Reconciliation is Not Decolonization

by BAR columnist Jemima Pierre

Nelson Mandela certainly led an inspirational life, but the “liberation” of South Africa has been the continent’s most spectacular failure. Mandela and his party “reneged on their own Freedom Charter which promised that land, the national mineral wealth, the banking systems, as well as all other industry and trade be nationalized and used to the benefit of South Africa’s majority.”


Reconciliation is Not Decolonization

by BAR columnist Jemima Pierre

True decolonization for Africa demanded no less than the full uprooting of the bifurcated colonial structure: decoupling whiteness and power.”

It doesn’t take away from Nelson Mandela’s radical work with his African National Congress (ANC) comrades to say that the “new” South Africa under “Black rule” epitomizes the most spectacular failure of Africa’s decolonization project. The formal end of racial apartheid in South Africa was to be the culmination of African triumph over white European rule. In South Africa Blacks were inheriting the biggest economy on the African continent, an economy built through their stolen land, resources, and labor power. But as of 2008, the poorest 50% received only 7.8% of total income and while 83% of white South Africans and only 11% of Blacks were among the top 20% of income receivers. Things have gotten worse since the global financial crisis as there has been increased suffering among the Black population, the supposed victors at the end of racial apartheid.

So what happened? And what can the South African experience teach us about the failure of African decolonization more generally?

In the new South Africa the maintenance of white power was explicit, even as it was hidden beneath the veneer of Black political empowerment. The details of the transition to Black political control in South Africa have been discussed by a number of journalists, academics, and politicians. But some of these details – most importantly, the economic ones – bear repeating. In a recent interview, South African scholar Patrick Bond reminded us that some key compromises made by the leaders of the African National Congress at the moment of negotiations with the racist regime locked the new Black-run nation in a destructive relationship with former rulers and beholden to global white capital.

Consider just some of these compromises: the acceptance, by the ANC leadership, of an IMF loan which depended on the standard structural adjustment conditions that plagued African and other third world nations of the time; laws that solidified whites’ property rights, effectively allowing them to keep stolen land; the maintenance of the undemocratic structure of the central bank; and the agreement by ANC leaders to absorb and repay apartheid era debt incurred by the racist government, to the tune of $25 billion! In agreeing to these compromises, the ANC leaders sold out their people. In particular, they reneged on their own Freedom Charter which promised that land, the national mineral wealth, the banking systems, as well as all other industry and trade be nationalized and used to the benefit of South Africa’s majority. As Glen Ford recently reminded us, with the “sunset clause” agreement, ANC’s Black leadership allowed the economy to proceed as before, with whites keeping their jobs in the “bloated bureaucracy” that had served as welfare system for, especially, the Boer whites. Thus, the ANC’s leadership chose “a change in regime, but not a change in the relationships of economic power.”

European economic supremacy and structural racial privilege were the true victors in the decolonization experiment in Africa.”

It is easy to consider the failure of the ANC and Black rule more generally, as unique to South Africa. But, just as racial apartheid and economic exploitation was the default structure of the colonial state throughout the continent, so too was the failure of decolonization. True decolonization for Africa demanded no less than the full uprooting of the bifurcated colonial structure: decoupling whiteness and power. But that never happened – anywhere on the continent. Example after example demonstrate that most leaders of African decolonization, eager to avoid the violence that real transformation of power would have brought, negotiated deals that provided blackface cover for the maintenance of the white colonial power structure, with its control of the best lands, mines, manufacturing plants, and financial institutions. South Africa is only the most prominent and disappointing example.

As historian C. L. R. James said of Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana during its negotiations with its former colonial master: “the British government gave nothing, handed over nothing, fought to the last second to retain everything that it could, and when it was forced to retired, left the Gold Coast tied up in knots which Ghana will have to spend a long time untying.” The truth of the matter is that the European colonial powers had more to gain by ceding some political control in order to maintain the structure of economic domination.

In effect, European economic supremacy and structural racial privilege were the true victors in the decolonization experiment in Africa. It is this context that is important to remember as we watch the western elite fawn over Mandela’s “reconciliation” and “forgiveness.” As Amai Jukwa and Garikai Chengu recently pointed out, “what appears to be love for Mandela is actually self-love, a subconscious act of white self-preservation.”

Black African self-preservation and renewal is another matter.

While we mourn Mandela’s passing we would do well to remember that decolonization has not occurred – and that a new radical and uncompromising movement is needed to end the enduring racial and economic apartheid in Africa and the Black World.

