When Mandela arrived in 1939 in Johannesburg, fleeing from an arranged marriage, he was a smart countryside boy who unfortunately quickly developed an inferiority complex against the urban black elite and the white high social privileges and economical status.
This is something quite normal, often observed on newcomers to urban area, or a more advanced society.
In 1940, he did not have any political ambition or wish to fight apartheid. He confessed his admiration for white people, and his dream was to qualify as a good clerk in the apartheid system.
He was undoubtedly a very ambitious young boy, but utterly obsessed with his image, and status. Regardless of his meager resources, he’d invest most his income in overdressing and flashing out to attract females favor. A kind of Congolese “Sapeur” of the day!
He was attracted to activism only when he finally found out that injustice and racial discrimination represented the main roadblock for his buoyant ambition.
Walter Sisulu and Oliver Thambo took the countryside boy under their patronage, and provided him with opportunities.
He performed well.
Acknowledging their fight against Apartheid was not making any great progress, Walter Sisulu and Oliver Thambo took one of the smartest decision the ANC had ever made: create an young icon which would catalyse emotions. The charming Mandela was the best candidate.
From the years 1957, African countries were becoming independent from Europeans occupation, and the newly independent countries displayed a strong solidarity toward their brothers and sisters in South Africa.
In 1962, the ANC decided to secretly send Mandela to tour the newly independent countries for help.
Before Mandela departure, a party was organized. Excitement, Hope, optimism and alcohol helping, the young Mandela imprudently told few people he would be the first black president of South Africa.
His African tour brought him to North Africa, Senegal, Guinea, Ghana, Ethiopia, and few more countries.
The apartheid regime didn’t like the idea, and Mandela was imprisoned on his return on the accusation that he traveled without a valid passport.
During the last decades of his imprisonment, Mandela suffered from two crippling disease. Prostate cancer in 1985, and tuberculosis in 1988. The doctors who cared about him were all white. He was well treated.
In 1988 Mandela was moved out of prison to a cottage house with swimming pool, a private white cook (chef Jack Swart), and gardens.
All the staff caring about him during that decade were white people. A deep connection and normal gratitude developed between the now older and death fearing Mandela and his guards.
From 1986, without consulting the ANC board, or his co-prisoners from which he was separated for already 5 years, Mandela started to negotiate alone and privately with the apartheid regime.
He negotiated alone with the Apartheid regime for almost one year before informing his comrades.
How a man in prison for already 20 years, cut from reality for so long, affected by age and diseases could feel so confident in his ability to negotiate alone against a government apparatus, is a mystery yet to be clarified.
The treason moment came when Mandela would invite his ANC comrades to his private prison and talk sensitive negotiations points while the house was wired and microphones and cameras hidden everywhere.
Anyway, he was alone negotiating with a governmental team assisted with dozen of advisors from the IMF, top negotiation psychologists and framers from the United States, Europe and Israel.
The end result of his over confidence is the current South Africa. A broken country where apartheid has never ended, and the illusions of rainbow nations has waned.
The white minority kept all the lands and resources, and the black majority is kept alive only because of massive governmental handouts.
Like Obama, Sarkozy, Gnassingbe, … Mandela was in the breed of those numerous smart and aggressive fatherless kids – children who have not known their father – who grow up to become fragile, and insecure leaders in constant search of approval and attention, while being utterly deceptive.
No wonder the Mandela leadership foundation was created by another black face of the White supremacy: Barack Obama.
Those who come to activism because of career frustration or economical hardship will betray their comrades once they are offered a career or an economical opportunity.
Activism is empathy in action, not a way to get ahead personally.
You recognize a leader by his legacy. It’s now clear that Mandela has left none which would last.
We still have a lot to learn about how to select good leaders.