegalización del ANC. Mis compañeros y yo, tras meditarlo detenidamente, decidimos que no íbamos a acatar ese decreto. El pueblo africano no formaba parte del Gobierno y no hacía las leyes por las que debía regirse. Creíamos en las palabras de la Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos, que dice que “la voluntad del pueblo será la base de la autoridad del Gobierno” y, para nosotros, aceptar la prohibición equivalía a aceptar que se silenciase a los africanos para siempre. El ANC se negó a disolverse, y, en vez de eso, pasó a la clandestinidad.
Los miembros del ANC siempre hemos defendido una democracia no racista y nos alejábamos de cualquier acción que pudiese distanciar aún más las razas. Pero la dura realidad era que lo único que había conseguido el pueblo africano tras 50 años de no violencia era una legislación cada vez más represiva y unos derechos cada vez más mermados. Por entonces, la violencia ya se había convertido, de hecho, en un elemento característico de la escena política sudafricana.La respuesta del Gobierno fue aprobar leyes nuevas y más estrictas, movilizar a las fuerzas armadas y enviar mercenarios, vehículos armados y soldados a los municipios segregados en lo que constituyó un alarde de fuerza masivo para intimidar a la gente. El Gobierno había decidido gobernar exclusivamente por la fuerza y esta decisión marcó un punto de inflexión en el camino hacia Umkhonto. ¿Qué debíamos hacer nosotros, los líderes de nuestro pueblo? No teníamos la menor duda de que teníamos que proseguir la lucha. Cualquier otra decisión habría sido una vil rendición. Nuestra duda no era si debíamos luchar, sino la manera de continuar la lucha.
Hubo violencia en 1957 cuando a las mujeres de Zccrust se les ordenó que llevasen un pase encima; hubo violencia en 1958 con el sacrificio selectivo del ganado en Sekhukhuneland; hubo violencia en 1959 cuando la gente de Cato Manor protestó por los controles de los pases; hubo violencia en 1960 cuando el Gobierno intentó imponer autoridades bantúes en Pondoland. Cada altercado apuntaba a la inevitable intensificación entre los africanos de la creencia de que la violencia era la única salida; mostraba que un Gobierno que emplea la fuerza para imponer su dominio enseña a los oprimidos a usar la fuerza para oponerse a él.
Eran posibles cuatro formas de violencia. Está el sabotaje, está la guerra de guerrillas, está el terrorismo y está la revolución abierta. Optamos por adoptar la primera. El sabotaje no conllevaba la pérdida de vidas y era lo que ofrecía más esperanzas para las relaciones interraciales en el futuro. El resentimiento sería el mínimo posible y, si la estrategia daba sus frutos, el Gobierno democrático podría llegar a ser una realidad. El plan inicial se basaba en un análisis pormenorizado de la situación política y económica de nuestro país. Creíamos que Sudáfrica dependía en gran medida del capital extranjero. Pensábamos que la destrucción planificada de centrales eléctricas, y la interrupción de las comunicaciones telefónicas y ferroviarias, ahuyentarían la inversión en el país, lo que empujaría a los votantes a replantearse su postura. Umkhonto llevó a cabo su primera operación el 16 de diciembre de 1961, cuando fueron atacados varios edificios del Gobierno en Johannesburgo, Port Elizabeth y Durban. La selección de los blancos es una prueba de la política a la que me he referido. Si hubiésemos pretendido atentar contra las personas, habríamos seleccionado objetivos en los que se congrega la gente y no edificios vacíos y centrales eléctricas.Llegué a la conclusión de que, puesto que la violencia en este país era inevitable, sería poco realista seguir predicando la paz y la no violencia. No me fue fácil llegar a esta conclusión. Solo cuando todo lo demás había fracasado, cuando todas las vías de protesta pacífica se nos habían cerrado, tomamos la decisión de recurrir a formas violentas de lucha política. Lo único que puedo decir es que me sentía moralmente obligado a hacer lo que hice.
Los blancos no fueron capaces de responder proponiendo cambios; respondieron a nuestro llamamiento proponiendo los laager, una especie de fortines improvisados. Por el contrario, la respuesta de los africanos fue de ánimo. De repente, volvía a haber esperanza. La gente empezaba a hacer conjeturas sobre cuándo llegaría la libertad.
Nos sentíamos en el deber de prepararnos para usar la fuerza a fin de defendernos frente a ella. Decidimos por tanto tomar medidas para la posibilidad de una guerra de guerrillas. Todos los blancos pasan por un servicio militar obligatorio, pero a los africanos no se les proporciona ese entrenamiento. Desde nuestro punto de vista, era esencial crear un núcleo de hombres entrenados que fuesen capaces de proporcionar el liderazgo que se necesitaría si estallaba una guerra de guerrillas.Pero en Umkhonto sopesábamos la respuesta de los blancos con desasosiego. Se estaban trazando líneas. Los blancos y los negros se estaban pasando a bandos diferentes y la posibilidad de evitar una guerra civil se reducía. Los periódicos blancos publicaban artículos diciendo que el sabotaje se castigaría con la muerte. Si eso era cierto, ¿cómo podíamos seguir manteniendo a los africanos alejados del terrorismo?
Llegados a ese punto, se decidió que yo debía asistir a la Conferencia del Movimiento Panafricano por la Libertad que iba a celebrarse a principios de 1962 en Adís Abeba y que, tras la conferencia, iniciaría un recorrido por los Estados africanos con el fin de encontrar centros de adiestramiento para los soldados. Mi viaje fue un éxito. Dondequiera que iba, encontraba solidaridad con nuestra causa y promesas de ayuda. Toda África estaba unida contra la actitud de la Sudáfrica blanca y hasta en Londres me recibieron con gran cordialidad dirigentes políticos como Gaitskell y Grimond.
Empecé a estudiar el arte de la guerra y la revolución y, mientras estaba en el extranjero, realicé un curso de entrenamiento militar. Si iba a haber una guerra de guerrillas, quería ser capaz de apoyar a mi pueblo y combatir junto a el, y de compartir los peligros de la guerra con ellos.
A mi regreso descubrí que pocas cosas habían cambiado en el panorama político, salvo que la amenaza de la pena de muerte para el delito de sabotaje se había convertido en un hecho.
Otra de las alegaciones que presenta el Estado es que los objetivos y fines del ANC y los del Partido Comunista son los mismos. El credo del ANC es, y siempre ha sido, el credo del nacionalismo africano. No es el concepto del nacionalismo africano expresado por el grito de “Empujad al hombre blanco mar adentro”. El nacionalismo africano que defiende el ANC es el concepto de libertad y plenitud para el pueblo africano en su propia tierra. El documento político más importante que ha adoptado el ANC en toda su historia es la “carta de la libertad”. No es en ningún modo un plan para un Estado socialista. Exige la redistribución, pero no la nacionalización, de la tierra; contempla la nacionalización de las minas, los bancos y los sectores monopolistas, porque los grandes monopolios están en manos de una de las razas solamente y, sin esa nacionalización, la dominación racial se perpetuaría aunque se repartiese el poder político. Conforme a la carta de la libertad, la nacionalización se llevaría a cabo en el contexto de una economía basada en la empresa privada.
Por lo que respecta al Partido Comunista, y si entiendo correctamente su política, defiende la creación de un Estado basado en los principios del marxismo. El Partido Comunista hace hincapié en la diferencia de clases, mientras que el ANC pretende que convivan en armonía. Esta es una distinción esencial.
Es cierto que a menudo ha habido una cooperación estrecha entre el ANC y el Partido Comunista. Pero esta cooperación es simplemente la prueba de que hay un objetivo común – la abolición de la supremacía blanca, en este caso — y no demuestra una coincidencia completa de nuestros intereses. La historia del mundo está llena de ejemplos similares. Quizás el más sorprendente sea la cooperación entre Gran Bretaña, Estados Unidos y la Unión Soviética en la lucha contra Hitler. Nadie salvo Hitler se habría atrevido a afirmar que dicha cooperación convertía a Churchill o a Roosevelt en comunistas. Las diferencias teóricas entre aquellos que luchan contra la opresión son un lujo que no podemos permitirnos en este momento.
Es más, durante muchas décadas los comunistas fueron el único grupo político en Sudáfrica dispuesto a tratar a los africanos como seres humanos y como sus iguales; que estaba dispuesto a comer con nosotros; a hablar con nosotros, a vivir con nosotros y a trabajar con nosotros. Eran el único grupo que estaba dispuesto a trabajar con los africanos para lograr derechos políticos y ocupar un lugar en la sociedad. Debido a esto, hay muchos africanos que, hoy en día, tienden a equiparar la libertad con el comunismo. Esta opinión está respaldada por un poder legislativo que tacha de comunistas a todos los exponentes de un Gobierno democrático y de la libertad africana y proscribe a muchos de ellos (que no son comunistas) en virtud de la Ley de Supresión del Comunismo. Aunque nunca he sido miembro del Partido Comunista, he sido encarcelado conforme a esa ley.
Siempre me he considerado, en primer lugar, un patriota africano. Hoy día me siento atraído por la idea de una sociedad sin clases, y es una atracción que proviene en parte de las lecturas marxistas y, en parte, de mi admiración por la estructura de las primeras sociedades africanas. La tierra pertenecía a la tribu. No había ricos ni pobres y no había explotación. Todos aceptamos la necesidad de que exista una cierta forma de socialismo para permitir que nuestro pueblo alcance a los países avanzados de este mundo y supere su legado de extrema pobreza. Pero esto no significa que seamos marxistas.
Tengo la impresión de que los comunistas consideran que el sistema parlamentario occidental es reaccionario. Pero, por el contrario, yo lo admiro. La Carta Magna, la Petición de Derechos y la Declaración de Derechos son documentos venerados por los demócratas en todo el mundo. Siento un gran respeto por las instituciones británicas y por el sistema judicial del país. Considero que el parlamento británico es la institución más democrática del mundo, y la imparcialidad de su poder judicial nunca deja de suscitar mi admiración. El Congreso estadounidense, la separación de poderes de ese país y también la independencia de su poder judicial suscitan en mí unos sentimientos parecidos.
Mi pensamiento se ha visto influido tanto por Occidente como por Oriente. No debería atarme a ningún otro sistema de sociedad concreto que no sea el socialismo. Debo liberarme para tomar prestado lo mejor de Occidente y de Oriente.
Nuestra lucha es contra adversidades reales, y no imaginarias, o, usando el lenguaje del fiscal del Estado, “las llamadas adversidades”. Básicamente, luchamos contra dos elementos que caracterizan la vida en Sudáfrica y que están reforzados por la legislación. Estos elementos son la pobreza y la falta de dignidad humana, y no necesitamos a los comunistas o a los llamados “agitadores” para enseñarnos algo sobre estas cosas. Sudáfrica es el país más rico de África, y podría ser uno de los países más ricos del mundo. Pero es una tierra de extraordinarios contrastes. Los blancos disfrutan del que posiblemente sea el nivel de vida más alto del mundo, mientras que los africanos viven en la pobreza y la miseria. La pobreza lleva aparejada la desnutrición y la enfermedad. La tuberculosis, la pelagra y el escorbuto provocan la muerte y la destrucción de la salud.
Sin embargo, los africanos no solo se quejan de que son pobres y de que los blancos son ricos, sino de que las leyes, que están hechas por los blancos, están diseñadas para mantener esta situación. Hay dos formas de salir de la pobreza. La primera es mediante la educación formal, y la segunda es que el trabajador adquiera una mayor destreza en su trabajo y consiga así unos salarios más elevados. En lo que se refiere a los africanos, ambas vías para progresar están limitadas deliberadamente por la legislación.
El Gobierno siempre ha tratado de poner trabas a los africanos en su búsqueda de educación. Hay una educación obligatoria para todos los niños blancos sin casi ningún coste para los padres, ya sean ricos o pobres. Los niños africanos, sin embargo, por lo general tienen que pagar más por sus estudios que los blancos.
Aproximadamente el 40% de los niños africanos en el grupo de edades comprendidas entre los siete y los 14 años no van al colegio. Para los que van, los niveles son muy diferentes de los que se exigen a los niños blancos. Solo 5.660 niños africanos en toda Sudáfrica consiguieron superar la escuela primaria en 1962, y solo 362 aprobaron el examen de ingreso en la universidad.
Esto concuerda previsiblemente con la política de la educación bantú sobre la cual el actual primer ministro dijo: “Cuando tenga el control de la educación nativa la reformaré para que a los nativos se les enseñe desde su infancia a darse cuenta de que la igualdad con los europeos no es para ellos. Las personas que creen en la igualdad no son profesores deseables para los nativos. Cuando mi departamento controle la educación nativa sabrá para qué clase de educación superior es apto un nativo, y si tendrá una oportunidad en la vida de usar sus conocimientos”.
El otro obstáculo principal para el progreso de los africanos es la prohibición basada en el color vigente en la industria, según la cual los mejores trabajos están reservados solo para los blancos. Además, a los africanos que consiguen un empleo en las profesiones no cualificadas o semicualificadas abiertas a ellos no se les permite formar sindicatos que sean reconocidos. Esto significa que se les niega el derecho a la negociación colectiva, que sí se permite a los trabajadores blancos mejor pagados.
El Gobierno responde a sus detractores diciendo que los africanos en Sudáfrica viven en mejores condiciones que los habitantes de otros países en África. No sé si esta afirmación es cierta. Pero incluso si lo es, en lo que se refiere a los africanos, es irrelevante.
No nos quejamos de que seamos pobres en comparación con gente de otros países, sino de que somos pobres en comparación con los blancos en nuestro propio país, y de que la legislación impide que cambiemos este desequilibrio.
La falta de dignidad humana experimentada por los africanos es una consecuencia directa de la política de la supremacía blanca. La supremacía blanca implica la inferioridad de los negros. La legislación diseñada para mantener la supremacía de los blancos refuerza esta idea. Las labores de baja categoría son siempre realizadas por africanos.
Cuando hay que llevar o limpiar algo el hombre blanco siempre mira a su alrededor buscando a un africano que lo haga para él, tanto si el africano es un empleado suyo como si no. Debido a esta clase de actitud, los blancos tienden a considerar a los africanos como una estirpe diferente. No los consideran personas con familias propias; no se dan cuenta de que tienen emociones y de que se enamoran igual que los blancos; de que quieren estar con sus mujeres y sus hijos igual que los blancos quieren estar con los suyos; de que quieren ganar suficiente dinero para mantener a sus familias como es debido, alimentarlas, vestirlas y enviarlas al colegio. ¿Y qué sirviente, jardinero o jornalero puede esperar hacer esto alguna vez?
Las leyes relativas a los pases hacen que cualquier africano esté sometido a la vigilancia policial en todo momento. Dudo que haya un solo hombre africano en Sudáfrica que no haya tenido un roce con la policía por su pase. Cientos, miles, de africanos son encarcelados cada año conforme a las leyes de pases.
Y aún peor es el hecho de que las leyes de pases separen al marido y a la mujer, y lleven a la ruptura de la vida familiar. La pobreza y la ruptura de la familia tienen efectos secundarios. Los niños deambulan por las calles porque no tienen escuelas a las que ir, ni dinero para poder ir, ni padres en casa para ver que van, porque ambos progenitores (si es que hay dos) tienen que trabajar para mantener viva a la familia. Esto conduce a una ruptura de las normas morales, a un incremento alarmante de la ilegitimidad y a la violencia, que surge no solo en el ámbito político, sino en todas partes. La vida en los municipios segregados es peligrosa. No hay un día en el que no apuñalen o ataquen a alguien. Y la violencia se traslada fuera de los barrios segregados [hasta] las zonas donde viven los blancos. La gente tiene miedo de andar por las calles cuando anochece. Los allanamientos de morada y los robos están aumentando, a pesar del hecho de que ahora se puede imponer la pena de muerte por estos delitos. Las penas de muerte no pueden curar el resentimiento enconado.
Los africanos quieren que se les pague un salario mínimo. Los africanos quieren realizar un trabajo que sean capaces de realizar, y no un trabajo que el Gobierno declare que son capaces de realizar. Los africanos quieren que se les permita vivir donde puedan conseguir trabajo, y que no se les expulse de una zona porque no nacieron allí. Los africanos quieren que se les permita poseer tierras en lugares en los que trabajen, y que no se les obligue a vivir en casas alquiladas que nunca pueden llamar suyas. Los africanos quieren formar parte de la población general, y que no se les confine en sus propios guetos.
Los hombres africanos quieren que sus mujeres y sus hijos vivan con ellos donde trabajan, y que no se les obligue a llevar una vida poco natural en albergues para hombres. Las mujeres africanas quieren estar con sus hombres, y no quieren quedarse viudas permanentemente en las reservas. Los africanos quieren que se les permita salir después de las once de la noche, y no quieren que se les confine en sus habitaciones como a niños pequeños. Los africanos quieren que se les permita viajar en su propio país y buscar trabajo donde quieran, y no donde la oficina de trabajo les diga que lo hagan. Los africanos solo quieren una parte equitativa de toda Sudáfrica; quieren seguridad y participar en la sociedad.
Por encima de todo, queremos los mismos derechos políticos, porque sin ellos nuestras desventajas serán permanentes. Sé que esto les parece revolucionario a los blancos de este país porque la mayoría de los votantes serán africanos. Esto hace que el hombre blanco tema la democracia. Pero no se puede permitir que este temor se interponga en el camino de la única solución que garantizará la armonía racial y la libertad para todos. No es cierto que la concesión del derecho al voto a todo el mundo provocará una dominación racial. La división política, basada en el color, es totalmente artificial y, cuando desaparezca, también lo hará el dominio de un grupo de color sobre otro. El ANC se ha pasado medio siglo luchando contra el racismo. Cuando triunfe, no cambiará esa política.
Esto, por tanto, es contra lo que lucha el ANC. Su lucha es una auténtica lucha nacional. Es una lucha de los africanos, movidos por su propio sufrimiento y su propia experiencia. Es una lucha por el derecho a vivir. Durante toda mi vida me he dedicado a esta lucha de los africanos. He luchado contra la dominación de los blancos, y he luchado contra la dominación de los negros. He anhelado el ideal de una sociedad libre y democrática en la que todas las personas vivan juntas en armonía y con igualdad de oportunidades. Es un ideal por el que espero vivir y que espero lograr. Pero si es necesario, es un ideal por el que estoy dispuesto a morir.
Traducción de News Clips. by el Pais.es

