By Jean-Paul Pougala

Lesson of African Geostrategy n° 57

Yesterday 18/07/2013, on the anniversary of his 95th birthday, as if by miracle, Nelson Mandela awoken from the long coma into which circumstances and the media had steeped him into. And what if all of this was an orchestrated circus to avoid the hypocrisy of the U.S. president who has become the man that Africans fear most today? What we do know for certain is that Mandela did not want to shake Obama’s hand. But why would he?

What happened since the time when then-Senator Obama posed triumphantly besides Nelson Mandela? Since then, Obama has become President of the United States. And the Black son of Africa has become one of Africa’s worst predators. From the machinations in Côte d’Ivoire to the partitioning of Sudan, through the destruction of the Libyan nation and its transforming into a haven for jihadists. During his first trip as Head of State to South Africa, Obama was able to meet with former president Nelson Mandela, who had simply made out to be dying in his hospital bed  to avoid shaking hands with someone whom  he calls “the murderer of my friend and brother Muammar Gaddafi,” a man who had done so much to helped the ANCs freedom fighters during his years in prison. The West celebrated Mandela’s 27 years behind bars, but they forget that during that time, there were many others who fought and died from bullets supplied by the West. Martyrs whom the West has deliberately chosen to forget about by over-dramatizing Mandela’s 27 years behind bars, to better hide the extreme sacrifice of Steve Biko and his comrades who gave their lives for freedom in South when almost all European governments and the United States of America financed and helped those enemies who held Mandela in prison. Like the ANCs representative in Paris, Dulcie Evonne September, 53, killed in a hail of five bullets to the head on the stairs of the ANC office in Paris. She was investigating evidence for evidence of French military support to the racist regime of South Africa. Today, on every Hollywood star’s webpage features their picture with Mandela. No longer is it in vogue to reflect on the time Mandela spent in prison, visits to his cell, do they even know what apartheid was? And why don’t they ever talk about it? Why does Obama never mention by name any of the heroes in the struggle against apartheid? Must Africa continue to take part in this circus or downright play dead to avoid them?


On 18th July 2013, the U.S. city of Detroit in the state of Michigan filed for bankruptcy, that is to say, went bankrupt. This is yet another failure in a long list of American cities. Other cities will follow because they are drowning in debt and those so-called politicians; adventurers elected by universal suffrage, are unable to control the tailspin, to continue to pay firefighters, police officers, street sweepers, provide drinking water, daycare, canteens, municipal swimming pools etc.. Detroit is the tree that hides the forest of mismanagement of public affairs across the West. Apparently, the “democracy” and “good governance” Obama demanded of Arab countries in 2009 as a condition for financial support from the United States are still lacking in his own country. Even the most naive Arabs who hears these words cannot help but wonder why Mr. Obama does not require these preconditions of “good governance” in his own country the USA and “democracy” for his best friends in the Arabian peninsula who all sit atop monarchies, which are emblematic of the denial of the fundamental rights of human beings to live in freedom, such as the simple right of a girl to ride a bicycle or for women to drive cars. If Mr. Obama is broadly demanding of Arab countries what he does not expect of his best friends like Qatar and Saudi Arabia, this is proof that he does not believe in it himself. In fact, the Obama message was targeted at African countries. This best explains the Obama administration’s support for all the new Islamist governments which came to power in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. That Sharia rule was the objective of these governments does not undermine protections they will receive from Washington. The eviction of a protégé [Morsi] from power in Egypt has not yet been digested by Obama who told him on the phone just before his last speech to the nation asking that he stay in power despite a petition by 22 million Egyptians. In Tunisia, the situation is catastrophic in terms of individual freedoms with political assassinations (such as the opponent Belaïd Chokri), but this does not interfere with Obama giving his blessing to what he calls “moderate Islamic power”.


