Mandela's Democracy

Authors

  • Andrew Nash

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.14452/MR-050-11-1999-04_2

Keywords:

Race, Political Economy, Inequality

Abstract

In his speech from the dock, at his 1962 trial for inciting African workers to strike and leaving the country without a passport, Nelson Mandela described the initial formation of his political ideas: "Many years ago, when I was a boy brought up in my village in the Transkei, I listened to the elders of the tribe telling stories about the good old days, before the arrival of the White man. Then our people lived peacefully under the democratic rule of their kings and their 'amapakati', and moved freely and confidently up and down the country without let or hindrance. Then the country was ours, in our own name and right. We occupied the land, the forests, the rivers; we extracted the mineral wealth beneath the soil and all the riches of this beautiful country. We set up and operated our own government, we controlled our own armies and we organized our own trade and commerce. The elders would tell tales of the wars fought by our ancestors in defence of the fatherland, as well as the acts of valour performed by generals and soldiers during those epic days. The names of Dingane and Bambata, among the Zulus, of Hintsa, Makana and Ndlambe of the Amaxhosa, of Sekhukhuni and others in the north, were mentioned as the pride and glory of the entire African nation…. The land, then the main means of production, belonged to the whole tribe, and there was no individual ownership whatsoever. There were no classes, no rich or poor, and no exploitation of man by man.

Published

1999-04-02

Issue

Section

Articles