Un elenco de personalidades 

acude al funeral de Madiba

PETER DEJONG (AP)
Personalidades mundiales como el empresario Bill Gates, la presentadora Oprah Winfrey y el cantante Bono están este martes en el funeral que se celebra en Johannesburgo por el expresidente sudafricano y premio Nobel de la Paz Nelson Mandela, fallecido el pasado 5 de diciembre.
También hay representantes del mundo de la moda, como Naomi Campbell, o de los negocios, como el empresario Richard Branson, que se suman a los más de 90 jefes de Estado y de Gobierno que confirmaron su asistencia.
Entre los cargos públicos representados figuran el presidente estadounidense, Barack Obama, y sus dos predecesores, Bill Clinton y George W. Bush, así como el primer ministro británico, David Cameron; la presidenta brasileña, Dilma Rousseff. También están los presidentes de Portugal, Aníbal Cavaco Silva, y México, Enrique Peña Nieto, así como el expresidente iraní Mohamed Jatami. Asimismo, presencian el acto el secretario general de la ONU, Ban Ki Moon; el presidente de la Comisión Europea, José Manuel Durao Barroso, y el presidente francés, François Hollande, y su antecesor en el cargo, Nicolas Sarkozy. El primer ministro australiano, Tony Abbott; el rey Felipe de Bélgica; el primer ministro de Canadá, Stephen Harper; el presidente de Cuba, Raul Castro; el príncipe Federico de Dinamarca; el primer ministro de Italia, Enrico Letta; el príncipe Naruhito de Japón y el presidente de Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro.
Entre los gobernantes africanos destaca la presencia del presidente de República Democrática del Congo, Joseph Kabila; el presidente de Chad, Idriss Déby; el presidente de Botsuana, Seretse Khama Ian Khama; el presidente de Congo, Denis Sassou-Nguesso; el presidente de Costa de Marfil, Allassane Ouattara; el primer ministro de Etiopía, Ato Hailemariam Dessalegn; el presidente de Guinea Ecuatorial, Teodoro Obiang; el presidente de Gabón, Ali Bongo Ondimba; el presidente de Ghana, John Dramani Mahama; el presidente de Guinea, Alpha Condé; el presidente de Kenia, Uhuru Kenyatta o el de Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan.
También muestran sus condolencias con su presencia los presidentes de Mauritania, Malaui, Mozambique, Namibia, Níger, Senegal, Sudán del Sur, Tanzania, Túnez, Uganda, Zimbabue, Zambia y de la República Arabe Saharaui Democrática, Mohamed Abdelaziz. Por parte española confirmaron su presencia el Príncipe de Asturias, Felipe de Borbón, y el presidente del Gobierno, Mariano Rajoy, que viajan a Sudáfrica para rendir homenaje a la figura que simboliza la derrota del régimen racista del 'apartheid'.
Además del primer ministro británico, Cameron, acuden a Sudáfrica sus tres antecesores, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair y John Major. No va la reina Isabel II, que a sus 87 años de edad sus médicos le recomendaron no realizar viajes largos. En su lugar se desplaza a Sudáfrica el príncipe Carlos de Inglaterra.
Otra ausencia significativa es la del líder espiritual tibetano, el Dalai Lama, que no viaja a Sudáfrica por iniciativa propia después de que en los últimos años se le haya negado en dos ocasiones el visado para entrar en el país, supuestamente por las relaciones económicas entre el país africano y China.

