Apartheid Did Not Die

This is a documentary produced by John Pilger in 1997. In this film, he highlights the transition from apartheid South Africa to a so-called “New South Africa” which continues to represent the interests of the white, settler colonial, ruling class through neocolonialism. This neocolonialism was initiated through the African National Congress’s betrayal of the Freedom Charter. Despite the mainstream narrative of Nelson Mandela being the ultimate freedom fighter who toppled apartheid single handedly, he was a primary factor in South Africa’s trajectory toward neoliberalism. We know Nelson Mandela’s role is sacrosanct in terms of liberation struggles; however, his ultimate contribution to the struggle resulted in millions of African people remaining in poverty with no justice (as has been the case with us Africans all over the world). Those who believe that Mandela was a one-man army, have never heard of or understand the contributions of people such as Chris Hani, who was the leader of the South African Communist Party and chief of staff of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress, Steve Biko of the Black Consciousness Movement, and Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe who founded the Pan Africanist Congress. And furthermore, you never hear about the contributions of the people, which is the only force that will bring about true liberation. When watching this documentary, keep in mind Fanon’s analysis that the concept of advancement within the ranks of the black middle-class is their ability to act as functionaries for the white-ruling, class. 1

This is most exemplified when Thabo Mbeke, former president of South Africa, proudly proclaimed he was a Thatcherite. 2

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  1. Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, trans. Constance Farrington (New York: Grove Press, 1963), 152-153.
  2. John Pilger, Freedom Next Time: Resisting The Empire (New York: Nation Books, 2007), 213.