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Old 05-12-2010, 07:15 PM   #1
fiok
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Default The Mythical Massively Popular Nelson Mandela

Earlier today I met a friend for breakfast at the Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa. An (African) American tourist approached us, asking for directions, wanting to go to Robben Island to visit Nelson Mandela’s prison cell. He had his wife and kids with him. It’s a windy day today, so I’m not sure if they managed to take the boat trip to the island, but I hope they had a good time if they did. What amazed me was how the whole family seemed positively brainwashed and completely deified Nelson Mandela. The teenage daughter was tearing up, literally, when telling me that she wanted to “feel the energy” in Mandela’s prison cell, saying “it’s the least we can do, he died for us”. I was thinking – but not saying – WTF? I did mumble something like “he not dead”, but I don’t know if they heard/cared. The wife referred to Nelson Mandela as “a saint”. The son (who looked like a young version of Jay Z) had his camera out and kept nagging his dad, saying “will I get a photo of him, he is going to be there, isn’t he?”

The whole episode was completely surreal, with the daughter confusing Mandela with Christ, the son thinking that he somehow hangs out at his old prison cell, ready for photo opportunties, the father and the mother both with a far-away look in their eyes, explaining to me that they’ve “come home”, even though they mentioned that they were staying at one of the most upmarket/expensive hotels in the city.

So I’ve been thinking. Openly admitting that you’re not a fan of Nelson Mandela would be the social equivalent of saying you don’t like dolphins, so far be it from me to slate Madiba. Like pretty much everyone in the world, I like him. But as much as he has uttered quotable quotes, wears great shirts and probably has good characteristics, I am pretty sure that he’s always been and still is an Illuminati tool. Rumour has it that he is a Freemason and member of the Knights of Malta, does anybody have any evidence? Consensus reality: Nelson Mandela is the kindest, strongest, nicest person in the world. Everybody LOVES him. EVERYBODY. And he’s the hottest celebrity ticket, as well. Have you noticed how celebrities just love taking their picture with him? It is as if his saintliness absolves them of their sins – now that’s what they call “working the Madiba magic”!

Last edited by fiok; 05-12-2010 at 08:55 PM.
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Old 05-12-2010, 07:42 PM   #2
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Default Nelson Mandela with some dodgy celebrities

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Saint Nelson with Sir Bob

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Mandela with Naomi Campbell

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Bono, say no more
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Old 05-12-2010, 07:48 PM   #3
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Default But wait! There's more....

win0-022.jpg

Oprah, of course

A17287F5-A0F6-3EE5-B46C22782B1B22DD.jpg

Working it with MJ

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Will Smith having a peak experience

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Brad Pitt not quite looking as happy as he should be right now

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Old 05-12-2010, 08:04 PM   #4
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Default And then some

A1728312-A351-9836-B0A86356DEB825CE.jpg

A bit of a blast from the past

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Beyonce LOVES Mandela

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Celine Dion climbing on the bandwagon
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Old 05-12-2010, 08:43 PM   #5
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Looking for this?

Order of St John (Knights of Malta)

Welcome to DIF. Nice to know there are other thinkers living near me (Western Cape).
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Old 06-12-2010, 07:48 AM   #6
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Nelson played his role in the liberation of Africans. I mean that in two ways. He was a symbol of the fight for freedom, yes - but his hands were tied. This is what has happened with 'slave rebellions' historically; they get compromised. and that was probably the other 'role' he played.

Everyone talks about Mandela, very few are taught about Steve Biko (even though in the UK, there are Biko bars in quite a few universities). It's like we are taught about Martin Luther King but not Malcolm X.
As the OP said, you're almost prohibited from talking about Mandela in any other way except complimentary. The Obama syndrome.

As someone said, our heroes are chosen for us. I'm not knocking Nelson, very few of us could have endured what he endured. But he understood who the real power-brokers are. I hear people saying that in some ways, conditions for blacks has improved, minor gains; in others it's just the same. Would this be fair to say?

Back in 1990 I had a feeling nothing would really alter profoundly with his release, having seen other 'successful independence struggles' in Africa failing to deliver.
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Old 06-12-2010, 09:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiok View Post
The whole episode was completely surreal, with the daughter confusing Mandela with Christ, the son thinking that he somehow hangs out at his old prison cell, ready for photo opportunties...
Pretty funny.
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Old 06-12-2010, 10:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by decode reality View Post
As someone said, our heroes are chosen for us. I'm not knocking Nelson, very few of us could have endured what he endured. But he understood who the real power-brokers are. I hear people saying that in some ways, conditions for blacks has improved, minor gains; in others it's just the same. Would this be fair to say?
Well said - our heroes are chosen for us. It seems as if the collapse of organised religion parallels the rise of celebrity culture. If there is no God, we need saints and heroes to look up to. And these figures would have to be chosen and controlled, which means that the real heroes are probably unsung - or dead - or merely relegated to the footnotes of "history".

Nelson Mandela represents freedom and racial equality - these might be Utopian concepts, but I suppose I'd rather have a celebrity embody these qualities than someone like Lady Gaga, who just embodies, uhm, a meat dress or something.

But my (tentative) point is that Nelson Mandela is a celebrity and "made". And as much as he is in a league of his own, does he really deserve to be worshipped the way that he is, should anybody be beyond scrutiny?

Regarding conditions for black South Africans improving post 1994, I think that black economic empowerment has certainly increased career opportunities. But equal opportunity for all? And real, tangible change for the poorest of the poor? Not even close.

The "new world order that is in the making must focus on the creation of a world of democracy, peace and prosperity for all."
-- Nelson Mandela, in the Philadelphia Inquirer (October 1994)
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Old 06-12-2010, 10:08 PM   #9
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Default The third wives' club

A1728DF8-0B51-0F1A-616ED6645572630D.jpg

Nelson Mandela with third wife Graca
Nicolas Sarkozy with third wife Carla
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Old 07-12-2010, 12:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiok View Post
Well said - our heroes are chosen for us. It seems as if the collapse of organised religion parallels the rise of celebrity culture. If there is no God, we need saints and heroes to look up to. And these figures would have to be chosen and controlled, which means that the real heroes are probably unsung - or dead - or merely relegated to the footnotes of "history".

Nelson Mandela represents freedom and racial equality - these might be Utopian concepts, but I suppose I'd rather have a celebrity embody these qualities than someone like Lady Gaga, who just embodies, uhm, a meat dress or something.

But my (tentative) point is that Nelson Mandela is a celebrity and "made". And as much as he is in a league of his own, does he really deserve to be worshipped the way that he is, should anybody be beyond scrutiny?

Regarding conditions for black South Africans improving post 1994, I think that black economic empowerment has certainly increased career opportunities. But equal opportunity for all? And real, tangible change for the poorest of the poor? Not even close.

The "new world order that is in the making must focus on the creation of a world of democracy, peace and prosperity for all."
-- Nelson Mandela, in the Philadelphia Inquirer (October 1994)
That opening paragraph could be the basis of an entire thread, well said also.

Will return to the rest of your reply later.
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