O artigo de Vargas Llosa avisa que 

Mandela não tem nada a ver com lulas e dilmas


O “Elogio de Mandela”, assinado por Mario Vargas Llosa, condensa a deslumbrante trajetória de um dos maiores estadistas da história em apenas 13 parágrafos. No sétimo, reproduzido a seguir, resume o que foi provavelmente a etapa mais fascinante da biografia de Nelson Mandela:
Seria preciso recorrer à Bíblia, àquelas histórias exemplares do catecismo que nos contavam quando éramos crianças, para tentar entender o poder de convicção, a paciência, a vontade inquebrantável e o heroísmo que Nelson Mandela deve ter demonstrado durante todos aqueles anos para persuadir, primeiramente seus próprios companheiros de Robben Island, depois seus correligionários do Congresso Nacional Africano e, por último, os próprios governantes e a minoria branca, de que não era impossível que a razão substituísse o medo e o preconceito, que uma transição sem violência era igualmente factível e ela assentaria as bases de uma convivência humana em lugar do sistema cruel e discriminatório imposto à África do Sul por séculos. Creio que Nelson Mandela é ainda mais digno de reconhecimento por esse trabalho extremamente lento, hercúleo, interminável, graças ao qual suas ideias e convicções foram contagiando os seus compatriotas como um todo, do que pelos extraordinários serviços que prestaria depois, já no governo, aos seus concidadãos e à cultura democrática.
Assim é Nelson Mandela aos olhos do extraordinário escritor e democrata. Visto por Lula, o gigante que impediu a sangrenta dissolução da África do Sul  tem semelhanças com Dilma Rousseff. Essa miopia obscena se manifestou pela primeira vez em maio de 2010, quando o PT transformou o horário do partido na TV num comício eletrônico. O duplo insulto à inteligência alheia inspirou o post abaixo transcrito:
O presidente Lula precisou de duas frases e uma comparação infamante para afrontar a Justiça Eleitoral, escancarar a própria indigência intelectual e assassinar a verdade: “Uma parte da história da Dilma me lembra muito a do Mandela”, disse no programa ilegal do PT. “Uma vez o Mandela me disse que só foi para o confronto quando não deram outra saída para ele”. O estupro da História foi chancelado pela candidata que mente como quem respira: “Eu lutei, sim. Pela liberdade, pela democracia”.
A comparação é mais que uma impostura atrevida, é mais que outro estelionato eleitoreiro. É um insulto ao homem que redesenhou o destino da África do Sul. Nelson Mandela lutou pelo fim do apartheid, pela restauração da liberdade e pelo nascimento do regime democrático. Dilma Rousseff serviu a grupos radicais que queriam trocar a ditadura militar pela ditadura comunista. Ele aceitou o confronto depois de propor todas as soluções pacíficas possíveis. Ela aderiu à luta armada em 1967, um ano antes da decretação do AI-5.
Mandela protagonizou combates reais. Dilma não passou de figurante em assaltos a bancos e cofres particulares. Ele ficou preso 27 anos por liderar a imensa maioria negra. Ela ficou três anos na cadeia por obedecer a extremistas ignorados pelo povo. Mandela venceu. Dilma perdeu. A ditadura militar foi derrotada pela resistência democrática de que jamais participou.
Mandela chegou ao poder pela vontade popular. Dilma, que nunca disputou nem eleição de síndico, é fruto da vontade de Lula. Ele negociou com os carcereiros brancos a extinção do apartheid. Ela despreza os democratas que negociaram a anistia de que foi beneficiária e declara guerra a todos os oposicionistas. Mandela é um grande orador, um líder vocacional e um político sedutor. Dilma não diz coisa com coisa, faz tudo o que manda o mestre e tem a simpatia de um poste.
Nelson Mandela é um estadista. Dilma Rousseff é uma farsa.
No penúltimo parágrafo do artigo, Vargas Llosa lembra que Nelson Mandela não foi afetado por “esse tipo de devoção popular mitológica que costuma atordoar quem a recebe e fazer dele – como no caso de Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Fidel Castro – um demagogo e um tirano”. O gênio que acaba de completar 95 anos não se deixou envaidecer: “Ele continuou sendo o homem simples, austero e honesto que sempre foi e, para surpresa do mundo todo, negou-se a permanecer no poder, como seus compatriotas pediam. Aposentou-se e foi passar os seus últimos anos na aldeia indígena de onde se originara sua família”.
Nada a ver com políticos menores. Nada a ver com lulas e dilmas.
by Augusto Nunes
ALEXANDER JOE (AFP)
BERNAT ARMANGUE (AP)
CHRISTOPHER FURLONG (GETTY IMAGES)
IAN LANGSDON (EFE)
DAVID TURNLEY (CORBIS)

De rebelde a prisionero a presidente

Durante 27 años, solo conocí a Nelson Mandela por su reputación. Le había visto una vez, a principios de la década de 1950, cuando vino a mi escuela de formación del profesorado para actuar como jurado en un concurso de debate. La siguiente vez que lo vi fue en 1990.
Cuando salió de la cárcel, muchos temían que se hubiese convertido en un ídolo con pies de barro. La idea de que podría hacer honor a su reputación parecía demasiado buena para ser cierta. Corría el rumor de que en el Congreso Nacional Africano (CNA) algunos decían que era mucho más útil en la cárcel que fuera.
tutufoundationusa
Cuando salió, se produjo el más extraordinario de los hechos. Aun cuando muchos miembros de la comunidad blanca de Sudáfrica seguían tachándolo de terrorista, él intentó entender su postura. Sus gestos resultaban más elocuentes que las palabras. Por ejemplo, invitó a su carcelero blanco como vip a su investidura como presidente e invitó a comer al fiscal del proceso de Rivonia.
Poseía una empatía increíble. Durante las negociaciones que condujeron a las primeras elecciones libres, las concesiones que estuvo dispuesto a hacer fueron asombrosas. El jefe Buthelezi quería esto y lo otro, y a cada petición concreta Madiba respondía: sí, está bien. Le molestaba que en el CNA muchos afirmasen que Inkatha no era un movimiento de liberación genuino. Incluso dijo que estaba dispuesto a prometerle a Buthelezi un puesto de alto nivel en el Gobierno, cosa que no había debatido con sus compañeros. Lo hizo para asegurarse de que el país no se sumiese en un baño de sangre.Estos fueron actos de una magnanimidad increíble. El fiscal había puesto un gran empeño en conseguir la pena de muerte. Mandela también invitó a las viudas de los dirigentes políticos afrikáneres a la residencia presidencial. Betsie Verwoerd, cuyo marido, H.F. Verwoerd, fue asesinado en 1966, no pudo asistir porque no se encontraba bien. Vivía en Oranje, donde única y exclusivamente los afrikáneres se congregaban para vivir. Y Mandela lo dejó todo y se fue a tomar el té con ella, allí, a aquel lugar.
De los afrikáneres afirmó: se puede entender fácilmente cómo deben de sentirse. Se acercó a ellos utilizando el símbolo del rugby sudafricano, la gacela, que era vilipendiado por muchos negros por considerarlo el símbolo del poder afrikáner.
El rugby era el deporte de los blancos, especialmente de los afrikáneres, y el golpe maestro de Mandela en la final de la Copa del Mundo consistió en entrar con aire resuelto en el campo llevando la camiseta con la gacela. Casi cualquier otro dirigente político habría parecido torpe, pero él supo llevarla con aplomo. El estadio entero, que probablemente era blanco en un 99%, y en su mayoría afrikáner, estalló en gritos de "¡Nelson!, ¡Nelson!". Fue extraordinario. ¿Y quién habría imaginado que en los distritos segregados celebrarían una victoria en el rugby?
En otra ocasión, me dijo que cuando él y De Klerk estaban en la ceremonia de entrega del Nobel de la Paz en Oslo, algo le había molestado mucho. Había un grupo cantando Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika, considerado el himno de la lucha por la liberación, y De Klerk y su esposa hablaron mientras el grupo cantaba; no mostraron respeto.Naturalmente, llegué a verlo enfadado. Tras la masacre de Boipatong, en 1992, en la que murieron 42 personas, el CNA se retiró de las negociaciones y él estaba bastante furioso. Afirmó que los servicios secretos habían advertido a F.W. De Klerk de que algo malo iba a pasar, de que las fuerzas de seguridad estaban en connivencia con Inkatha. Yo no sé si De Klerk hizo caso omiso de esa advertencia. Madiba afirmó que estaba claro que las vidas negras no significaban nada.
Pero su enfado nunca se impuso a su paciencia o a su capacidad de perdonar. La gente dice: miren lo que ha logrado durante sus años de gobierno; qué desperdicio fueron esos 27 años en la cárcel. Yo sostengo que el tiempo que pasó en la cárcel fue necesario porque, cuando lo encarcelaron, estaba enfadado. Era relativamente joven y había sufrido una injusticia; no era un hombre de Estado, dispuesto a perdonar: era el comandante en jefe del brazo armado del partido, que estaba muy dispuesto a usar la violencia.
Ese tiempo en la cárcel fue absolutamente crucial. Claro está que el sufrimiento amarga a algunas personas, pero ennoblece a otras. La cárcel se convirtió en un crisol en el que se quemó y eliminó la escoria. La gente nunca pudo decirle: "Lo que usted dice sobre el perdón es pura palabrería. Usted no ha sufrido. ¿Qué sabrá usted?". Esos 27 años le invistieron de autoridad para poder decirnos que intentásemos perdonar.
Nelson Mandela with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, taken by Alf Kumal
El homenaje más adecuado para Nelson Mandela es convertir en un éxito aquello que él ayudó a instaurar. Él dejó claro que, en última instancia, nadie es indispensable. Era muy dado a recalcar que él era un miembro leal del CNA y que nadie estaba por encima del movimiento. Pero, por supuesto, nosotros lo sabemos bien.Uno de los mayores traumas de su vida fue lo que sucedió entre él y Winnie. La quería de verdad. Poco después de que saliera de la cárcel, los invité a una comida xhosa. Y sentados ahí juntos, parecía imposible imaginar que hubiera dos personas más enamoradas. La herida era profunda. Es maravilloso que encontrase a Graça. Pero uno siente cierta tristeza, porque Winnie tuvo que pasar por muchas cosas, y habría sido un final perfecto para ese cuento de hadas que hubiesen sido felices por siempre jamás.
Cualquiera, en cualquier lugar del mundo, que se convierte en un líder sabe que esta es la referencia. Y debe preguntarse a sí mismo cómo estar a la altura.
by Desmond Tutu es arzobispo (anglicano) emérito de Ciudad del Cabo y activista de los derechos humanos.
© Guardian News and Media, 2013.
Desmond Tutu on Nelson Mandela:
 'Prison became a crucible'
The most fitting memorial to Nelson Mandela is to make a success of what he helped to establish, writes the archbishop and human rights activist
For 27 years, I knew Nelson Mandela by reputation only. I had seen him once, in the early 1950s, when he came to my teacher-training college to judge a debating contest. The next time I saw him was in 1990.
When he came out of prison, many people feared he would turn out to have feet of clay. The idea that he might live up to his reputation seemed too good to be true. A whisper went around that some in the ANC said he was a lot more useful in jail than outside.
When he did come out, the most extraordinary thing happened. Even though many in the white community in South Africa were still dismissing him as a terrorist, he tried to understand their position. His gestures communicated more eloquently than words. For example, he invited his white jailer as a VIP guest to his inauguration as president, and he invited the prosecutor in the Rivonia trial to lunch.
What incredible acts of magnanimity these were. His prosecutor had been quite zealous in pushing for the death penalty. Mandela also invited the widows of the Afrikaner political leaders to come to the president's residence. Betsie Verwoerd, whose husband, HF Verwoerd, was assassinated in 1966, was unable to come because she was unwell. She lived in Oranje, where Afrikaners congregated to live, exclusively. And Mandela dropped everything and went to have tea with her, there, in that place.
He had an incredible empathy. During the negotiations that led up to the first free elections, the concessions he was willing to make were amazing. Chief Buthelezi wanted this, that and the other, and at every single point Madiba would say: yes, that's OK. He was upset that many in the ANC said Inkatha was not a genuine liberation movement. He even said that he was ready to promise Buthelezi a senior cabinet position, which was not something he had discussed with his colleagues. He did this to ensure that the country did not descend into a bloodbath.
He said of the Afrikaners: you can very well understand how they must be feeling. He reached out to them using the symbol of the South African rugby team, the springbok, which was excoriated by many black people as a symbol of Afrikaner power.
Rugby was the white man's sport, especially for Afrikaners, and Mandela's master stroke at the World Cup final was when he strode on to the turf wearing his Springbok jersey. Almost any other political leader would have seemed gauche, but he carried it off with aplomb. The whole arena, which was probably 99% white, mostly Afrikaner, erupted into cries of "Nelson! Nelson!" It was extraordinary. And who would have believed that in the townships they would be celebrating a rugby victory?
Of course I saw him angry. After the Boipatong massacre, in 1992, in which 42 people died, the ANC pulled out of negotiations, and he was quite livid. He claimed the intelligence services had warned [the president] FW de Klerk something untoward was going to happen, that there was collusion between the security forces and Inkatha. I don't know whether De Klerk ignored that warning. Madiba said it was clear black lives meant nothing.
Another time, he told me that when he and De Klerk were at the Nobel peace prize ceremony in Oslo, something had upset him greatly. There was a group singing Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika, regarded as the anthem of the liberation struggle, and De Klerk and his wife talked through the singing; they didn't show respect.
Desmond-Tutu-and-Nelson_theguardian
But his anger was never greater than his patience or forgiveness. People say, look at what he achieved in his years in government – what a waste those 27 years in prison were. I maintain his prison term was necessary because when he went to jail, he was angry. He was relatively young and had experienced a miscarriage of justice; he wasn't a statesperson, ready to be forgiving: he was commander-in-chief of the armed wing of the party, which was quite prepared to use violence.
The time in jail was quite crucial. Of course, suffering embitters some people, but it ennobles others. Prison became a crucible that burned away the dross. People could never say to him: "You talk glibly of forgiveness. You haven't suffered. What do you know?" Twenty-seven years gave him the authority to say, let us try to forgive.
One of the greatest traumas of his life is what happened between him and Winnie. He really loved Winnie. Soon after he came out of jail, I invited them for a Xhosa meal. And as they sat there, you can't imagine anyone more besotted. The hurt was deep. It's marvellous that he found Graça. But you feel a little sad, because Winnie went through so much, and it would have been a perfect ending to a fairytale had they lived happily ever after.
The most fitting memorial to Mandela is to make a success of what he helped to establish. He was clear that, ultimately, no one is indispensible. He was a great one for stressing that he was a loyal member of the ANC, and that no one was bigger than the movement. But, of course, we know better.
Anyone, anywhere in the world, who gets to be a leader knows that here is the benchmark. And they must ask themselves: how do I measure up?
by Desmond Tutu is an archbishop emeritus and human rights activist
© Guardian News and Media, 2013.