Today everyone has became sworn friends of Nelson Mandela. But besides the beautiful words spoken about him, how many of them gave him a helping hand during and after his term in office, to achieve the goals and ideals of racial cohesion through social justice? We will try to understand below, from the British example, what was the general attitude of Western political leaders towards Mandela during his term in office.

At the end of apartheid, to counter the hegemony of White private power over the  financial system in South Africa, Nelson Mandela sought the help of all Western countries, who turned him down. Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister would go even further in this refusal by pouring tons of gold onto the world market to break the price of South Africa’s main export, gold, and push the new South Africa  under Nelson Mandela into serious financial difficulties, on the one hand, and drive home the point that times were better under White rule  and secondly,  to force the country to reach out to the West and for this outstretched hand, demanded and obtained assurances that, land reforms, like those undertaken in Zimbabwe to restore fertile lands in the country to the true owners from the hands of the few Whites where things still stand in 2013.

When Nelson Mandela left office after very unsatisfactory results in 1999, in that same year, one Gordon Brown, number two in the Tony Blair government and Chancellor of the Exchequer (the name given to  Finance Minister in the United Kingdom) poured all the gold reserves of the Bank of England, England’s Central Bank onto the market, that is to say, from 1999, in order to bring South Africa to its knees and give the world an image of a South Africa mismanaged by Nelson Mandela, Tony Blair poured 395 tons of gold, cash valued at $3.5 billion on the world market. It was not until seven years later in 2006, a British newspaper, namely The Times had the courage to denounce this operation. Because in wanting to bring Africa keel, Europe has often shot itself in the foot. Tony Blair had pulled it off, since as a direct result, the price of gold hit its lowest level, canceling all social programs planned under Mandela’s successor, Thabo Mbeki, making the world believe that Blacks were unable to govern any better where whites had been successful. Yes, but as the Times magazine rightly pointed out in March 2006, this was the most stupid decision ever taken by a European government to break an African country since only announcement of the decision to undertake this operation depressed the price of gold at which the UK could sell its gold reserves. This price could not stay low forever and has since increased and even doubled to US$600 per ounce in 2006. The magazine reports that this gold would have been worth $ 7billion at today’s prices, which is twice it original value. Chance being what it is, the same Gordon Brown who had sold off gold, would soon succeed Tony Blair as British Prime Minister and would be in serious financial trouble balancing his various budgets, and would be simply swept away by the elections to make way for Cameron. The Independent newspaper of March 20, 2006 will drive the point home by noting that the difficulties of the moment and the beginning of the economic crisis would have been less severe for the country if the gold had not been sold off seven years earlier, since beginning 2006, gold market price began soaring.


It was one man who came to Nelson Mandela’s rescue once again and that man is Muammar Gaddafi. There are no official figures released of the Libyan intervention in South Africa, but is estimated at several billion dollars according to figures which Obama’s friends in Libya have since made public. It is thanks to this money that many Blacks would finally have access to credit to start their own businesses, while banks, all owned by whites refused to do so, saying that blacks had never managed to companies, and therefore, they could not grant them credit. This is the birth of the first middle-class blacks in South Africa under Thabo Mbeki.

To understand why Mandela would play dead to avoid meeting the U.S. President, we must go back to 1 month before Obama’s arrival in that country. The new Libya officials under Obama (since those in power were installed by Obama and his administration) demanded that South Africa refund the billions that Gaddafi had invested in that country to counter White hegemony. This is the straw that broke the camels back vis-a-vis South Africa’s first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela.

It is the British newspaper Sunday Times of May 2013, which published the figure of $80billion that Obama, through his Libyan friends, is presently demanding of African countries under the pretext of a recuperation, as grotesque as it is scandalous, of “all funds and assets held illegally, obtained, looted, deposited or concealed in South Africa and neighboring countries by the late Muammar Gaddafi.” This is what the letter addressed by both the Libyan Ministries of Justice and Finance to their South African counterparts. The only official response from South Africa to date is from Jabulani Sikhakhane, spokesman for the South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan which arrived on June 2, 2013: “The process of verifying the request by the Libyan authorities is ongoing.”


