The past couple of days have contained an event which the world will not forget, and some others which we won’t forget in a hurry either.  The closing of the era of Madiba’s lifetime comes with severe weather threats to the part of the family living in UK, and on the home front a long era has taken the first major step of coming to an end for us, too.   The Colonialist scene is about to alter, completely and irrevocably. 

Anyway, to return to the major event of the day, the passing of Nelson Mandela, my personal feeling has always been that, whatever the provocation, ‘freedom fighters’ who involve ‘soft’ targets rather than striking directly at criminal oppressors are no better than terrorists.  My admiration for him has therefore been a qualified one.  It can be argued that Mandela’s militancy actually extended the period which elapsed before the inevitable change took effect. 

That having been said, there is no denying that he was a great man who had a profound and wonderful influence on the history of the time following independence.   It is a source of considerable regret that his partner of so many years let him down so badly, and that he lived long enough to see his successors trashing so much of what he had created. 

Only once did I see and hear him personally.   The occasion was the graduation of Younger Daughter, at which he had an honorary doctorate conferred on him.  I recall that the speech which he read out was even more than usually conventional and boring.  For the last part, however, he abandoned or ran out of notes, and it was then that his amazing personality and sense of humour shone through.  Somehow sheer charisma can come across far more strongly when a person is there in person than from any media. 

I add my thanks to those of the millions of South Africans whose lives have been positively influenced by his.  R I P, Madiba. 

© Colonialist December 2013 (WordPress)


About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies. Recently Indie Publishing has been added to this list.
This entry was posted in Current Affairs, History, Personal Journal and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. huntmode says:

    Col, seven days late for this post. I like how you made an effort to consider his entire life – terrorist and leader – the pageant of adoration leaves me cold – we have one of those here and it has not been good for us a la Obama.

    I am surprised by the news of your move – the earthquake being the actual move rather than the property located on a fault line (asked the emergency management creature)? Your home appears so lovely and your little creatures so much a part of you….


  2. That was an interesting post. All I have read so far have been sugary eulogies so it was good to read a more critical, or at least balanced and objective perspective. I just don’t know enough about him to comment, sure I lived through it all but it didn’t impact on my life. A bit like the problems where I live don’t impact on others thousands of miles away.

    Wish you well with your move.


  3. An excellent summation. Thank you for shining the light of common sense. Does your mention of major relocation mean that you will be exchanging the Indian Ocean for the chilly north?


  4. bluebee says:

    I think that you have a well-balanced view of the man. Everyone has their breaking point; his came early from anger and frustration, and I can understand that (one only has to read ‘Country of My Skull’ to see how deep the heartbreak, anger & frustration would be for many) His redemption comes from the fact that he learnt and embraced a different way and used the remainder of his life to set an example, which, unfortunately the incumbents have ignored.

    Sorry to hear about your impending earthquake, Col 😦


  5. 68ghia says:

    Ok about the mandela, but what about the rest?
    Is the family OK? And what’s happening with the Col?


  6. The Asian says:

    His good overshadowed his bad but that still doesn’t mean that he didn’t commit the bad and people often forget that. Death is inevitable though and we all knew this was coming, especially when he got sick last year.
    I hope the change for the Colonialist’s goes smoothly


  7. Well said, Col. I’m sure many feel as you do. It will be a big wrench for you and your family to move from your seaside paradise. I wish you well with your plans for the future.


  8. Doom says:

    When the Boers are slaughtered, probably with the help and support, or at least knowing allowance, of the U.N., we will discuss this again. Personally? I hope if genocide is attempted, apartheid will be reintroduced. Men who can’t rule themselves have to be ruled. I just don’t know that the population base is big enough to support even survival. Either way, my guess is that in no time at all… we will be discussing this again.

    As for Mandela? I’ll never celebrate a terrorist, no matter how many in the public or private spheres around me kiss his… …save being pleased to see him dead. Which… I do and am.


    • colonialist says:

      Democracy is not a concept which works in Africa. What is actually appropriate is an enlightened autocracy. The trouble is, they end up with the latter bit with the qualifier entirely missing.
      With all prominent figures it seems the question arises as to whether the good outweighs the bad or vice versa.


      • Doom says:

        Aye. Same with the Middle East and some/much of South America/Mexico, even Asia. We are, or were, it. I think people become tired of being free. Too many choices, for some? Easier to be humble, humiliated, and angry than to choose and make? A friend of mine suggests that the notion of freedom culminates from many generations of a group of people making the freer choices over time, then it percolating to government and the people, then back and forth until like oil that bubbles up through the ground, a fine mess is made. I mean the best of the idea when I say a fine mess. Freedom IS messy. It eventually becomes genetic… I see… possibilities to his notion.

        I also see why a liberal government wants as much immigration as possible… to breed that out of the people so that they can rule a barbaric people. Some, most, people cannot, as suggested, and through one mechanism or another, rule themselves. Our government sorely wants those types of people. Many on the left have outright asked for a dictator, an end to congress as weak in the tooth as it is, and I see the supreme court has folded (not for the first time, albeit). We will see if Americans truly are ready to surrender rights. The ACA making it, and being forced, is the biggest litmus test on the docket at the moment, but others have been vying for that dishonor.


        • colonialist says:

          A lot of the misuse of ‘freedom’ and ‘rights’ comes from the fact that they stop being coupled with the necessary obligations and responsibilities. If those cannot be accepted, then the stage is still one where imposed rule or rules are necessary.


  9. Grannymar says:

    Change all round. I never met Nelson Mandela, so all I know is second or third hand. If he helped to improve the lives of others, that is good enough for me. Looks like 2014 may have changes for all of us.


  10. disperser says:

    The unfortunate truth about media and history is they both distort what was to the point one is never sure what is editorial liberty and what is fact.

    I don’t know the man, and never had any means to find out who he was, but that is no different than current and past figures both here in the US and in other countries. I do know there is both more and less to public figures than what is presented to us.

    One of the reasons I shy away from idolizing or demonizing anyone. At best I can make a determination as to whether the balance falls to the positive or the negative, but even then, one act can irrevocably skew the balance one way or another (usually to the negative). Then again, I judge more harshly than some.


  11. Pussycat44 says:

    I have had many mixed feelings today. You have expressed it better than I could, too.
    Anyhow, what’s up with the Colonialist scene??? I’m very curious.


  12. optie says:

    RIP Madiba, as a statesman he set a great example to the world that sadly does not appeared to be embraced by the current bunch, barring one or two exceptions.


  13. cobbies69 says:

    He affected the attitudes of the world,, a sad day for all.. nice post in his name. 😉


  14. melouisef says:

    Good blog. Unfortunately many and that should be many in capital letters do not know the history. Too young? Or just uneducated?


  15. footsy2 says:

    Thank you for expressing my feelings exactly, way better than I could have done it.


  16. misswhiplash says:

    He will be missed for sure


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