Wikipedia:Peer review/Mandela: The Authorised Biography/archive1

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Mandela: The Authorised Biography[edit]

I am trying to expand this article, mainly focusing on the differences between this book and other accounts (books and otherwise) of Mandela's life and South Africa throughout this period. Any comments or suggestions are appreciated. BillMasen 17:11, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

  • Please see automated peer review suggestions here. Thanks, AZ t 21:36, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
    • Bill, two comments. First, it simply isn't true that the ANC is or ever was mainly Xhosa. That is a false propaganda claim promoted by the IFP because of its failure to solve the dilemma that need for its own Zulu ethnic base preventing it from gaining the real national scope Buthelezi hoped for. The claim that the ANC was equally narrow ethnically was a stratagem to make the IFP's ethnic particularity seem less important.
    • The violence in the 1980s between Inkatha and ANC followers was among Zulu people in KwaZulu & Natal. When it spread for a period to the Rand in the early 1990s, the IFP specifically attacked mainly Xhosa areas to reinforce the claim that the IFP-ANC conflict was mainly an ethnic conflict. But the ANC following in the Johannesburg area was multi-ethnic -- an attack on heavily Sotho (e.g.) or on mixed areas would also have been attacking majority ANC supporters.
    • What is true is that Zulu people came to be underrepresented proportionally in the ANC after its definitive break with Buthelezi/Inkatha (ca. 1979). This was because in essence Buthelezi pulled out a lot of people who, like himself, had historically been aligned with the ANC (or their parents had).
    • But the ANC always retained a mass Zulu following -- part of the reason for the civil war in KwaZulu-Natal in the 1980s & 1990s was exactly that the ANC remained able to contest credibly for power there. IFP victories in KZN provincial elections early after the end of apartheid began solid, but became more tenuous. The ANC always got more than 40% of the vote.
    • As for the rest of the country, if the ANC were primarily a Xhosa party, one would expect to see other ethnic parties like the IFP that were mainly Sotho, Pedi, Venda, Swazi, Ndebele etc. But they never existed in any credible way, and the ANC won large majorities in all African ethnic groups except the Zulu. In fact the other substantial challenge to ANC hegemony among Africans, though not as substantial as that posed the IFP, came from among the Xhosa & others speaking Xhosa in the Eastern Cape -- the party whose name is escaping me led by General Bantu Holomisa; I think maybe Stella Sigcau too but I might be confused on that point (Xhosa-speaking but related to Mpondo royal family).
    • Mandela himself is not Xhosa ethnically, but Thembu (though he's a South African nationalist more than an ethnic politician of any stripe). The Thembu were an independent people before white conquest, sometimes rivals of the Xhosa. For reasons having to do with missionary history and white politics, when "southern Nguni" language was reduced to writing it ended up being named Xhosa, but several other non-Xhosa peoples were considered to speak that language (e.g. Thembu, Mpondo, Mpondomise, Bhaca even though their dialect is quite different in some ways, Xesibe, Mfengu despite origins as "northern Nguni" refugees). They got grouped together politically under the Cape government in "The Transkeian Territories". When the NP apartheid policy created the bantustans, both Ciskei and Transkei were labelled as "Xhosa homelands" but that was an alignment with the language label, not internal ethnicity. It is not an accident that the ANC-supporting Thembu king Sabata Dalindyebo opposed the Transkei bantustan characterized as a Xhosa homeland under Kaizer Matanzima both before and after its pseudo-independence -- there were many reasons, but one was that Thembu aren't Xhosa, they just speak a language that got named after the Xhosa.
    • Secondly, I think the "third force" story may not be consistent in time. It seems possible to me that de Klerk (and Botha before him) might have been content to turn a blind eye earlier on, but if so, I think things got away from him & it became a real problem for him. But in any case there were independent actors. Much of the "third force" would have been politically aligned not with de Klerk's NP but with the Conservative Party that split from the NP not over ending apartheid but over Botha's much smaller "reforms" in the early 1980s, or with groupings further right than them. Also there is clear evidence of elements of the IFP working with "third force" elements in the security forces -- whether they were always under Buthelezi's control is not clear. But in the negotiations, de Klerk wanted/needed the IFP stronger to weaken the ANC (and the IFP & NP political programs were pretty similar).
    • Oh, one more thing -- Winnie Mandela advocated or supported "necklacing" in at least one speech in the 1980s, but I have never heard even a claim that she practiced it personally. As far as I know she came closest to direct murderous violence in the episode in which her "football team" bodyguards/ goon squad killed "Stompie" Sepei (or Moeketsi), a teenaged boy involved in SAYCO I think -- there were accusations that she ordered the killing, which she denied. She was charged and convicted of kidnapping and assault in connection with the case.

Chris Lowe 21:11, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

  • Comment In response to the unhelpful rant by the above user, just make sure whatever info you add to the article, back it up with citations and make sure to conform to a neutral point of view. A book infobox would make the article more accessible. LuciferMorgan 03:42, 17 December 2006 (UTC)
    • Hardly an unhelpful rant. Zaian 11:53, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Thankyou for your recommendations. Unless otherwise stated, all information in the article comes from the book, although i agree this might be clearer. I'm trying to make the article flow well: there are only so many ways to say "allegedly".

I don't know how to make an infobox, if someone could start one off that would be very helpful. BillMasen 12:16, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

Hey Bill

The second paragraph of the overview contains sentence saying” Mandela describes his education at a Thembu college called Clarkebury, and later at the strict Healdtown school, where students were rigorously put in routines.” This sentence seems choppy, I understand trying to be concise however I would consider breaking that one sentence in to two.