It is in this tense climate that U.S. President decides to make his trip to Africa, to capture the moment in time: Obama, the first Black President of the United States meeting the first Black President of South Africa. Except that being Black is not enough. The world is a jungle where economic interests are more important than racial affinities. At least, this has been the message that the U.S. president has sent to Africa since his first term.

And when upon arriving in Senegal, he started talking about homosexuality, no one was fooled. Everyone understands these days; the topic of homosexuality is used in Africa by the West as a diversion from addressing really sensitive matters. And it works every time. So, rather than wondering if their president Macky Sall can make a real break with the CFA Franc, which fleeces all African countries which use that currency, the Senegalese were divided between those who were for their president who stands against homosexuality or with the American president purposefully chose the theme. It is into a similar trap that Africa was plunged in the 1980s with the lie about AIDS, with the complicity of the United Nations through the WHO, as I show in my previous book “In Fuga slab Tenebre” (Fleeing the darkness) and with the success of this well-orchestrated diversion, a veritable macabre circus, with real actors and real victims executioners, lasting 30 years. Since the AIDS scare was no longer working, a new theme was quickly found: homosexuality. And as usual, Africans will lunge at like, like babies to honey. Obama knows this, and like the European Union, is also involved in the diversion of Africans in Senegal. And it works. How much is Obama, through Libyan friends, demanding repatriation of Gaddafi investments in Senegal? Of course it never comes up. It’s an open question whether the Senegalese president is even aware of the American slight-of-hand operation. Next came the South-African leg of the trip. Mandela plays dead. The day of Obama arrival in South Africa, it is the former South African president’s family who start the rumor: the family was fighting over where he would be buried. For one thing, the U.S. Secret Service which oversaw Obama’s visit were not misled about the state of Nelson Mandela’s health, which was not as catastrophic as it was being suggested. But when talk began about the choice of cemetery where he’d be buried, the insistence by the Obama entourage to see Mandela at the hospital ended. He should have at least learned, like President Hollande in Addis Ababa on 25/05/2013 where there was no audience for speech which was postponed to 20:45, in Africa, we are no good at pretending.


In recent years, there has been in South Africa, an unease arising from the fact that South Africans feel that Mandela has been an instrument in the hands of Whites to make them accept the violence of the social injustices from the apartheid years. Many other symbols have added to this perception. The South African flag, the rainbow colors, which was used to persuade Blacks not to give-in to feelings of revenge against Whites was simply first usurped by the Italian pacifists, and then converted into the “rainbow flag”, or rallying flag of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. A controversy occurred in France during the fireworks show of July 14th, 2013, when the Eiffel Tower was showered in rainbow colors. The opponents of marriage equality cried foul, saw in this a nod to homosexuals. The organizers had to defend themselves the next day on all radio and television stations, explaining that it was simply a tribute to Nelson Mandela on his hospital bed. Even the mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoe had to explain himself with a statement saying: “The City council took responsibility for placing Paris under the banner of liberty, equality, fraternity and for paying tribute to Nelson Mandela. End of story.”

This confusion confirmed the malaise in South African against this usurpation of their flag which gave them the feeling of being the most tolerant people on Earth, despite all they have endured. This is also why when Obama chose the theme of homosexuality for his speech in Dakar, he could not imagine that he was pulling a very raw nerve in South Africa.


When the following day in Tanzania, Obama promised $7 billion to illuminate all of Africa, no one believes it, not even himself. He could not have so grossly mistaken the amount it would take to light-up Africa. And in any case, if he has not been able to save Detroit from bankruptcy, one of the cities  that voted massively for him, its debts amounted to $20billion, we do not need to have had courses in economics or accounting to ask how he can possibly help 54 African countries which are almost all in good economic health? Good governance means first of all not spending money you do not have. And on this count, Africa could give lessons to the West and not the other way around. It is up to African municipalities to provide lectures on good governance, even under conditions of extreme poverty and not the reverse. Unlike Western municipalities, African city governments cannot issue bonds, cannot borrow on the financial markets. And that’s a good thing. We must make do with what we have. It is this rule of not claiming a world which is not ours that has helped these African municipal governments pull through. It is all too easy to build subways, swimming pools etc.. with money one does not have, but sooner or later it will have to be paid and that day has come throughout the West. And it is a disaster everywhere.