Il lungo cammino verso la Libertà

Thabo Mbeki è stato eletto ieri, il 2-6-1999 a Città del Capo presidente del Sud Africa. Il secondo democratico dopo la caduta dell'apartheid. Mbekei, 57 anni, succede a Nelson Mandela che ha traghettato il passaggio quasi indolore dall'apartheid alla democrazia, e gestito la pacificazione. Ad eseguire i canti africani durante la cerimonia non era un coro, ma i 400 deputati, tutti in piedi. In apertura, sul soglio più alto del Parlamento riunito per la prima volta dopo il voto del 2 giugno, Mbekei è stato subito proclamato presidente. Poi tutti i leader dei partiti presenti hanno rapidamente sfilato per rendere grandissimo omaggio a Mandela, e per garantire lealtà a Mbekei, che nel suo tranquillo discorso ha chiesto la cooperazione "di tutti i Sudafricani". Mandela non ha parlato, ma era visibilmente emozionato.


Come di solito succede a questo mondo chi legge un trafiletto come questo in un quotidiano qualsiasi non può assolutamente comprendere, né farsi un'idea del "combattente della libertà" più famoso del mondo: Nelson Mandela. Si tratta di un insulto alla storia, alle migliaia di persone che la tessono, al sangue versato... Il passaggio dall'apartheid alla democrazia è stato tutt'altro che indolore: non c'è cosa peggiore che privare un individuo della sua dignità e questo in SudAfrica è stato fatto sistematicamente. Protagonisti: tutti, dai membri del governo ai magistrati, dai funzionari più alti ai secondini delle immonde carceri, dove centinaia di persone sono state avvilite, spersonalizzate, torturate, barbaramente seviziate e uccise. Per Nelson Mandela il lungo cammino verso la libertà è stato il lungo cammino del popolo nero verso la libertà politica. Ha programmato e deciso di vivere tutta la sua vita per questo obiettivo; ciò è innegabile sia per l'ateo-umanista, sia per chi, cerca di leggere le scelte e i fatti con un codice diverso: quello della scienza dello spirito. La sua autobiografia e l'esclusiva intervista di John Carlin permettono a chiunque di accedere nel suo interno più profondo. E' possibile cogliere una parte della storia del SudAfrica sin dalle radici, il valore del servizio per i suoi compagni, amici e compatrioti e le fonti di ispirazioni che lo hanno motivato fin da ragazzo. Nelson è dotato di un'impressionante capacità descrittiva, e quando si arriva a pag. 579 e si chiude il libro, si medita e si valuta che  questo individuo ha speso tutte le energie di cui disponeva per opporsi:

alla "crescita senza pietà" del suo popolo e di tutte le altre minoranze del Sud Africa;
alla "crescita senza futuro" di quel contesto sociale a causa della gestione elitaria della razza bianca che, con l'apartheid, aveva legalizzato agli occhi del mondo il proprio dominio;
alla "crescita senza voce" che è la crescita economica sprovvista del rispetto per i diritti umani e per i processi democratici, e, meglio, antropocratici, essenziali per società moderne e future;
alla "crescita senza radici", cioè all'erosione culturale e spirituale delle centinaia di gruppi minoritari tribali a causa dell'aggressione violenta del materialismo della globalizzazione che, in questa fase di fine millennio, ha preso piede in tutto il pianeta. E' l'individuo che sceglie e, per legge di causa-effetto, attira le conseguenze delle proprie scelte. Nelson Mandela si esprime in altri termini, ma costituisce un puro esempio di non appiattimento, di non sopraffazione; spicca in lui una forza che, nonostante le umiliazioni di un'intera esistenza in carcere, lo spinge a valutare il prossimo per il buono che potrebbe avere dentro e non riuscire a manifestare ....un invito alla lettura durante la quale è necessario fermarsi, non affrettarsi  in avventate conclusioni e apprezzare l'uomo...... 

Nelson Mandela iniziò a scrivere di sé di nascosto nel 1974, durante la sua detenzione a Robben Island, grazie al contributo di due suoi vecchi compagni nel risvegliare i suoi ricordi. La copia che era rimasta in suo possesso venne scoperta e confiscata dalle autorità carcerarie; tuttavia i suoi compagni di prigionia Mac Maharaj e Isu Chiba avevano provveduto a copiarla e si assicurarono che l'originale giungesse a destinazione. Dopo la scarcerazione nel 1990 riprese la stesura fino all'uscita nel 1994 con il titolo "LONG WALK TO FREEDOM". Nelson Mandela nacque il 18 luglio 1918 in un piccolo villaggio del Transkei e, come tutti in Sud Africa, acquisì il nome inglese di Nelson Mandela il I° giorno di scuola. Da suo padre aveva ereditato il fisico robusto, un antico legame con la casa reale Thembu e il nome "Rolihlahla" il cui significato colloquiale è "attaccabrighe". Le sue radici quindi sono della tribù Thembu che, insieme ad altri gruppi, forma la nazione Xhosa. Gli Xhosa sono un popolo fiero e patrilineo, con una lingua eufonica espressiva ed una radicata credenza nell'importanza delle leggi, dell'istituzione, della cortesia. Con gli anni Nelson scoprì che suo padre era un consigliere molto stimato e quando era poco più che neonato, venne coinvolto in una disputa che lo privò del suo ruolo di capo mettendo a nudo il carattere ribelle e l'ostinato senso di giustizia che trasmise al figlio. Venne accusato di insubordinazione per una semplice questione burocratica che riguardava due buoi. Non ci fu inchiesta, ne avevano diritto solo i funzionari bianchi, venne semplicemente deposto dal magistrato che lo accusò mettendo fine alla dinastia dei capi appartenenti alla famiglia Mandela. In tutto suo padre ebbe quattro mogli, la 3° delle quali era sua madre; ognuna delle mogli aveva il proprio nucleo abitativo: il "kraal" che il padre a turno visitava. Tra un viaggio e l'altro mise al mondo 13 figli, 4 maschi e 9 femmine; dei primi solo Nelson è tuttora in vita. L'infanzia di Nelson è stata felice nel villaggio di Qum, esteso in una valle stretta ed erbosa, attraversata da limpidi torrenti e dominata da verdi colline. Mentre scorrono le righe della descrizione l'immaginazione dipinge le strutture delle capanne, i semplici attrezzi, i colori; sembra persino possibile percepire gli odori e udire l'eco dei suoni delle attività quotidiane tra le risa e le corse degli innumerevoli bambini nel parco giochi più completo del mondo: la natura. Suo padre morì nella sua casa, assistito dalle cure di sua madre e dell'ultima moglie; quel momento segnò il primo importante cambio per il piccolo Nelson. Il reggente Jongitaba si offrì di diventare suo tutore e sua madre che aveva molta fede nelle capacità di studio del ragazzino, non si lasciò scappare l'occasione. Lo accompagnò al palazzo di Mqhekezweni dove frequentò una scuola a classe unica per studiare l'inglese, lo Xhosa, la storia e la geografia. Il reggente tutore lo trattava al pari dei suoi figli anche se i destini che li aspettavano erano ben diversi. Amava partecipare alle lunghissime riunioni con i capi poiché tutti venivano ascoltati come in una democrazia nella forma più pura. In quell'epoca si sviluppò il suo interesse per la storia africana, mentre faceva magre figure per non saper usare forchetta e coltello quando era invitato a pranzo in casa del reggente. A sedici anni arrivò il momento di diventare uomo e per la tradizione Xhosa  il grande salto avviene con la circoncisione che rappresenta l'integrazione ufficiale del maschio nella società. I ragazzi devono superare diverse prove in un contesto rituale lungo ed elaborato. Un colpo netto di "zagaglia"(piccola ascia tipica del Sud-Africa), eseguito dalle esperte mani di un vecchio "Ingcibi"(una specie di anziano medicin-man), segnò quel passaggio segnato da un sentimento di vergogna per non essere riuscito a gridare prontamente: "Ndiyindoda! Sono un uomo!" Il dolore lancinante lo bloccò per parecchi secondi. Ma Nelson umilmente dichiara che in quel momento non diventò un uomo e non lo sarebbe stato per molti anni ancora. Passò con successo gli esami e venne ammesso all'Institute Clarkebury, l'allora più alta istituzione scolastica per gli africani del Thembuland. Era un liceo e una scuola magistrale, ma offriva anche corsi di discipline pratiche come il carpentiere, il sarto, il lattoniere. Il suo reggente gli disse: "Il tuo destino non è quello di passare la vita a cavar fuori l'oro per i bianchi, senza neppure sapere come si scrive il tuo nome....(come la maggior parte dei suoi coetanei nelle ricche miniere del Sud Africa). Il preside era il reverendo Harris: un bianco che amava cordialmente e comprendeva i Thembu.

