In an exchange of opinions aired in the “London Review of Books” in June 2013 between Paul Trewhela, the South African author Rian Malan and Bill Keller, the former bureau chief of the New York Times in Johannesburg, the American journalist said: “Apartheid was pulled down by many hands, some of them Communist. As professor Ellis has said, Mandela’s brief expedient membership of SACP does not detract from his historic stature. Mandela, Mr Ellis told one interviewer, wasn’t a real convert. It was just an opportunistic thing.” But the achievements and failures of Nelson Mandela won’t go away.
British journalist Fred Bridgland is putting the finishing touches to a book he has written with Katiza Cebekhulu about Winnie Mandela’s alleged involvement in the death of Stompie Moeketsi in Soweto on January 1, 1989. Cebekhulu and Bridgland claim that when Winnie Mandela was charged in September 1990 with kidnaping and assaulting Moeketsi, Mandela’s solicitor Ismael Ayob and others approached the International Defence and Aid Fund (IDAF) asking for funds for his wife’s defence. The European Union (EU) got wind of this and said that its contributions were for the defence of political prisoners only. Bridgland claims that Mandela then put pressure on the Swedish government so that the IDAF funds could be allocated for Mrs Mandela’s defence.
The outcome was that the EU dropped its annual grant of £485,000 and IDAF was immediately wound up after having helped tens of thousands of South Africans to the tune of £100 million who had faced political trials under apartheid laws. Years later, Mr Mandela made not a single reference to one of the founders of the IDAF, Canon John Collins in his best-selling book “Long Walk to Freedom” (Abacus, 1994). Anthony Sampson’s biography of Mandela makes only three references to Collins, who is regarded by many in the anti-apartheid movement as one of its most important figures. Like Ellis and Trewhela, Malan and Keller, Fred Bridgland says that Nelson Mandela was a great man but one with serious flaws “like all of us.”