The insolvency of Detroit, camouflaged under the slogan: “the first major city to fail” is indeed just another-in a long list- of American cities which have filed for bankruptcy because of the poor management by its leaders. How could Mr. Obama, who wants to share the good and bad points of good governance with African leaders, not be ashamed, when he utters these words, knowing that the whole world is aware of the very poor management of public affairs by American politicians in particular and Westerners in general? How can people who have proven their incompetence in managing cities in their countries in the West, say to Africans, who have all their cities with budget surpluses, how public affairs are to be managed?

On October 12, 2011, Harrisburg, the state capital of Pennsylvania filed for bankruptcy due to mismanagement. On June 28, 2012, is the 13th largest city in California, Stockton, and population 300,000 which filed for bankruptcy for the same reasons. Along with 21 other U.S. cities before Detroit, for the same reason: the incompetence of American politicians to balance expenditures with revenues of their municipalities.

Of the 28 countries in the European Union, only small Monaco has a balanced budget. All the others have deficits. All the Länders in Germany are languishing in debt. For example, in the city of Oberhausen, for the month of May 2012, all swimming pools, theaters and public libraries were closed for lack of money, and the dismissal of 1,000 municipal employees. This small town 200,000 is 1.8 billion euros in debt!(FCFA5.9M per resident!) The result is that the social services center has been forced to hire more staff, reaching 350 employees, to service the many new poor rushing to these centers looking for food. One of the most unexpected results is that most of the shops in the city centers which used to sell the biggest luxury brands are today almost all converted into thrift stores for second-hand items which in the past, good and generous Germans offered to humanitarian organization for the poor in Africa and South America. To understand the gravity of the situation that the propaganda mill has presented as the most economically virtuous country in Europe, you should know that Oberhausen is at the heart of the Ruhr, the heavily industrial region in western Germany. It was the birthplace of the German industrial and economic miracle after World War II. In this region only 8 of 396 towns has a balanced budget. All other 388 are super-indebted and running deficits. In this regional state of North Rhine-Westphalia which includes the Ruhr, the indebtedness of the Länder is 190 billion euros, more debt than half the countries in Africa combined, that is to say the debt held by at least 25 countries altogether.


Did Mandela play dead to avoid meeting Obama? His friends would not answer this question. But when one assembles several facts, we do not even need to ask this disturbing question.

When on June 30, 2013, President Obama visited Mandela’s former prison cell on Robben Island off the Cape in South Africa, he said: “Nelson Mandela is the father I wanted to be.” We must ask ourselves one simple and obvious question: Is Obama the son that Mandela would have wanted? To answer this question, I’d like to recall the most significant act by Nelson Mandela as president of South Africa before he left office, recalling his own words uttered just a few hundred meters from where Obama would stand in the city of Cape Town. On the day he left office, he wanted to enshrine on the marble of South African history something dear to his heart. It was indeed a two-for-one gesture: he wanted to formalize his personal friendship with the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi who was the guest of honor at his farewell ceremony and seal the friendship between the Libyan and South African peoples. It is June 13th, 1999 in Cape Town. This is the last day of Nelson Mandela’s presidency. He held a grand celebration to bid farewell to the people of South Africa and to communicate his public will as a statesman. This will to future generations of Africans in general is the pact of friendship between South Africa and Libya,  at two opposite ends of the African federation. Kwame Nkrumah wanted to unite Africa from Cape to Cairo. Nelson Mandela sought to unite Africa from Cape to  Sirtes. He wanted to thank the one person whom he called his friend and brother, the Libyan leader Gaddafi. The high-point of this touching ceremony was the Mandela’s speech and his moving words:

« It was pure expediency to call on democratic South Africa to turn its back on Libya and Qaddafi, who had assisted us in obtaining democracy at a time when those who now made that call were the friends of the enemies of democracy in South Africa. Had we heeded those demands, we would have betrayed the very values and attitudes that allowed us as a nation to have adversaries sitting down and negotiating in a spirit of compromise».