Nelson si adattò rapidamente alla nuova vita, partecipava alle attività sportive anche se le sue prestazioni non andavano mai oltre la mediocrità; di domenica curava l'orto e il giardino per la fam. Harris, ma si sentiva sempre un provincialotto irrecuperabile con i compagni che provenivano dalle grandi città come Johannesburg. A 19 anni fu mandato a Heald Town, allo Wesleyan College di Fort Beaufort, dove nell'800 si combatterono cruente guerre di frontiera nel corso delle quali i bianchi usurparono sistematicamente le terre delle varie tribù Xhosa. Modello proposto dal collegio: inglese nero acculturato visto che le idee, il governo e gli uomini migliori erano gli inglesi. Nell'ultimo anno di collegio avvenne l'unico fatto incredibile che Nelson non riuscì mai a spiegarsi e che iniziò ad incrinare le convinzioni di tutti gli allievi. In un giorno di festa stabilito, venne a parlare a tutti i ragazzi riuniti nella mensa Mqhayi, un poeta vestito con un Kaross (tipico manto di pelli di lepardo). Ad un certo punto levò in aria una zagaglia e la batté forte sul tavolo iniziando un discorso dai toni sempre più forti: "....la produzione occidentale è abile, ma fredda, intelligente ma priva di anima, ... non possiamo continuare a permettere a questi stranieri, ai quali non importa niente della nostra cultura, di dominare la nostra cultura. Io profetizzo che un giorno le forze della società africana ti porteranno un'importante vittoria sull'usurpatore...." Solo dopo recitò il suo famoso poema in cui dedicava "Le stelle nei cieli" alle varie nazioni, assegnando la costellazione più grande, la via Lattea, ai popoli d'Europa perché...."voi siete un popolo strano, pieno di invidia ed avidità che litiga sempre su tutto..." Nel '39 Nelson fu ammesso all'Università di Fort Hare, che allora per un giovane Sud-africano era la stessa cosa di Oxford o Cambridge. Oltre alle materie classiche, studiò diritto romano olandese e amministrazione indigena; ma lui desiderava diventare interprete o dipendente del Dipartimento degli Affari indigeni. In quegli anni indossò i suoi primi completi grigi, il pigiama e insieme ai suoi amici cominciò ad approcciare con l'altro sesso. Per una questione poco chiara, una sorta di manipolazione di voti, si dimise per un anno dall'università; per Nelson si trattava di una scelta moralmente giusta,  ma il reggente si infuriò, non ascoltò neppure le sue motivazioni e lo informò seccatamente che sarebbe rientrato a Fort Hare dopo due mesi. "....Ero giovane e impaziente", dice di sé stesso, non vedeva virtù nel temporeggiare e la fuga  si profilò come l'unico sbocco. Meta: Johannesburg, in compagnia di Justice, figlio del suo reggente; unici soldi: quelli ricavati dalla vendita di due pelli di buoi del reggente. Non riuscirono però a comprare i biglietti per il treno, il reggente sospettoso aveva vietato per loro la vendita dei biglietti. Con una macchina si spostarono ad un'altra stazione, ma per lasciare il distretto per motivi di lavoro erano necessari dei documenti che i due non avevano: un permesso, una lettera del datore di lavoro, un tutore. Riuscirono a raggirare uno dei fratelli del reggente, ma non il magistrato che interpellò direttamente al telefono il reggente che urlò: "Arresti quei ragazzi e li riporti indietro immediatamente!" Nelson diede libero sfogo a quanto aveva appreso a scuola e discusse legalmente la questione; gli estremi per l'arresto non c'erano per cui il magistrato desistette con un: "Arrangiatevi!"

La mattina successiva pagarono una macchina e si diressero a Johannesburg: l'inizio delle prove più dure. Non riuscì a trovare subito lavoro, rischiò l'arresto per la pistola ereditata da suo padre che portava sempre con sé; confessò ad un suo cugino l'aspirazione di diventare avvocato e venne accompagnato ad una grande e caotica agenzia immobiliare. Andò a vivere dal reverendo J. Mabutho della Chiesa anglicana che era un Thembu, amico della sua famiglia. Venne assunto dall'ebreo Lazar Sidelsky in uno studio legale che assisteva i clienti nelle transazioni immobiliari;  allo stesso tempo, di sera studiava le dispense dell'UNISA, un istituto accreditato che forniva lauree e specializzazioni per corrispondenza. Venne messo in guardia da Sidelsky contro la politica perché: "... è fonte di disordine e corruzione e fa venire fuori il peggio degli uomini.... Stai alla larga dai sobillatori e dai piantagrane...:" Si spostò poi nella città di Alexandra dove conobbe Ellen, si innamorò completamente, ma non riusciva a dirglielo. Nel 1942 morì il suo reggente, uomo che riuscì a tenere uniti progressisti, conservatori, tradizionalisti e riformisti, colletti blu e colletti bianchi non perché erano d'accordo con ciò che faceva, ma perché ascoltava e rispettava tutte le  opinioni diverse. Le riflessioni sul suo passato causarono in Nelson una forte crisi di identità e di aspirazioni: non era più sicuro di niente .Conobbe Gaur che sosteneva il valore dell'istruzione ma diceva: "...Siccome siamo poveri occorrerebbero migliaia di anni per liberarci se contassimo solo su questo..."Nel '43 partecipò con Gaur e con altri 10.000 ad una marcia di protesta a sostegno del boicottaggio degli autobus da parte di tutti gli abitanti di Alexandra che protestavano contro l'aumento delle tariffe. Questa prima partecipazione lo eccitò e si emozionò quando Guar decise di licenziarsi per far sì che Nelson venisse assunto nello studio legale come avvocato. Fare carriera e avere un dato stipendio non erano più lo scopo della sua vita, l'attrazione per la politica diventava fondamento. Nessuno gli aveva insegnato come fare per eliminare l'abominio del pregiudizio sociale, era l'unico africano alla facoltà di Giurisprudenza ed era visto come una curiosità ed un intruso; nessuno si sedeva vicino a lui e i professori gli "consigliarono" di continuare gli studi per corrispondenza. Diventò amico di comunisti, ebrei ed indiani, quasi tutti militanti radicali, gente della sua età saldamente schierata con la lotta di liberazione e pronta a sacrificarsi per la causa degli oppressi. Fu la miriade di indegnità di offese a far scaturire in Nelson il desiderio di combattere il sistema che imprigionava il suo popolo. Conobbe l'avvocato Lembede che affermava l'importanza del nazionalismo Afrikaner per attenuare le differenze etniche e come antidoto all'imperialismo moderno delle grandi potenze. "Queste ultime", affermava Lembede "offrono ingenti somme di denaro nella propaganda contro il nazionalismo barbaro, incolto, limitato ecc... Il gioco è vinto quando gli oppressi si lasciano ingannare e diventano giocattoli dell'imperialismo che dall'alto li premia chiamandoli progressisti, colti liberali...."

Su questa scia Nelson partecipò alla stesura dello Statuto della Lega-giovanile che si costituì nella Pasqua del '44. (Che era sempre un movimento elitario, non di massa.) Rapidamente si innamorò e sposò la sua prima moglie Evely Mase. Nel '46 fu enormemente colpito dallo sciopero di 70.000 minatori delle miniere di Reef dove lavoravano tutto il giorno come cani in 400.000 per appena due scellini. La reazione fu immediata e cruenta, costò la vita a dodici persone, l'arresto e il processo per sedizione ai tanti comunisti che lo avevano organizzato. Anche la reazione non violenta della comunità indiana lo colpì: gli indiani sospesero le attività per 2 anni, 2000 volontari andarono in prigione per i raduni di massa e per l'invasione pacifica delle terre riservate ai bianchi. La lega Giovanile e i comunisti non furono capaci di tanto. Gli indiani sostenevano che per la lotta di liberazione si doveva essere disposti alla sofferenza e al sacrificio. Nacque il suo primogenito Madiba Thembi nel '43, mentre studiava per l'Abilitazione di avvocato vivevano con il misero stipendio dello studio legale e la sua famiglia fece la fame in corrispondenza della nascita e prematura morte della secondogenita. Con icastica precisione della memoria Nelson elenca tutte le persone, tutti i fatti, tutti quei personaggi che gli hanno fatto comprendere profondamente "l'Apartheid" che significa "separatezza" e che rappresenta la codifica in un unico sistema oppressivo di tutte le leggi e i regolamenti che per secoli hanno mantenuto gli africani in una situazione di inferiorità rispetto ai bianchi. Tale politica era supportata dalla Chiesa riformata olandese che forniva all'apartheid la giustificazione religiosa. Gli Afrikaner erano il popolo eletto da Dio e i neri erano una razza inferiore. Quando questi vinsero le elezioni, Nelson ed i suo amici si resero conto che da allora in poi il Sud Africa sarebbe stato teatro di tensioni e di conflitti. I morti e i carcerati cominciarono a non contarsi più. Il partito comunista venne messo al bando dal governo e tutte le organizzazioni e i movimenti che cercavano di opporsi non ottennero nessun risultato. Mandela venne così assorbito dalla lotta che assisté per pochissimo tempo alla nascita del suo secondo figlio, mentre Thembri, che aveva allora cinque anni aveva chiesto alla mamma: "Dov'è che vive papà?". Pur discutendo i fondamenti filosofici del marxsismo, le sue vecchie ostilità nei confronti di quel partito andavano sgretolandosi visto il comune impegno nella lotta per i diritti umani e la credibilità dell'analisi materialistica dell'economia di Marx. Nelson decise di rispettare quella posizione ed accettò la posizione dell'Anc (Congresso Nazionale Africano) di accogliere i marxsisti nelle sue fila. Capì che gli africani, gli indiani e i meticci erano indissolubilmente congiunti nella lotta di liberazione e con questo principio il 28 febbraio del '52 iniziò la prima massiccia disobbedienza civile per l'abrogazione delle leggi ingiuste del Governo. Ebbe relazioni con Manilal Gandhi, figlio del Mahatma Gandhi, direttore del quotidiano "Indian Opinion", il quale sosteneva che la campagna doveva essere condotta secondo i principi gandhiani della non violenza. Così fu, i militanti si facevano arrestare senza opporre resistenza e si raggiunsero due risultati importanti: l'aumento del numero degli iscritti da 20.000 a 100.000 e il rimbalzo della situazione in Sud Africa alla stampa internazionale. La reazione del Governo non tardò; Nelson, già segnalato, in seguito alla perquisizione della sede dell'ANC venne arrestato per due giorni. Purtroppo non tutti all'interno dell'ANC erano trasparenti con i bianchi, succedeva paradossalmente che alcuni iscritti di colore spiavano mentre alcuni membri della polizia-bianchi, spinti da una certa coscienza, li avvisavano quando c'era il pericolo di qualche retata.

