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Nelson Mandela and British colonialism in the South Africa
The South African leader, its former President and person responsible for the end of apartheid there, Nelson Mandela, died on 5th of December, 2013 aged 95. My computer was not working that’s why I didn’t write my views about him immediately. Here I am writing my views about the colonialism in the South Africa.

I think that despite my all-out-support to colonialism and its ultimate demise in the South Asia, I shall say that its continuity was psychologically suppressive, derogatory and offending for the Black people of the South Africa. The British were really very bad rulers for the Black parts of the South Africa. The fact is that emergence and continuity of cold war was responsible for delay in much required changes taking place in the South Africa.

The nation was hostage to the whims of global politics during cold war and Americans were hesitatingly supportive of continuing British-controlled apartheid-supportive minority White regime in order to counter spread of communism in the region. They had a military base in and around South Africa. The continuing British colonialism was indeed tiresome and brutal for the Black South Africans as people and particularly for Mr. Mandela as an individual.

But despite of all ugliness that continued in the South Africa till the end of cold war, the fact is that Mr. Mandela and the South Africans have been able to keep good relationship with the West, including with the UK. The British under pressure from the then Bush administration freed Mr. Mandela and ended the apartheid from jail as soon as the erstwhile Soviet Union’s disintegration was beginning to complete. Mr. Mandela was indeed generous enough to bury the hatchet and forgive the people responsible for his incarceration, mistreatment and uncounted unimaginable human sufferings.

There are vast numbers of good things that the West has been doing for centuries, without it always being in existence in any form formally, but there are pretty few ‘bad’ things too that it has done or from some perception it is still doing. One of which was the racially-induced colonialism and alleged present imperialism and neo-colonialism. European colonialism, particularly British one, was largely good for a vast number of people in long-term except for its racial-overtures.  

What belongs rightfully to one would always belong so in the present times: there cannot be and should not be any doubt about it. In this era of patent and copyright controlled world accompanied by social website using more vocal and aware people, expanding horizons of democracy and omnipresent and omnipotent globalization, it is very difficult to infringe upon the rights owned by individuals, institutions and nations. 

Only with the tacit support of mighty non-Western states few such violations can be made possible but with the West deliberately tactfully looking other way. Therefore, there shouldn’t be much fuss about Western dominance even if it means the out-of-proportion dominance of the White people.

But to be fair to all and be as objective as I can be let me state that if apartheid had ended and freedom was granted to the South Africa earlier it would have become a decayed society in due course of time, if not broken and formally fragmented. There was hardly anything in the South Africa in the forties and the fifties of the last century to unite such different tribes together as one people in the South Africa.

It was the unending sufferings caused and oppression done by the British people those which were responsible for a common South African identity and consequential nationalism. At the end of apartheid there in the South Africa there was a great divide between two dominant tribes of the nation - Zulu and Xhosa - and Zulus were fighting for their independence from the Xhosa-dominated nation.  

Mr. Mandela avoided division of the united South Africa by resorting to greater Federalism and more regional autonomy. From majority of the Black South Africans the role of the West was dubious in this regard: according to them they did not mind much. But still it was the British people and their apartheid which gave the South Africans a modern common identity. Even today the state may not have as much glue as it claims so nor as much as there should be.

But it does not, by any standard, demean the sacrifice done by Mr. Mandela. He was great personality and visionary for almost all South Africans and beyond the nationals and still is inspiration for millions of people worldwide. People should take clue from his sufferings. But one thing that needs to be understood that maintaining economic sovereignty of a nation requires end or minimally containment of many wishes of its nationals. 

If inflations; economic and non-economic, are high then there is always possibility of the West entering into the picture. Therefore, there is not much sound backing for charges of neo-colonialism and imperialism being put on the US-led West. But that’s for sure that the West cannot revive colonialism nor it should allow any nation to do so for any reason.  

Let the life of this great Protean reminds us about the limits, balance, proportionality and much required rethinking about absoluteness and relativity on human matters. Let’s all respect and understand others and pledge for a better common future. Madiba; as Mr. Mandela is called, out of respect by his fellow citizens, would continue throbbing millions of hearts of many generations to succeed him.      

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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