The lesson from Mandela is very clear. Heeding calls by the American President Bill Clinton who urged him to turn his back on Libya would have also meant turning his back on White South Africans, since, in the spirit of this worldview, one MUST turn away from all those with whom one has disagreements, instead of always sitting around the table to hash-out a compromise.

The full speech (posted below) was sent by Mandela to Jacob Zuma on February 21st, 2011 with a title as clear as spring water: “We cannot turn our backs on Gaddafi. “This was all in vain, since on March 17th, 2011, Jacob Zuma went against all expectations and to yielded to pressure from Barack Hussein Obama and delivered the decisive South African vote which allowed predators to hunt and kill the very architect of South African democracy, Muammar Gaddafi.

President Obama is above all an American. He is the product of American culture. And like any American, he combines two detestable traits: complete ignorance of the world and an arrogance to save it. Has Mr. Obama ever asked himself how much pain Mandela would suffer to see his friend and brother Gaddafi killed by another son of Africa and his body dragged like a common villain through the muddy streets of Sirtes? This symbolic city which Mandela wanted to join to the Cape. Did the U.S. Secret Service not tell him that Nelson Mandela’s  grand-son is named after the son which Mandela would have wanted as his own? This little-known son is named Gaddafi and not Obama. That says it all. When the U.S. President asks to meet Nelson Mandela, is he aware of the lamentable conditions in Libya, in which the former South African president, upon leaving power, had placed all his hopes of a mutual prosperity between both its peoples? Instead of asking these questions, he chose to send letters to two of Zuma’s ministers, a bill which the Mandela handwork had won from Libya. In this regard, Obama undercuts the hard-won gains of Mandela’s legacy.

In South Africa, the more Whites have embraced Mandela’s legacy , the more Blacks have moved into a suspicion which has been fuelled by the leftist South African PAC (Pan African Congress) who always saw Mandela as a traitor, particularly after his refusal to rename the country to its true African name: AZANIA especially because he had not completed the nationalization of big businesses owned by Whites in the country and therefore had not undertaken the redistribution of wealth, leaving society with the gaping injustices as they were during apartheid. Black South Africans feel that someone has stolen their victory over apartheid.

Distrust against Mandela by some Black South Africans stems from the fact that they do not have answers to this question: How could anyone spend 27 years in prison fighting against racial injustice and the day one attains power, continue with the same unjust policies as if nothing had happened? And as more Whites celebrate Mandela, the more they become suspicious of him. Almost everyone in this country has in their heart the words of the former husband of Mandela’s current partner (Grace Machel).

Samora Machel told his friends of the underground during the time of the long and bloody war for the independence of Mozambique, one of long-drawn battles in Africa which lasted until  1975 and was followed by a civil war financed by Portugal: “The day you hear Whites speak well of me that day, do not share your secrets with me, because it means that I have betrayed you.”

Douala, 19 July 2013

Jean-Paul Pougala

Jean-Paul Pougala teaches African Geostrategy at Institut Superieur de Management (ISMA) in Douala (Cameroon)
English translation by Eyembe Elango in Atlanta (USA)  22 July 2013

Nelson Mandela: We Won’t Turn Our Back on Brother Gaddafi


Speech by the then president on SA’s friendship with the Libyan Leader, June 13 1999


Your Excellencies

Distinguished Guests

And My Dear Brother Leader

Those who dedicate themselves to causes affecting the lives of millions ought to have a clear understanding of history. They should plan their actions with a sense of their impact on those for whom they believe they act.

