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‘I Am Still Optimistic But I Am Also Distressed’

On February 11, it will be 25 years since Nelson Mandela’s release. Millions of people remember where they were on that day and tell of their feelings a quarter of a century on.

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Denis Goldberg, who faced death with Nelson Mandela in the 1964 Rivonia Trial, was in a TV studio in London commenting on the great man’s release from prison.

Goldberg was released before the others after 22 years.

“I was absolutely confident that I was the start of a process. I wanted to be out to play a role in the liberation of South Africa. I was tired of being a symbol locked up in prison and I thought the time had come to move things along. There was the offer of releases and unconditionally releases, I decided to accept because I didn’t want PW Botha’s offer in 1985 just to evaporate into thin air, he made the offer out of weakness not strength, that’s the important part,” says Goldberg.

“I was able to tell the story of how the day we were sentenced, the head of the prison security said we should have been hanged and will never walk out of prison on our own two feet; they’d carry us out in a coffin. And then Nelson Mandela stopped the car he was in and he and his then wife Winnie Mandela walked out holding their hands into freedom, and the rest is history. I was able to tell that story. We survived and the old security colonel had passed away.”

Goldberg has many memories of Mandela but one that sticks in the mind is their first encounter after prison.

“He said to me, ‘hello boy it’s been a long time. He always called me boy because I was so much younger then he was. It was very sweet and touching. I also remember a bit later when we met again in Sweden, my wife and my daughter had to meet him. He greeted my wife rather stiffly not knowing who she is and when I introduced her, he bent down from his great height and whispered to her, ‘the boy is looking good you must be looking after him very well.’”

Zakhe Khuzwayo, Group CFO of InnoVent, was 14 years old and at boarding school at Hilton College in Pietermaritzburg. The school was dismissed early so they could watch Mandela’s first walk as a free man.

“The man was an enigma, I think I had seen a photograph of him when I was younger, I didn’t know what to expect. I guess it was more exciting and anxiety to see who this guy is and see what he actually looks like,” says Khuzwayo.

Twenty five years later, Khuzwayo runs his own company and enjoys much of the freedom ushered in by the release of Mandela.

“His role was instrumental in what this country actually became,”

says Khuzwayo.

Political analyst Thapelo Tselapedi was four years old in 1990 and remembers the humble Toyota Cressida that Mandela rode through Cape Town in. He also remembers seeing the man in the flesh four years later.

“In 1994, when I was eight, we went to the Mafikeng stadium where he was speaking. After he spoke, my sister ran to him to him to try and get an autograph. Nelson Mandela was surrounded by his bodyguards and my brother and I tried to go in and get an autograph but we couldn’t. My sister was the only one who managed to get one. She got in, got her autograph, he shook her hand and then she got out. I was sad that I couldn’t break through, but my sister always kept that autograph in her room, it was very nice,” recalls Tselapedi.

A quarter of a century later, his feelings are bittersweet.

“Sweet because he has to do the impossible to calm down black people but at the same it seemed to not have been enough as it was limited by the interests that the white people had also wanted, he had to find a home for everyone and that meant compromise. The bittersweet part is characterized by where black people are now versus where white people are.”

Like Tselapedi, Goldberg has his opinions.

“I am still optimistic but I am also distressed. I am optimistic because we have achieved so much despite our weakness, despite the legacy of apartheid leaving us with an inadequate civil service, with half the population illiterate, half the population unemployed and we’ve come a long way since then and the conditions of people have undoubtedly improved. My sadness is the corruption and what I call the patronage society,” says Goldberg.

The man who stared down death with Mandela feels his country has a long way

to go.

Billionaires

Elon Musk, Kim Kardashian Endorse Kanye West Running For President

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After years of hints, Kanye West formally announced he is running for president this year in a challenge to Trump, who he once supported, and Democratic rival Joe Biden, winning support from his friend and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

KEY FACTS

  • Rounding off his Fourth of July, West tweeted on Saturday night: “We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States! #2020VISION.”
  • Musk tweeted in response: “You have my full support!”
  • Wife Kim Kardashian also publicly pledged her support, retweeting West’s statement and adding a U.S. flag emoji.
  • West’s announcement follows years of hints that he would run for office this year which he later postponed to 2024, after publicly declaring at a Fast Company event in 2019: “When I run for president in 2024…We would create so many jobs! I’m not going to run, I’m going to walk.”
  • But the rapper, who recently inked a 10-year deal with Gap through his Yeezy brand, is reportedly yet to file any paperwork to get on state election ballots, while he has missed the deadline for states including Texas, New York, and Indiana.
  • It is not known how serious West’s intentions are this time around, however, he still has time to file as an independent candidate across most states, according to Ballotpedia.
  • West’s declaration was met with skepticism on social media, while some commentators pointed out that it could work out in Trump’s favour.

KEY BACKGROUND

West’s declaration suggests the rapper is looking to cement political ambitions he has expressed throughout Trump’s presidency. West previously forged alliances with Trump, and was pictured in the Oval Office in 2018 wearing a signature Trump ‘Make America Great Again’ cap. He once called the president his “brother” and previously hit back at criticism towards his support for Trump, likening the backlash to racial discrimination. Although he says he didn’t vote in 2016, West later said he “would have voted for Trump”, and earlier this year doubled down, suggesting he would vote for him in November. But that could very well change given Saturday’s announcement.

American rapper and producer Kanye West embraces real estate developer and US President Donald Trump in the White House’s Oval Office, Washington DC, October 11, 2018. West wears a red baseball cap that reads ‘Make America Great Again,’ Trump’s campaign slogan. (Photo by Ron Sachs/Consolidated News Pictures/Getty Images)

TANGENT

West and Musk were pictured together on July 1st, with West tweeting: “When you go to your boys [sic] house and you’re both wearing orange.”

Isabel Togoh, Forbes Staff, Business

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Current Affairs

Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza Has Died

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This is a developing story.

Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza has died, the government of the Republic of Burundi announced in a statement that was posted on their twitter account.

“The Government of the Republic of Burundi announces with great sadness the unexpected death of His Excellency Pierre Nkurunziza, President of the Republic of Burundi, at the Karusi Fiftieth Anniversary Hospital following a cardiac arrest on June 8, 2020,”

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Current Affairs

Ethiopia’s First Female President On Plans To Combat Covid-19 And Resuscitate The Economy

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Ethiopia’s first female president, Sahle-Work Zewde, spoke to FORBES AFRICA’s Managing Editor, Renuka Methil, on the country’s plans to combat Covid-19 and resuscitate one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.

Zewde, listed as one of Africa’s ‘50 Most Powerful Women’ in the March issue of FORBES AFRICA, says while the virus didn’t warrant the nation going into complete lockdown, it has hit some sectors of the East African country’s economy, affecting its GDP growth.

In early May, the government announced a package to bolster healthcare spending, food distribution, rebuild SMMEs, etc to support the country’s most vulnerable. Zewde also shares her views on women in the front lines, as well as reimagining education.

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