As it appears that the Lion of Africa is leaving this life, there will no doubt be retrospectives regarding the struggle against apartheid. So I want to open this debate.
What did Nelson Mandela actually do?
So he spent 27 years in prison for activities that most reasonable people wouldn't consider criminal, but. Did he go on a hunger strike or a dirty protest as the IRA prisoners did? He might have been a figurehead, but it was the young South Africans boycotting the schools and demonstrating in the streets that did far more to galvanise world opinion against apartheid. Even then, it wasn't the actions of the ANC that lead to the changes in society, but a shift in the geopolitcal situation.
With the collapse of the communist block there was no longer any risk of a 'communist' ANC taking over South Africa, with the risk that South Africa would be used as a base for spreading isurrection throughout the continent, or that Russia would be able to use South African ports to interdict shipping passing around the Horn of Africa.
Wasn't it in the end the western corporations seeking to stabilise their access to South Africa's coal and minerals, who quietly spoke the word that some accomadation needed to be made?
So where was Mr Mandela?