Nelson cominciò seriamente a pensare che la resistenza passiva è efficace nella misura in cui anche il nemico accetta le regole del gioco, ma se alla protesta specifica si risponde con violenza, la si rende ben presto inefficace. "Mandela e Tambo" erano i nomi  incisi nella targa di ottone attaccata alla porta del I° ufficio legale che aprì nel centro di Johannesburg con il collega e amico Oliver Tambo, nell'unico vecchio edificio del centro dove si potevano affittare locali agli africani. Il bisogno di aiuto legale era disperato: era un crimine passare per una porta riservata ai bianchi, un crimine viaggiare su un autobus riservato ai bianchi, un crimine bere ad una fontana riservata ai bianchi, un crimine passeggiare su una strada riservata ai bianchi, essere in strada dopo le 11 di sera, non avere il lasciapassare, avere una forma sbagliata; un crimine essere disoccupati e un crimine lavorare nel posto sbagliato, un crimine vivere in certi posti e un crimine non avere un posto dove vivere. Incredibili le evacuazioni massive come quella di Sophiatown, Martindale e Newclarc dove vivevano quasi 100.000 africani. Il piano di governo era così cinico che il trasferimento doveva avvenire  prima che venissero costruite le case per le persone evacuate. A 35 anni gli venne consegnata un'ingiunzione che, a norma della SOPPRESSION OF COMMUNISM ACT, gli imponeva di dimettersi dall'ANC, di non uscire dal distretto di Johannesburg e di non partecipare a riunioni o convegni di qualsiasi tipo per due anni. Lavorò così in segreto spostandosi dal fronte della lotta alle retrovie clandestine, con un ruolo secondario. Questo avvenne quando Nelson aveva già preparato il suo discorso per l'elezione presidenziale dell'ANC e insieme alla richiesta di radiazione dell'albo degli avvocati. (Proprio quando compariva in tribunale a rappresentare i clienti del suo studio decine di volte alla settimana). Il giudice Ramsbottom, a cui era affidato il caso, era un esempio di giudice che sosteneva vigorosamente l'indipendenza del sistema giudiziario, quindi la sua sentenza accolse fino in fondo le rivendicazioni dei sostenitori di Mandela, ammettendo che questi avesse tutto il diritto di propagandare le sue idee politiche anche se erano contrarie al Governo. L'ANC non riuscì a dare alternative alla gente e Sophiatown cadde sotto i colpi delle ruspe e una notevole massa  di persone se ne dovette andare; ancora una volta alle armi non violente disponibili: - discorsi, delegazioni, minacce, cortei, scioperi, astensioni, carcerazioni volontarie - venne riposto con il pugno di ferro. Nel 1953 il parlamento dominato dai nazionalisti approvò la Bantu Education ACT, che mirava a mettere il sigillo dell'Apartheid sull'istruzione africana. In base a questa legge, le scuole gestite dalle singole missioni dovevano scegliere tra consegnarsi nelle mani del Governo o accettare la riduzione progressiva dei sussidi, in altri termini o il Governo si accaparrava direttamente il controllo di tutta l'istruzione o per gli africani non ci sarebbe stata alcuna istruzione. Il boicottaggio delle varie scuole non diede risultati di sorta, si dovette per forza accettare un'istruzione di livello inferiore e fu proprio quella legge a far nascere negli anni "70" la generazione di giovani neri più arrabbiati e ribelli che il paese avesse mai visto; quando questi bambini discriminati diventarono giovani di 20 anni, insorsero con inaudita violenza. Risale al '55 la stipulazione della Carta della Libertà, documento scaturito direttamente dal popolo, per l'approvazione finale si riunì una marea di persone  nonostante la massiccia e intimidatoria presenza della polizia. Nelson ed altri parteciparono ai margini della folla per non essere visti, dovette fuggire quando gli agenti irruppero e misero fine alla manifestazione dove ciascun presente era sospettato di alto tradimento.

La Carta non proponeva un modello capitalista o socialista, ma sintetizzava l'esigenza del popolo di porre fine all'oppressione, iniziò così un lungo viaggio nella sua terra d'origine e nelle città lontane, cercando di illustrarne i contenuti incontrando iscritti all'ANC che opravano in seno a macroscopiche difficoltà poiché nelle piccole città non c'erano giornalisti o magistrati democratici a controllare l'operato della polizia.  Giunsero restrizioni ancora più forti, ma l'atteggiamento di Nelson cambiò, non avrebbe più permesso che il suo impegno nella lotta e il raggio della sua attività politica fossero condizionati dal nemico contro il quale lottava. Unico svago il pugilato che considerava egualitario: lo affascinava come si muovesse il corpo mentre studiava strategie di attacco e di difesa; riteneva che sul ring l'età, la posizione sociale, il colore della pelle e la ricchezza sono irrilevanti. All'alba del 05.12.'56 il caporale Rousseau dei servizi di sicurezza,  irruppe nella sua casa  con due agenti e lo arrestò per alto tradimento di fronte ai suoi figli. Nell'arco di una settimana furono 156 ad avere lo stesso destino, presto furono trasferiti nella prigione di Johannesburg: "La Fortezza", una tetra costruzione somigliante a un castello arroccata su una collina nel cuore della città. Inconsapevolmente il nemico li aveva riuniti sotto lo stesso tetto permettendo la più lunga e nutrita riunione di capi che si fosse mai vista nella storia dell'Alleanza del Congresso. Furono settimane indimenticabili e  Nelson racconta magistralmente la forza della grande causa che li univa tutti ulteriormente. Per alto tradimento la legge Sud-Africana non si basava sulla legge inglese, ma sul diritto romano olandese, che per alto tradimento intendeva la volontà di mettere in pericolo l'indipendenza e la sicurezza dello Stato. La pena prevista era la morte. Il 19 dicembre furono trasportati con dei camion alla sede del processo: una grande e squallida struttura militare col tetto di lamiera ondulata. Il processo divenne un viaggio trionfale, mentre i furgoni che procedevano al passo venivano accerchiati dalla folla. Vennero tutti "ingabbiati" in un perimetro ricavato da griglie e reti metalliche, la difesa  ottenne subito la rimozione della parete anteriore. Due giorni furono necessari per leggere le 18.000 parole dei capi d'accusa, ma intelligentemente l'ANC realizzò una cassa comune e tutti venenro rilasciati su cauzione a condizione che si presentassero alla polizia una volta alla settimana. Tornò a casa e la trovò vuota; sua moglie Evelyn era ritornata dai suoi con i bambini; da tempo gli attriti erano aumentati e il dissenso era su temi profondi: per lei servire Dio come testimone di Geova, diffondendo la "Torre di Guardia" era molto più importante che servire gli uomini attraverso la politica. Il problema di fondo era che quella espressione di fede insegnava la sottomissione e la passività di fronte all'oppressore e questo Mandela non riusciva ad accettarlo anche se non perse mai l'ammirazione di lei che definisce come una donna attraente, forte e fedele. La maggior parte delle prove dell'accusa erano confuse o inventate di sana pianta e caddero ad una ad una grazie ai contro-interrogatori devastanti di splendidi avvocati come Berangé e Joe Slavo. Dopo un anno e mezzo  senza preavviso la Corona annunciò il ritiro delle accuse contro 61 imputati e designò un nuovo pubblico ministero Oswad Pirow accanito comunista, pilastro della politica del NATIONAL PARTY.

