Mandela and De Klerk: Essential partners
Nelson Mandela and President F. W. de Klerk met here today to try to suggesting that their personal relationship had bridged for now the. What Mandela's relationship with Reinders – the same as it was with all his staff, . He had no choice, for President FW de Klerk, whom he graciously (and Yet when the supreme test came he kept his cool and gave his. Mandela and de Klerk - Face to Face [Al Jazeera] This timeline displays key moments in the relationship between Nelson Mandela, the iconic.
It was during this campaign that Mandela revealed a histrionic talent his official biographer, Anthony Sampson, described him as "a master of political imagery" that would serve him in good stead much later, when he emerged from prison into the globalised television age. He made a point of ensuring that press photographers were amply in attendance when he launched the campaign in by setting fire to his pass book, badge of apartheid ignominy, wearing a big mischievous smile on his face.
The photograph, published far and wide, electrified the black population, who followed his example in their tens of thousands. The young Mandela's self-confidence bordered on the brash. At a meeting of the ANC's executive committee in the mids he upset the organisation's elders when he gave a speech in which he predicted — with outrageous clairvoyance — that one day he would become the first black president of South Africa.
Always visibly on the frontline of resistance to apartheid in those days, he dressed like a million dollars.
Nelson Mandela's fraught relationship with FW de Klerk - Telegraph
He had his suits made by the same tailor as South Africa's gold and diamond king, Harry Oppenheimer, and never cut a less than dandyish figure on the Johannesburg night scene. The women fell for him, Winnie Madikizela among them. And he — though he was married, with children — fell for her too. Mandela divorced his first wife, Evelyn, and wed Winnie, with whom he had two daughters but, as Winnie would later complain, they saw little of each other, especially after he became commander in chief of the ANC's newly founded military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe, Spear of the Nation, inand was obliged to go underground.
That seam of vanity worked against him now. Determined to play the part of Che Guevara, embracing a slogan popular at the time — "We'll take power the Castro way" — he insisted, despite warnings from his friends, on sporting revolutionary green fatigues in public even after the police had declared him South Africa's most wanted man.
Partly because of his failure to keep the very low profile his circumstances demanded, he was arrested inremaining behind bars for the next and-a-half years. Prison tamed him, taught him to hone his theatrical talents, his seducer's arts, towards realistic political goals. He went in angry and came out wise, yet always driven by the heroic conviction that the respite he won at his trial in — life imprisonment instead of an expected death sentence — had destined him to emerge one day as his people's redeemer.
The big lesson he assimilated was that the enemy was not going to be defeated by force of arms; that white South Africans would one day have to be persuaded to surrender power voluntarily, to kill off apartheid by themselves. Prison, the tiny cell he inhabited on Robben Island for 18 years, became his practice ground for the grand game that would await him outside.
Lesson one, he resolved, had to be "know your enemy". To the dismay of some of his fellow prisoners, he set about learning Afrikaans — "the oppressors' language" — and reading books on Afrikaner history. Then he set out to win his jailers' hearts, figuring this was the way to get to know the vanities, strengths and weaknesses of the white population at large, the better to be prepared, when the time came, to attempt to bend them to his will.
Transcript of F.W. de Klerk interview on Mandela
The trick consisted of never losing his principled dignity, in refusing to be bullied and in treating all around him with respect — with the "ordinary respect" that Sisulu once defined as the prize for which he fought during his 60 years in politics.
These qualities, adorned by his regal manners, were to win over the first two members of the white government that he, or any other black leader, ever had contact with. During his last five years in prison he held more than 70 secret meetings with the justice minister, Kobie Coetsee, and national intelligence chief, Niel Barnard; the meetings' purpose to explore the possibility of a political accommodation between blacks and whites.
As he insinuated himself into these two dubious personages' trust each was regarded as a monster by the world at large during the fraught she consolidated his authority over his fellow political prisoners, as he would later over the black population.
I interviewed Coetsee about those meetings and, as Reinders had done, he wept at the recollection of Mandela, whom he defined as "the incarnation of the great Roman virtues — dignitas, gravitas, honestas". Barnard was incapable of weeping but he came close, referring to Mandela always during the seven hours that we spoke as "the old man", as if he were talking about his own father.
Released from prison on 11 FebruaryMandela went on a triumphant progress around South Africa, preaching a finely tuned message of reconciliation and defiance. No Gandhi, he refused to call off the "armed struggle", symbolic as it had largely been, until the government gave unequivocal signs of committing itself to one-person, one-vote democracy.