Jemima Pierre can be reached at


True, true but understandable

The most truthful and essential point of Pierre's article is that: <Example after example demonstrate that most leaders of African decolonization, eager to avoid the violence that real transformation of power would have brought, negotiated deals that provided blackface cover for the maintenance of the white colonial power structure, with its control of the best lands, mines, manufacturing plants, and financial institutions.>

But one should not minimize what the trade-off favoring 'peace with slow, painful suffering' can mean to colonized people.  The readiness to resist with dignity, as Cuba for example has done, exacts a price many oppressed majorities are not willing (or ready) to pay. Looking at the landscape of resistance in the African continent should give us pause to consider that the South African struggle, hardly being over with the dismantling of racial apartheid, perhaps needs to go through its own phases of revolution within the context of its uniqueness as a society.   There is a post-Mandela phase the South African majority will show us, and it may hopefully be in the direction of dismantling the other pillar of apartheid to establish economic sovereignty.

What's the word? Surrenderburg

Cuba v. SA isn't the best analogy. A better one is Venezuela v. SA, as they are both powerhouses of resources that the capitalist world needs. SA minerals mean more to the capitalist world than Venezuela's oil does. Would world capital have wrecked the mining equivalent of Saudi Arabia by fighting a triumphant South African working class in the early 90s or would they have treated it more like Chavez's Venezuela, with the SA working class reaping the gains of an extractive economy? Surely, with the ANC, COSATU and the NUM of the 1980s and early 90s, the SA working class was more primed for a successful struggle than Venezuela when it elected Chavez. Surely, a better deal could have been reached for the working class majority than having Cyril Ramaphosa morph into Vernon Jordan. The simple truth is that the leaders sold out or lost the will to fight any longer or feared ending up like Chris Hani. Don't tell me they couldn't bear to see any more bloodshed because they've borne up quite well by living with enormous inequality and poverty and the massacre of 34 striking miners in Marikana, something the ANC and COSATU have yet to condemn. Most of the miners were shot in the back, most likely killed on the direct order of Lonmin mine's big shareholder, Ramaphosa. These former revolutionaries are people, they aren't saints or superheroes, and they are sometimes case studies in corruption and treachery. The superhero is a class-conscious working class. 


Way back in the 1990s, the leaders of the ANC were repeatedly warned about the dangers of getting swept away by wave of euphoria which ensued with the release of Nelson Mandela, and by the sudden elimination of the prospects of a "race war," whatever that meant, in southern Africa. These leaders were told, repeatedly, on many occasions that fight was about saving the average oppressed black person from the ravages of apartheid, not about the well-being of a handful of leaders, or about saving capitalism and preserving the ill-gotten gains of the white minority. They ignored the all of the advice, warnings, and pleadings because they knew best. To this day, their response to all criticism of their behavior and poor performance when it comes to serving the black majority remains the same, they know what's best. As long as the ANC remains in power, nothing will change for the better for the average black person in South Africa because that is not the ANC's agenda.

There is AN ACT II

Despite the corruption that has plagued its members, ANC has been the thread that held majority of its members together!

The total collapse of this thread(ANC), which has been vigorously sought by the powerful "economic apartheid", is going to bring about tribalism in which each South African tribe is going to look out for its own economic survival in the regime. Africans may end up fighting Africans while the resourses are harvested. In case they have not done so already, those wealthy black African elites may decide to protect the wealth they have accumulated by acting as security guards for powerful economic aparthied regime! This is what has happened in many so called "independent" African countries  where the Africans leaders who fought together to get rid of the colonial yoke eventually turned against each other. Some went as far as engaging in  the jailing and/or assassination of their own African former colleagues! 

This trick has been played over and over again!