Nazionalista di vecchia guardia descrisse Hitler come il più grande uomo del suo tempo. Ottenne il non proscioglimento del processo. Fu in questo periodo così delicato anche economicamente - lo studio stava andando in rovina - che conobbe l'esplosiva Winnie Monzamo, ne rimase irrimediabilmente attratto e la sposò nel 1958. Lei comprese il rischio e l'impresa di convivere con un tale uomo che grazie a lei ritrovò la speranza e la forza per le battaglie che lo attendevano. Winnie si iscrisse alla sezione della Lega femminile dell'ANC e diede il suo apporto nell'organizzazione degli scioperi di protesta durante le elezioni dove potevano votare solo tre milioni di bianchi e durante le massicce manifestazioni per ottenere i lasciapassare delle donne. Vivevano del piccolo stipendio di assistente sociale che lei prendeva; era incinta e Nelson si  preoccupò per le umiliazioni che non l'avrebbero risparmiata nell'eventualità del carcere. In due giorni furono arrestate 2000 donne e alla "Fortezza" c'era un'incresciosa situazione di sporcizia e sovraffollamento. Ottenuta la scarcerazione dopo due settimane, Winnie visse quell'esperienza come se avesse fatto un regalo a Nelson. Il grande processo riprese e siccome la difesa dimostrò che i capi di accusa non erano fondati in fatti reali a sostegno dell'intenzione di voler usare violenza per sovvertire la Corona, ecco che l'accusa annunciò il ritiro dell'imputazione nel suo complesso. Ma dopo un mese il p.m. emise una nuova imputazione per soli 30 imputati, tutti membri dell'ANC, Mandela era  tra questi. Nacque sua figlia e Mandela lasciò la giovane Winnie che maturasse da sola per far si che non fosse solo la moglie di Mandela .Nel '59 nacque il PAC (PAN-AFRICANIST CONGRESS) gruppo certamente nazionalista, quasi razzista. Sconfessava il comunismo e considerava tutte le minoranze come "estranei", il Sud Africa doveva essere degli africani e di nessun altro. Più  o meno nello stesso periodo, il Governo varò una legge ingannevolmente chiamata Extenzion of University Education ACT, altro pilastro dell'apartheid totale che bandiva i non bianchi dalle università razzialmente "aperte". Il tre agosto del '59, due anni e otto mesi dopo l'arresto cominciò il processo vero e proprio voluto apposta lontano da Johannesburg. Il pubblico ministero chiamò 210 testimoni di cui 200 erano Agenti Speciali che ripeterono le infondate testimonianze della prima volta, ma in tribunale fece eco un discorso di R. Resha, dove in un'allegoria poco chiara si parlava di violenza; più volte i difensori dimostrarono che quel discorso era stato isolato dal contesto e non rappresentava la politica dell'ANC. A causa di un infarto il giudice Pirow morì poco prima dell'inizio degli interrogatori di ciascuno dei 30 accusati, ma i fatti atroci che seguirono superarono di gran lunga quel disperato processo. Durante la massiccia campagna contro i lasciapassare a Sharpeville, una piccola Township a 50 Km. di Johannesburg, il contingente della polizia si fece prendere dal panico di fronte alle parecchie  migliaia di persone: cominciarono a sparare sulla folla mentre si disperdeva. Fu un massacro che fece eco a livello internazionale, per la prima volta l'ONU intervenne negli affari Sud Africani condannando il governo per la carneficina e sollecitandolo a realizzare misure per realizzare la parità razziale. "Il momento" per Nelson Mandela arrivò il 30 marzo, in piena notte fu arrestato e si ritrovò con altri compagni in una minuscola cella con un buco di scarico al centro che si intasava sempre, con coperte e stuoie immonde di vermi, sudiciume, sangue e vomito. Da un giorno all'altro essere membri dell'ANC era diventato un crimine punibile con la multa o con la prigione. I Colonnelli li accusavano di aver portato loro i pidocchi dalle case e le stanze non erano illuminate per poter leggere. Però ottennero qualche miglioramento: la mattina in prigione e il pomeriggio al processo, il cibo che veniva distribuito ai detenuti era diverso per qualità e peso a seconda del gruppo etnico dei prigionieri, africani, indiani, meticci, bianchi. Mandela ottenne eccezionalmente i fine settimana lavorativi a Johannesburg, accompagnato dall'alto e imponente sergente Kruger. Al processo Nelson si difese magistralmente ribadendo che l'ANC si muoveva sui principi della non violenza e preparò anche la difesa degli altri suoi compagni. Dopo cinque mesi lo stato d'emergenza cessò e poté riabbracciare i suoi cari, apprezzare tutte quelle piccole gioie di cui si può disporre in libertà. Nacque la seconda figlia e il futuro si delineava così: qualunque fosse stato il giudizio non sarebbe rientrato a casa, se fossero stati condannati sarebbe andato direttamente in prigione; se fossero stati assolti sarebbe entrato subito in clandestinità. Così fu: di giorno si travestiva -autista, cuoco, giardiniere- e di notte partecipava alle riunioni clandestine nella Township. Venne soprannominato la "Primula Nera" e quando venne spiccato il mandato di arresto, la sua esistenza clandestina catturò la fantasia dei giornalisti che chiamava dalle cabine telefoniche per informarli su ciò che si stava organizzando. Decise di non consegnarsi ad un governo che non riconosceva e visitò tutte le città e i villaggi più importanti di tutto il Sud Africa, leggendo e parlando con gli esperti cercava di capire quali fossero le condizioni di base per avviare quel processo rivoluzionario che lo doveva vedere come presidente dell'MK. L'azione di guerriglia era una possibilità, ma dal momento che l'ANC era restia ad abbracciare il principio della violenza, si scelse una forma di violenza che infliggesse il minor danno alle persone: il sabotaggio. C'era bisogno di contatti, di sostegno denaro e addestramento, Nelson doveva lasciare la nazione.

Tante mete per innumerevoli contatti: Tanganika, Khartoum, Addis Abeba, Etiopia Egitto, Ghana, Tunisi, Marocco, Algeria, Mali Guinea, Sierra Leone fino all'Inghilterra. Al rientro si fermò a Rivonia, base principale di riunioni e di addestramento e informò i responsabili di settore dell'MK sulle tecniche di sabotaggio, sulla somma di denaro che aveva raccolto, sui piani futuri. Ma dopo 17 mesi di clandestinità, sulla strada per Johannesburg una macchina li bloccò e un uomo alto, magro e visibilmente irritato lo dichiarò in arresto insieme a Cecil Williams. Chi era stato a tradire informando
 la polizia sui suoi spostamenti? Era stato qualcuno del suo movimento, qualche amico, o qualcuno della sua famiglia? Non lo seppe mai. Si rincuorò però durante il primo colloquio con il magistrato, 'era attorno a lui un'aria di imbarazzo, si evitavano gli sguardi diretti...e comprese il perché: Nelson rappresentava il simbolo della giustizia davanti al tribunale dell'oppressore, il grande rappresentante dei grandi ideali della libertà, dell'equità e della democrazia in una società che disonorava tali ideali. Anche in questo processo si autodifese con la ferma intenzione di mettere sotto accusa il governo del SudAfrica poiché il giudice e tutti i membri della corte erano bianchi: ottenere un giudizio equo era praticamente impossibile...."Vostro onore, come mai in quest'aula tutti i presenti sono  di colore di colore bianco?...Io nutro l'odio più intenso per la discriminazione razziale in tutte le sue manifestazioni...l'ho combattuta per tutta la vita e lo farò fino alla fine dei miei giorni...Mi ripugna l'assetto della Giustizia che vedo attorno a me in quest'aula .Mi fa sentire acutamente il fatto che io sono un nero in un tribunale di bianchi. E questo non è giusto."  La sentenza fu dura: 5 anni di durissimo carcere senza possibilità della libertà della parola a Esiquitin, il carcere costruito sulla stretta protuberanza rocciosa che affiora 18 miglia al largo di Città del Capo. Le guardie, bianchi naturalmente, accolsero tutti i detenuti al grido: "Questa è l'isola, qui morirete!" Fortunatamente sua moglie Winnie continuò ad appoggiarlo a distanza e a crescere i suoi figli, anche lei venne messa al bando e  il pensiero che potesse finire in prigione angustiava profondamente Mandela. Dopo soli 9 mesi di quei 5 anni di carcere venne scoperta e perquisita la fattoria di Rivonia; non vennero trovate armi, ma uno dei documenti più importanti: l'operazione Mayibuye per l'organizzazione della guerriglia in SudAfrica. Si profilava il processo più duro per tutti i membri dell'organizzazione, il p.m. chiese il massimo della pena prevista dalla legge, la condanna a morte per sabotaggio, per reclutamento di persone nella guerriglia mirante a provocare una rivoluzione violenta, per cospirazione ai fini dell'instaurazione di un regime comunista. Questa volta il traditore aveva un volto e un nome: Brumo Mtolo, che era diventato il capo dell'MK per la provincia del Natal. Su istruzioni della polizia collegò l'MK al Communist Party con ricordi così precisi e circostanziati da conferire credibilità agli occhi di tutta la corte, anche quando non erano veri. Visto che il rischio del prezzo personale era molto alto, tutti gli imputati concordarono di fare in modo che quel processo rafforzasse la causa per la quale si stava lottando. Nelson era ad altissimo rischio, impiegò una quindicina di giorni a preparare il suo discorso e 4 ore per leggerlo :."..tengo a precisare che i progetti di atti di sabotaggio non sono scaturiti da uno spirito di temerarietà, né per una inclinazione alla violenza,...lo feci a seguito di una spassionata valutazione della situazione politica creatasi in questo paese dopo molti anni di tirannia, di sfruttamento e di oppressione del mio popolo da parte dei bianchi...Noi capi dell'ANC siamo sempre riusciti a convincere la gente ad usare la resistenza passiva e metodi pacifici. C'era l'enorme rischio di una guerra civile per lo sterminio indiscriminato del nostro popolo....l'unica prospettiva per il minor sacrificio di vite umane era il sabotaggio e l'eventualità di una guerra partigiana..."
Dichiarò di essere anticomunista, pur riconoscendo che i comunisti erano stati gli unici a "mangiare nello stesso piatto", dichiarò di essere profondo estimatore della Democrazia parlamentare, della divisione dei poteri e dell'indipendenza della magistratura.

"...la nostra lotta è la lotta del popolo africano...è una lotta per il diritto alla vita..."