He had no choice, for President FW de Klerk, whom he graciously and shrewdly described as "a man of integrity", initially imagined he would get away with some sort of sui generis, semi-democratic, "minority rights" formula that would secure and perpetuate white privilege. The negotiations that went on over the next four years were tough, but not nearly as tough as what was going on out in the townships, especially those on the periphery of Johannesburg.
The last kicks of the apartheid beast expressed themselves in a concerted attempt to derail the transition by shadowy forces in the security establishment in alliance with the conservative black organisation Inkatha, whose rightwing Zulu leader, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, a beneficiary of apartheid's Bantustan "homeland" system, was as fearful of ANC rule as any white man. The slaughter in Soweto and elsewhere reached a scale not seen in South Africa since the Boer war, nearly years earlier.
Mandela railed publicly, raged at De Klerk in private and had to be restrained by colleagues in the ANC national executive from not calling off talks altogether; from resorting — hot anger at times getting the better of his judgment — to all-out confrontation.
Yet when the supreme test came he kept his cool and gave his blessing to a breakthrough compromise whereby the country's first democratically elected government would be a coalition, with ministries dispensed in proportion to the percentage of votes each party won. He reached out to, and to a large degree pacified, the white population by persuading his own people to make another major compromise on a matter close to all South African hearts.
It was at a meeting of the ANC's national executive four months before the historic elections of April There was never any doubt that the ANC would win the poll; the issue on the table was what should be the position of the new government on the delicate question of the national anthem? The old anthem was clearly unacceptable. Die Stem was a sombre martial tune that praised God and celebrated the triumphs of Boer leaders Piet Retief, Andries Pretorius and the rest of the "trekkers" as they drove upwards through South Africa in the 19th century, crushing black resistance.
The unofficial anthem of black South Africa, Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika, was the richly soulful expression of a long-suffering people yearning to be free.
The meeting had just got started when an assistant walked in to tell Mandela that he had a phone call from a head of state.
He left the room and the 30 or so men and women of the ANC's supreme decision-making body carried on without him. The consensus was overwhelmingly in favour of scrapping Die Stem and replacing it with Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika. Tokyo Sexwale, the former Robben islander and now leading member of the ANC's national executive committee NECremembered vividly the mood at the meeting during Mandela's absence.
We are singing Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika in this country and that is that. We were having a great time! He said, 'Well, I am sorry. I don't want to be rude, but …' — my God, we all wanted to hide — 'I think I should express myself on this motion.
I never thought seasoned people such as yourselves would take a decision of such magnitude on such an important matter without even waiting for the president of your organisation'. With the stroke of a pen, you would take a decision to destroy the very — the only — basis that we are building upon: Mandela proposed instead that, for the foreseeable future, South Africa should have two anthems, to be played one immediately after the other at official ceremonies, from presidential inaugurations to international rugby matches: Die Stem and Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika.
Morally defeated, overwhelmed by the logic of Mandela's argument, the freedom fighters unanimously caved in. Sexwale laughed out aloud years later at the discomfiture he had felt, at the manner in which Mandela had outmanoeuvred them all. I think the matter is clear …' Nobody raised a finger to object. But they deferred to his judgment also because ever since the masterly performances he delivered immediately after leaving prison they had come to accept that "the old man" was far more skilful than any of them in the modern craft of political symbolism.
The issue of the anthem was all about the creation of a national mood, of persuading politically by moving people's emotions. That, as his fellow ANC leaders had come to see, was the essence of his political genius, where he outclassed them all. De Klerk began their historic negotiations to end apartheid, each man professed respect for the other.Frost over the World - FW De Klerk - 22 May 09
Indeed their relationship appeared not only professional, but personal. Yet as the negotiations dragged on through andtempers grew short, and South Africans grew increasingly frustrated with the slow progress toward the liberation that had seemed so promising just a few years ago. Much of the turmoil flamed in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, but it also spread dangerously into the outskirts of Johannesburg, which soon turned into a patchwork of no-go areas. On my effort to visit the area, for example, we were stopped by gunfire and forced to retreat.
By the time of the elections inat least 3, people would be killed. Mandela was convinced that De Klerk could stop this violence. There was widespread suspicion among South Africans that agents of the government were conspiring in the violence.
Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk: Enemies for peace
Even if that were not true, Mandela felt De Klerk had both the responsibility and the capability to stop it. De Klerk told Mandela, however, that he was not able to do so. Mandela was furious and his anger spilled over into the public.
It was visible at times when the two were together. On one occasion, Mandela appeared to be lecturing De Klerk angrily. Many in the international community, as well as many South Africans, became concerned that this deep rift would jeopardize the negotiations.
These fears persisted even though the two leaders had agreed in — after a long interruption in the talks provoked by violence in the township of Boipatong — that thereafter no acts of violence, whatever their origin, would stop the peace process.