For decades, it was one of the enduring disputes of South Africa’s anti-apartheid struggle. Was Nelson Mandela, the leader of the African National Congress, really a secret Communist, as the white-only government of the time alleged? Or, as he claimed during the infamous 1963 trial that saw him jailed for life, was it simply a smear to discredit him in a world riven by Cold War tensions?
But research by a British historian, Professor Stephen Ellis, has unearthed fresh evidence that during his early years as an activist, Mr Mandela did hold senior rank in the South African Communist Party, or SACP.His book also provides fresh detail on how the ANC’s military wing had bomb-making lessons from the IRA, and intelligence training from the East German Stasi, which it used to carry out brutal interrogations of suspected “spies” at secret prison camps.
But at least the good guys won and South Africa is exactly the sort of wonderful place that you would expect it to be after the Communist terrorists took it over. And by wonderful place, I mean the sort of place that Rwandans and Somalis run away from.
Although Mr Mandela appears to have joined the SACP more for their political connections than their ideas, his membership could have damaged his standing in the West had it been disclosed while he was still fighting to dismantle apartheid.It was disclosed, but the political leadership in the West chose to stuff their fingers in their ears up to the wrist and lionize him as a saint. The saint of the rubber necklace.
“I think most people who supported the anti-apartheid movement just didn’t want to know that much about his background. Apartheid was seen as a moral issue and that was that. But if real proof had been produced at the time, some might have thought differently.”In other news that Western elites didn’t want to know about, Stalin had his own death camps, Fidel Castro was a butcher and Che had all the morals of a sewer rat. And Mandela was a fitting member of their company and alliance.
Addressing the court, Mr Mandela declared that he had “never been a member of the Communist Party,” and that he disagreed with the movement’s contempt for Western-style parliamentary democracy.And once his party took over South Africa, they have shown the same contempt for parliamentary democracy and the rule of law that you would expect from… Communists. The difference between Zuma and Mugabe is in the spelling. And the timing of their calls for genocide.
Mr Mandela joined the ANC in 1944, when its leadership still opposed armed struggle against the apartheid state. However, by the early 1950s he become personally convinced that a guerrilla war was inevitable, a view confirmed by the Sharpeville Massacre in March 1960, when police in a Transvaal township opened fire on black demonstrators, killing 69 people.So reading between the whitewashing, a senior Communist in South Africa turned the ANC into an armed terrorist group. How shockingly unpredictable.
But while other ANC leaders also came round to his way of thinking after Sharpeville, the group still had no access to weaponry or financial support. Instead, says Prof Ellis, Mr Mandela looked for help from the Communists, with whom he already had close contacts due to their shared opposition to apartheid.
“He knew and trusted many Communist activists anyway, so it appears he was co-opted straight to the central committee with no probation required,” said Prof Ellis. “But it’s fair to say he wasn’t a real convert, it was just an opportunist thing.”Hogwash. Communist parties are dogmatic organizations. They never move anyone up to the central committee unless they know them to be die hard Communists. If Mandela was in the central committee, then he was a longtime member in good standing who had proven himself.
In the months after Sharpeville, Communist party members secretly visited Beijing and Moscow, where they got assurances of support for their own guerrilla campaign. In conjunction with a number of leading ANC members, they set up a new, nominally independent military organisation, known as Umkhonto we Sizwe or Spear of the Nation. With Mr Mandela as its commander, Umkhonto we Sizwe launched its first attacks on 16 December 1961.Remember, the good guys won in South Africa. Just like they did in Russia, China and Cuba.
Angola was also the base for “Quatro”, a notorious ANC detention centre, where dozens of the movement’s own supporters were tortured and sometimes killed as suspected spies by agents from their internal security service, some of whom were “barely teenagers”. East German trainers taught the internal security agents that anyone who challenged official ANC dogma should be viewed as a potential spy or traitor.The good guys. Overseen by a Nobel Prize winner and living saint. And Central Committee member of the South African Communist Party.