Il mondo seguiva con grande interesse il processo Rivonia, nell'attesa del giudizio Nelson preparava alcuni esami scritti richiesti dall'università di Londra, in vista del conseguimento della laurea di  giurisprudenza. Carcere a vita per tutti, questo fu il verdetto, c'erano fuori 2000 persone quando fu emesso...e quella notte Mandela pensò alle manifestazioni e alle pressioni internazionali che ci sarebbero state. L'ambiente, i corridoi, la cella lunga 3 passi e larga meno di 2 metri e i pochi oggetti in dotazione sono descritti nei minimi dettagli. Ogni mattina veniva depositato all'interno del cortile un cumulo enorme di pietre e anche quando la temperatura era di 4 gradi dovevano frantumarle per mezzo di martelli di 6 chili. La corrispondenza era regolata da norme rigidissime: si poteva scrivere solo ai familiari stretti e solo una lettera di 500 parole ogni 6 mesi. Per non perdere il senso con la realtà e l'equilibrio mentale Nelson segnò un calendario sul muro della sua cella. In prigione è come se il tempo scorresse con la lentezza di un ghiacciaio, persino per un nuovo spazzolino da denti si doveva attendere da 6 mesi ad 1 anno, per non parlare della quantità e qualità del vitto..., i viveri migliori se li tenevano i cuochi per ottenere dalle guardie trattamenti preferenziali. Sua moglie Winnie lo visitò poche volte, le procedure erano frustanti ed era duro per lei continuare il suo lavoro di operatrice sociale, il lato pratico della lotta. Dopo un paio d'anni li portarono ad estrarre calce in una cava, le mani sanguinavano e le guardie incalzavano; la sera rientravano stanchissimi,  bianchi come fantasmi e semiaccecati dalla polvere e dalla luce bianca della cava. Finì in isolamento senza mangiare tante volte, anche per essere stato sorpreso a leggere un pezzo di giornale recuperato nella spazzatura. Inutili le proteste e gli scioperi della fame per protestare contro le condizioni di vita all'interno del carcere. Il direttore decideva il bello e il cattivo tempo e dall'esterno arrivavano notizie frammentarie sulle attività dell'ANC negli altri paesi africani. L'ANC costituì un proprio organismo interno al carcere dove i saltuari progressi erano immancabilmente seguiti da regressi. Ogni domenica mattina il ministro ogni volta di un culto diverso, teneva il proprio sermone; pur essendo metodista, Nelson partecipava a tute le funzioni. Si impose i consueti esercizi di podismo e pugilato, in cella faceva 45 minuti di corsa da fermo, 200 esercizi addominali, un centinaio di piegamenti ed altro. Per leggere si arrangiava con i libri della biblioteca del carcere, uno che rileggeva spesso era Guerra e Pace di Tolstoj, che lo ispirava nei ricordi. Aveva un incubo ricorrente, quello di uscire dalla prigione e di trovare Johannesburg vuota, completamente deserta....Negli anni '70 si riaccesero le campagne di sensibilizzazione internazionale e si riaccesero anche le speranze; anche nella stessa Inghilterra si avviò la " campagna per la liberazione di Mandela". Nel 1985, dopo 20 anni, venne trasferito senza alcun avviso nel carcere di massima sicurezza di Pollsmoor, dove le condizioni erano senz'altro migliori, soprattutto era consentita la possibilità di parlare, gli venne data la possibilità di riprendere una certa corrispondenza. Iniziò lì quello che Nelson definisce: "il dialogo con il nemico". Il primo ministro gli chiese a quali condizioni avrebbero accettato di sospendere la lotta armata, se parlava a nome dell'ANC, e se pensava che in un nuovo SudAfrica sarebbero state previste garanzie costituzionali per le minoranze...; ne parlò con il suo vecchio amico Oliver, trattare con il governo era una cosa che l'ANC non aveva mai fatto, la strumentalizzazione poteva celarsi dietro l'angolo così come il pensiero che il movimento si stava vendendo,...non ci vuole niente a diventare vittime della propaganda. Si svolsero una fitta serie di difficili riunioni con la commissione governativa, l'obiettivo di Nelson era puntare sulla richiesta di un governo di maggioranza in uno stato unitario, mentre nel frattempo la violenza politica e le pressioni internazionali si intensificavano. I prigionieri politici di tutto il paese dettero inizio ad un vittorioso sciopero della fame, che costrinse il ministro della Giustizia a scarcerarne più di 900. Dopo essere stato eletto, il presidente De Klerk si sforzava di capire Mandela, fu lui che iniziò a smantellare sistematicamente molti elementi che costituivano l'edificio dell'apartheid: aprì le spiagge sudafricane ai  cittadini di tutte le razze ed annunciò che sarebbe stata abrogata  la Reservation of Separation Amenities Part. Il 2 febbraio 1990 vide il presidente protagonista di un atto radicale che mise fine all'apartheid: annunciò clamorosamente la revoca della messa al bando dell'ANC, del Pac, del Communist Part e di altre 31 organizzazioni dichiarate illegali, la scarcerazione di tutti i prigionieri politici detenuti per azioni non violente, la sospensione della pena capitale e l'abolizione delle varie restrizioni imposte dallo stato d'emergenza. Fu De Klerk stesso ad annunciare a Nelson Mandela la notiizia della sua scarcerazione avvenuta l'11 febbraio 1990.
Il 27 aprile 1994 è la data delle prime elezioni non razziali e a suffragio universale del paese. Per la prima volta nella storia sudafricana la maggioranza nera si sarebbe recata alle urne per eleggere i suoi rappresentanti. Ma la meta era ben lontana, molte organizzazioni non parteciparono, la destra bianca considerava le elezioni un tradimento, e tanta gente aveva paura di recarsi alle urne. Con l'ottenimento del 62,6% dei voti nazionali la minoranza bianca, dopo più di tre secoli di dominio, consegnava il potere della maggioranza alla maggioranza nera. Nelson Mandela conclude la sua autobiografia con la consapevolezza che la politica dell'apartheid ha lasciato una profonda e durevole ferita nel suo paese e nel suo popolo. Non ha mai perso la speranza che la grande trasformazione potesse realizzarsi, nemmeno nei momenti più cupi del carcere...., ma.." il suo lungo cammino non è ancora alla fine...".

La Carta delle Libertà

Noi, genti del Sudafrica, dichiariamo perché il nostro paese e il mondo intero lo sappiano:
Che il Sudafrica appartiene a coloro che vi abitano, bianchi e neri, e che nessun governo può dichiararsi legittimo se non si fonda sulla volontà popolare;
Che il nostro popolo è stato derubato del diritto alla terra, alla pace, alla libertà da una forma di governo basata sull'ingiustizia e sull'ineguaglianza;
Che il nostro paese non sarà libero di prosperare fino a che tutti i suoi cittadini non si considerino fratelli e non godano di uguali diritti e opportunità;
Che solo uno stato democratico fondato sulla volontà popolare può garantire a tutti il rispetto dei diritti fondamentali senza distinzione di colore, di razza, di sesso e di credo.
La Carta poi enuncia i requisiti di un Sudafrica libero e democratico.

IL GOVERNO DOVRÀ ESSERE NELLE MANI DEL POPOLO!

Tutti gli uomini e le donne avranno il diritto di votare e di candidarsi per tutti gli organi legislativi.
Tutto il popolo avrà il diritto di prender parte all'amministrazione del paese.
I diritti dei cittadini saranno uguali a prescindere dal colore, dalla razza e dal sesso.
Tutti gli organi di governo della minoranza, le commissioni consultive, i consigli e le autorità saranno sostituiti da organi democratici di autogoverno.

TUTTI I GRUPPI NAZIONALI DOVRANNO AVERE UGUALI DIRITTI!

Tutti i gruppi nazionali e le razze saranno ammessi a pari condizioni negli organismi dello stato, nei tribunali e nelle scuole.
La legge difenderà tutti i gruppi nazionali dagli insulti alla razza o all'orgoglio nazionale.
Tutti i gruppi avranno il diritto di usare la propria lingua e di coltivare la propria cultura e tradizione.
L'apologia e la pratica del disprezzo e della discriminazione nazionale, razziale e di colore saranno un crimine punibile dalla legge.
Tutte le leggi e le pratiche dell'apartheid saranno abolite.

IL POPOLO DOVRÀ PARTECIPARE ALLA RICCHEZZA DEL PAESE!

Le ricchezze nazionali del nostro paese, patrimonio di tutti i sudafricani, saranno restituite al popolo.
Il popolo nel suo insieme diventerà proprietario dei beni del sottosuolo, delle banche e delle industrie monopolistiche.
Tutte le altre industrie e i commerci saranno controllati perché contribuiscano al benessere della popolazione.
Tutti cittadini avranno uguale diritto di commerciare e produrre dove vogliono, e di avere accesso a tutte le arti, i mestieri e le professioni.

LA TERRA DOVRÀ ESSERE DIVISA TRA CHI LA LAVORA!

Le restrizioni sulla proprietà delle terre in relazione alla razza saranno abolite, e tutta la terra verrà ridivisa tra coloro che la lavorano, al fine di eliminare la scarsità di cibo e di terreno...
Città del Capo. Notizia Ansa. by Mara Testasecca

IN GALERA FIORI E DESIGN

Come si può stare in carcere e uscirne felici. Tra rose e rosmarino, verdure biologiche e lavanda

Nell’hinterland milanese, è un vivaio tutt’altro che scontato. Sia per l’eccellenza delle specie botaniche coltivate, sia per il suo indirizzo. Che corrisponde alla sede di una Casa di Reclusione, un carcere, insomma.
www.cascinabollate.org
Cascina Bollate Onlus è una cooperativa sociale, vivaio in cui giardinieri liberi e detenuti lavorano insieme. Per crescere (e vendere) le piante, ma anche (e soprattutto) per rendere il carcere una fortezza trasparente. Dove chi è dentro può guardare fuori, chi è fuori può entrare. Nel nome di un reinserimento sociale che mira a dare professionalità ai detenuti e a modificare il punto di vista dei liberi rispetto ai prigionieri. Tra un fiore e un cespo di insalata, si può anche smentire qualche pregiudizio. Qui è il come che fa la differenza. I carcerati sono soci della cooperativa, dividono responsabilità e profitti. I giardinieri sono professionisti affermati. Nessun fiore mass market (non ci trovate il ciclamino o la viola mammola, per capirci) ma una collezione di piante biologiche, selezionate e rare, a prezzi altamente competitivi.
www.cascinabollate.org
Il progetto unico in Italia, lo avviano nel 2007 due donne speciali. Susanna Magistretti è la figlia di Vico, maestro di design del Novecento. Una laurea in storia e un passato da pubblicitaria. Quando decide di occuparsi anche lei di architettura lo fa a modo suo. Niente mobili ma paesaggi, non oggetti ma piante. Disegna giardini e terrazze, progetta si, ma il verde. Lucia Castellano è il direttore della Seconda Casa di Reclusione di Milano-Bollate: «Istituto a custodia attenuata per detenuti comuni. Con l’obiettivo istituzionale di offrire all’utenza detenuta una serie di opportunità lavorative, formative e socio - riabilitative in modo da abbattere il rischio di recidiva, favorendo il graduale, ma anche definitivo reinserimento del condannato nel contesto sociale». Crede nella pena, chi deve scontare una condanna, la sconti. Ma il tempo del carcere ritiene sia meglio applicarlo per “allenarsi alla libertà”. Così ai ‘suoi’ detenuti dà le possibilità di farcela, in cambio chiede impegno. Oltre al vivaio la Castellani ha avviato altre cooperative, come la ABC, che offre catering da goumert (abc.sapienzaintavola@tiscali.it). “Lavoro e business, non beneficienza” specifica il ‘magico direttore’, come la chiama Susanna Magistretti.
www.cascinabollate.org
Due donne, si diceva, e poi ettari di terra a disposizione, due serre riscaldate, un orto di diecimila metri quadrati, vivaisti famosi che contribuiscono alla cooperativa: come Anna Peyron, che dona le sue talee di rose antiche e di clematidi. In due anni succede che il carcere fiorisce e si apre al fuori. Il negozio interno al penitenziario adesso è aperto al pubblico. Mercoledì e venerdì, (ore 14.30-18.00) e sabato, (ore 10-12.30). Si comprano verdura e piante di stagione, si capisce un po’ meglio una realtà di disagio sociale, si fa shopping di qualità compiendo pure una buona azione. Acquisti anche on-line (http://www.cascinabollate.org/cms/piante-e-negozio-online.html). E nei mercati dei fiori d’Italia. Le prossime date: Mercatino biologico di CARGO in via Meucci 39, Milano, nelle domeniche 19 aprile, 17 maggio, 14 giugno.
Non solo piante. C’entra anche il design. A Cascina Bollate hanno inventato un orto da balcone, anzi, due. Per coltivare fragole e insalata ci sono l’orto verticale e l’orto orizzontale: hanno solide strutture di alluminio, un rivestimento in fibra di cocco e un’anima di terra. 
Da aprile, saremo tutti giardinieri: vedere per credere.
Bdi Mara Bottini per Case da Abitare


Attraverso il giardino è un'associazione che da molti anni organizza a Milano corsi di giardinaggio che vogliono essere una vera e propria scuola per giardinieri appassionati, alle prime armi o esperti.

Dal 2008, Attraverso il Giardino ha aperto un vivaio. 
Si chiama Cascina Bollate e sta in un posto insolito: il carcere di Bollate. Ed è lì che d’ora in poi si terranno i corsi, le piccole mostre di piante e qualsiasi altra iniziativa di Attraverso il Giardino. Infatti, il vivaio ha un giardino didattico aperto al pubblico in cui si mette in pratica quello che si è imparato nei corsi di giardinaggio.

Per saperne di più e per sapere come raggiungere il vivaio, il sito è www.cascinabollate.org



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