For me, Nelson Mandela is a hero, a saintly figure, a role model.
In contrast, the United States government still considers Mandela and his African National Congress (ANC) as terrorists.
Even today, ANC’s former and current members still show up on America’s travel and terrorism watch lists.
Nelson Mandela, one of the ANC “terrorists,” still needs to get a special waiver to enter the United States.
“It is shameful that the United States still treats Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress this way based solely on its designation as a terrorist organisation by the old apartheid South African regime,” said Howard Berman, chairperson of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
“The ANC should have never been on the watch list. The ANC was a liberation movement against apartheid, and the United States was on the wrong side of history. This makes no sense with regard to our foreign policy,” said U.S. Representative, Barbara Lee (D-CA).
South Africa’s apartheid regime banned the ANC in 1960 and its leaders were either imprisoned in the infamous Robben Island prison or forced into exile.
The apartheid government segregated black and white communities and forced them to live in separate areas. White people, who made up only 20% of the country’s population, controlled 90% of the land.
The regime introduced grand social engineering schemes such as the forced resettlement of people. Forced removals from “white” areas affected some 3.5 million people, creating vast rural slums. Hundreds of thousands of black people were arrested and prosecuted each year, reaching over half a million a year from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s.
As also noted in the source linked above, in virtually every sphere of life, from housing to education to healthcare, “apartheid government took control over black people’s lives with a view to reinforcing their allotted role as ‘temporary sojourners,’ welcome in ‘white’ South Africa solely to serve the needs of the employers of labor.”
The ANC engaged in passive resistance and armed struggle against the ruthless and racist apartheid regime and was branded a terrorist group by South Africa, the United States, and Britain.
South Africa’s apartheid would have never been possible without the help from the West.
Father Michael Lapsley, the man who lost his hands, one eye and was burned severely in an assassination attempt by the apartheid security forces, says that “it was both [US President] Reagan and [British Prime Minister] Thatcher who were giving support to the apartheid regime and in a sense prolonging our struggle. More people had to die in South Africa because of the support that came from Western governments, particularly from Washington and London at that period.”
During his time in office, President Reagan fully supported the apartheid government in South Africa and “labelled Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress a notorious terrorist organization.”
In 1981, Reagan explained to CBS that he was loyal to the South African apartheid regime because it was “a country that has stood by us in every war we’ve ever fought, a country that, strategically, is essential to the free world in its production of minerals.”
Reagan was not the only supporter of the racist regime in South Africa. Dick Cheney, the current vice-president of the United States, was one of the leading US politicians that opposed the release of Nelson Mandela from jail.
In 1986, Cheney, along with 145 Republicans and 31 Democrats, voted against a non-binding Congressional resolution calling on the South African government to release Nelson Mandela from prison.
There is nothing politicians won’t do for minerals and oil. They will be on the wrong side of history. They will lie, invade countries, and kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people.