I know, My Brother Leader, that you and I, who have both been privileged and obliged by circumstance to be in such positions, have each in our own way tried to be true to that responsibility. Even so, we could not have planned things in such a way that you would be the last head of state I would officially receive on a bilateral basis before retiring from public office.

I am happy that it did, by chance, transpire this way.

The relationship between our two selves and between Libya and democratic South Africa has not been without controversy and therefore some special significance in world affairs.

As a responsible member of the international community of nations, South Africa would never defy predominant international opinion deliberately and merely for effect. This is a particular responsibility in a world that is fraught with possibilities of misunderstanding and consequent conflict and conflagration.

We remain convinced that respect for our multilateral bodies and compliance with their decisions, is crucial to stability, development and progress in a world still marked by tension, inequality and backwardness. This is so even where we may disagree as individual nations with those decisions.

In a world where the strong may seek to impose upon the more vulnerable; and where particular nations or groups of nations may still seek to decide the fate of the planet – in such a world respect for multilateralism, moderation of public discourse and a patient search for compromise become even more imperative to save the world from debilitating conflict and enduring inequality.

When we dismissed criticism of our friendship with yourself, My Brother Leader, and of the relationship between South Africa and Libya, it was precisely in defence of those values.

There must be a kernel of morality also to international behaviour. Of course, nations must place their own interests high on the list of considerations informing their international relations. But the amorality which decrees that might is right can not be the basis on which the world conducts itself in the next century.

It was pure expediency to call on democratic South Africa to turn its back on Libya and Qaddafi, who had assisted us in obtaining democracy at a time when those who now made that call were the friends of the enemies of democracy in South Africa.

Had we heeded those demands, we would have betrayed the very values and attitudes that allowed us as a nation to have adversaries sitting down and negotiating in a spirit of compromise. It would have meant denying that the South African experience could be a model and example for international behaviour.

In many ways, our modest contribution to resolving the Lockerbie issue will remain a highlight of the international aspects of our Presidency. No one can deny that the friendship and trust between South Africa and Libya played a significant part in arriving at this solution. If that be so, it vindicates our view that talking to one another and searching for peaceful solutions remain the surest way to resolve differences and advance peace and progress in the world.

We look forward with joy and anticipation to the full re-entry of Libya into the affairs of our continent and the world.

We have already seen Libya take up its role as an important actor on the African continent to help advance the peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

South Africa is proud to acknowledge the coincidence between its own position and SADC’s, on the one hand, and that of Libya on the other. We share the view that peace in the DRC can only be achieved through the withdrawal of all foreign forces and an inclusive political process of Congolese groups.

We appreciate very much Libya’s indication that its own efforts will be co-ordinated with those of our regional organisation, SADC. This approach confounds those who suggest that Libya is less than fully committed to multilateralism. My Brother Leader is involved in the Congolese process as a facilitator of the SADC process, just as we were involved in the Lockerbie issue as facilitators for the United Nations. In such ways we advance the ideals of multilateral co-operation and discipline. And for that we thank our Brother Leader and the Libyan people.

It was with much appreciation that I received reports from my Minister of Trade and Industry about our recent trade delegation to Libya. The friendly political relations between our two countries are now being consolidated and deepened through trade. We look forward to South African companies and Libyan entities bridging our continent from North to South in concrete expressions of African unity.

My Brother Leader, I know that in the abstemious conditions of the North African desert it is not the custom to propose a toast. We are, however, overwhelmed by at last having here on this southern tip of Africa one of the revolutionary icons of our times.

I shall therefore take the liberty to invite our guests to rise and raise their glasses with me in salute to Muamar Qaddafi, our Brother Leader of the Revolution of the Libyan Jamahariya, and to growing friendship between the people of our two countries.


Issued by the Office of the President, June 13 1999

This is the Video of that meeting :