Jacobs Simply leaves cheap

Jacobs Simply leaves cheap michael kors outlet uk – With rumours michael kors handbags uk swirling approximately over the past quarter or so, LVMH has now validated michael kors uk which Marc Jacobs has shown the final selection michael kors handbags uk along with Louis Vuitton for your early spring 2014 year. WWD stories that this National cheap michael kors uk designer can be causing to target using his model open michael kors uk around the stock market. The modern michael kors handbags uk resourceful home possesses yet to be named, merely ex- Balenciaga artist Nicolas Ghesquière also michael kors uk have been one identify speculated as Jacobs’ successor. We got michael kors outlet uk household 1 day in addition to saw our flat range placed cheap michael kors bags uk within the “packet standard” aboard michael kors handbags uk My partner and i told me personally, “of which’ohydrates odd, When i didn’testosterone levels ordering anything at all from michael kors uk amazon. ” My spouse and i acquired my michael kors outlet uk bundle, which had this go back tackle of an scholar’utes mom michael kors canadaas well as traveled to the house. My spouse and i popped the offer michael kors handbags canada and also geez, the Louis Vuitton field that contain A Louis Vuitton budget michael kors canada I had to appear it on-line(a) to completely know very well what it turned out i michael kors outlet canada desired to know how practically the idea michael kors outlet charge since I received ne'er shopped intended for or perhaps costed some sort of Louis Vuitton billfold. Very well michael kors canada One learned the product, We forget about currently, I think it’ohydrates michael kors outlet canada the Elisa, but I will always remember the purchase price; $430.double zero! I needed louis vuitton handbags outlet photos. We named my cousin. AuthenticLV Purses So My partner and i improved wallets and handbags Louis Vuitton Handbags Sale and also started out with it. Each and every time One was at the teller, When i pondered Authentic Louis Vuitton Handbags Sale in case persons thought it was a new neutralise. My spouse and i did start to curiosity Authentic Louis Vuitton Handbags Sale how much money I would take in the Louis Vuitton wallet. My partner and i started to wonder Louis Vuitton Handbags how much cash I ought to get in the traditional bank to transport some sort of Louis Vuitton pocket book One did start to question what quantity of money I should possess period of time to carry a new Louis Vuitton budget! My spouse and i continued Shop for Cheap Louis Vuitton Bags on sale, Louis Vuitton Outlet sale to flip the particular red leather connected to the zip fastener move when I developed a obtain, contemplating Louis Vuitton Outlet sale these kind of reddish colored buckskin strips had been this level of the billfold Wholesale michael kors ohydrates genuineness along with the advantage. After a while When i squeeze Michael kors outlet online wallet outside. Your ego Michael Kors Outlet online cognizance as well as thoughts to be an imposter ended up pricing us a lot more as compared to $430.00. Louis Vuitton Series 3 showcases the homes Past, Present tense Louis Vuitton Neverfull Handbags and also Future tense through reinterpreting every facets of some sort of style present Louis Vuitton Neverfull Replica After you embark to see some sort of shiny red-colored emblem louis vuitton purses outlet you know that the rest of the exhibit louis vuitton for sale will be wonderful through all the rooms and web a person walk-through. Louis Vuitton Artsy Sale You will discover Nicolas Ghesquiere’azines inspirations for the company’S Louis Vuitton Artsy handbag prepared to don show from your abstract title, talk confronts Louis Vuitton Outlet Sale room, orlando proboscis and louis vuitton authentic my personal favorite … your components galleria that's modelling Marte Japanese apricot caravan Haaster published LV Handbags Outlet Store in a few-deb having baggage Replica louis vuitton outlet and also extras through the 2015 Spring-Summer collection. Should you be within Replica louis vuitton handbags online L . a ., this particular demonstrate is a must understand for virtually any manner Louis vuitton cyber monday sale buff from Feb half a dozen in order to 25 Louis Vuitton outlet sale along 1135 Northern Upland Ave. Not simply did louis vuitton sale open up a couple workweek demonstrate inwards Authentic louis vuitton L . a ., nevertheless they furthermore came out their recently refurbished Rodeo Medical professional Cheap Louis Vuitton Belts retail store. I obtained enable you to easily look at it now … and that i could Air Jordan 1 Retro Shoes T waiting to be able to eye-port shop Cheap Air Jordan Retro 3 right now there all the time. Air jordans 4 retro for sale I needed to several of my own pics My partner and i Air Jordan 1 Retro Shoes had taken in the preview in the demonstrate jordans retro 5 for sale in addition to desire that drives you to definitely stop and find out. The actual great Retro jordans 6 launching involving Louis Vuitton’S new manufacturing plant inside Geneva-Meyrin uncharacteristically produced together all of these personalities to show Air Jordan 11 from the unexampled premises. This kind of Authentic Jordans 1 right now combines Louis Vuitton’utes have watchmakers in addition to specialists while using the haute horlogerie gurus of La Fabrique du Temps, which the iconic luxury items model Cheap Authentic Jordans acquired inwards 2011, an act that will brocaded several michael kors outlet eyebrows on the planet associated with fine watchmaking. Louis Vuitton began generating michael kors outlet uk wrist watches throughout 2000, even though michael kors uk in the event you adhere to higher-end horology, you might not always get michael kors handbags uk recognized. Most of the considerable view planet just lay way up and also started getting Stuart Weitzman UK observe with Baselworld the year 2013, in the event the many fruits in the Cheap Stuart Weitzman Shoes completely new collaboration using Los angeles Fabrique du Temps weary a number of Stuart Weitzman Shoes For Sale top quality create from the model of this Stuart Weitzman Boots UK Embroidery hoop TwinChrono. This Tambour TwinChrono monopusher chronograph would possibly not look awfully distinctive from the outdoors Stuart Weitzman uk online sale apart from the fact that that provides two capped teeth authentic jordans and something baby carriage as opposed to the regular cheap jordans two pushers the other top. Interior, nevertheless, is the one other issue. The actual