This letter will be meaningless to many, especially those with blinkered eyes; blinded by ignorance, greed and sheer hate. It is written by an emanent historian of South Africa Military, placing himself in danger because he still lives in a violent land.
I think one has to accept the basic premise that Mandela was a politician. He was a politician his entire life. After being sentenced, I believe he was lucky in that the Prosecutor Percy Yutar, as I remember the name, made a fundamental mistake and the Judge sentenced them to life not death, given all the weapons, mines and explosives etc that were found for which he was in part responsible.
He went to jail as a simple member of the party along with others. Subsequently, as part of the ongoing war against the RSA decision was made by the ANC with advice from the Russians, to reflect Mandela as a hero and part of the propaganda onslaught against the RSA govt as part of the much maligned Total Onslaught. To this end an enormous effort was put into the denigration of the RSA Govt etc although as you know up to 1985 the ANC MK etc did not amount to much of a threat. The real threat was encapsulated within the UDF. They were the org that held themselves to be fighting an unjust govt by non violent means which clearly the research disagrees with. Disproving that angle will take another discussion. Mandela was in jail and a fair amount of pressure was put on him by the Govt to forswear violence which he refused.
Now we come to the interesting part where the ANC as you are aware went to VN to learn from the Vietnamese how they were able to stand up to the USA. What they learnt is in essence very simple. Assume you are in power - who is your major enemy in a democratic one man one vote scenario? The clear answer to that was Inkatha. At that point middle 70's they were the largest legitimate black party in RSA(Republic of South Africa) and they were a almost cats hair distant from the ANC in beliefs bar the violence and Marxist diatribes etc. Destroy them and you are the major political force in SA! Back to Mandela. When DeKlerk took over he decided that as a matter of Real Politiek to get rid of SWA(South West Africa/Namibia). Free up the millions spent there and concentrate on the internal sit. He was definitely not a securocrat! By ridding himself of SWA by fair means and foul, he moved to reducing the SADF and then to negoitiations with the ANC. Read Marc Burger's book Not the Whole Truth. While I will agree that the SADF Gens often did make mistakes, their biggest was to avoid politics in the middle of a political war. As military men it was their duty to understand politics in the broad and narrow context of RSA and the international implications of all they did. They often failed to understand this. The effort to reconcile Mandela with peace in our time, bore fruit in my opinion when he was briefed on the success of the VN visit and its implications. Consequently he could as a strat move accept the conditional rejection of armed struggle based on meaningful negotiations to majority rule, knowing that the real war was about to start ie the destruction of Inkatha as a political force in SA. The whites had become irrelevant and they did not even know this. The ham handed efforts of the SAPS and SB to assist the IFP without the assistance of the SADF who tried nobly to maintain the peace between all warring factions.
Why do you think the SADF was able as a rule to ride around the townships with few incidents and yet the SAP could go into the same area and seemingly attract stones like a magnet? Often the SADF patrols were so far removed from controlling the areas they patrolled, because the SAP refused us permission to dominate in all the sense of the word and our clever Gens felt this was not a real war. We should not really be there, but beware if you attack us our Strongmans image will force us to shoot you, because we will never carry non lethal weapons, they are not military traditional weapons!!
Look at the stats of killings before and after 1994. Did the Armed struggle really end when Mandela came out of jail having said he would abandon the path of violence? The data speaks for itself and with the clever use of the NEC and the limp handed approach of De Klerk ably supported by the Goldstone Commissions work it was almost inevitable that the IFP should start collapsing. Take the Shell House attack. Mandela refused to allow the police to search the building!! and said if all the other hostels meaning IFP ones were searched as well he would allow? the building to be searched. That by the way only happened 3 years later. He threatened the negotiations would stall if the search went ahead. (By the way I had a senior SAP colleague who was inside Shell house at the time who saw what went on and was very worried he might be called to testify, as he would have to call the ANC seniors who became his bosses later, liars.) Mandela was in charge of the ANC before and after 94. He failed ? did not stop the violence and now we have a black pop who cannot even remember who was killing them in such great numbers. Talk of a Stockholm syndrome! Do not forget the immense value of having all the liberal press and academia turned by clever stratcom by the Russians et al. Who ran the ILO? etc.
You may well argue he showed great magnanimity towards the whites afterwards. Yes but why do you think there is a thing called a 2 Phase revolution, and the Firearms Act was a direct attempt to disarm the whites, I knew the Chairman who wrote the Act, as the ANC were and to some extend still are scared of a right wing revolt. Politics, and any way, if you add the Affirmative action laws, they have what they want, positions and a hand on all the power levers even in sport, while the whites gratefully work in the middle ranking positions. Note that the SANDF (SA National Defence Force) is now about 8% white with last count 5 white Lts. The other govt depts are not much better off. Business is the final power lever that is outstanding.
Much can be written and argued about, but only time will maybe tell if the truth will slide to the surface.
What I have written above is without deep research and references so small errors can creep in. The SWA(South West Africa/Namibia) elections is a minefield waiting to be walked into.
I know too many Whites; former British, Portugese, Dutch and worse, the Boers who are historic White African farmers, into abandoning the country they built for enforced exile in other countries outside of Africa. Many in Britain cheer this development at the same time demand that Britain has no say in it ancient rights of self government.