James Ngculu - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
Welcome to the Nelson Mandela Digital Archive Project. Our aim is to locate, document, digitise, and provide access to all archival materials related to Nelson Mandela. This is a work in progress. Here is a selection of materials arranged in exhibits for your enjoyment.
In the period prior to the ANC’s National Conference in Bloemfontein in 1994 Nelson Mandela proposed something that took many of us in the ANC by great surprise – the proposal for the so-called Indian Option. This proposal was based on some form of proportional representation of different racial groups in the NEC to give effect, in his own view, to the non-racial nature of the ANC at the higher decision-making level.
After some time he narrated the history of the ANC’s policy of non-racialism and how certain parties (without reference to any) had never understood this policy and pandered to narrow racist postures that never gained them much. He then turned to the history of the National Party and how most of its leaders were ignominiously removed from power. He was quite eloquent and well informed on the history of the NP. He then indicated that the best safeguard of the core value of the non-racial element of the ANC was his proposal. He politely appealed to us to understand where he came from and support his proposal.
By now it was actually very difficult to differ with him. However, one comrade raised his objection by stating that people had to earn their positions in the NEC through a fair democratic process. The floodgates were thus opened as we shot down his proposal. While we were making our comments he was simply jotting down notes and did not say a word. He must have realised at some point that his proposal was not gaining any support. Nevertheless, there was no display of impatience or irritation. At the end he thanked us for our presence and views, and wished us well during the conference. Such was the humility of a great man and humble servant of the people. Tata Mandela, I must state here, is really one of the most infinitely tolerant and humblest citizens of our country.
South Africa and the world owe much to the values Tata Mandela stands for. He may have said he has retired and told us, “Don’t call me, I’ll call you.” But in honour of this great giant, we must pose a question, “What must we do to succeed in our purpose?” In my view, the answer is short and sweet – Do it the Mandela Way!
Quote: "There was no display of impatience or irritation."
Collection: Moments with a Legend