By Tessa Trafford & Jessica Edgson
Former President Nelson Mandela recently stepped out of political retirement and, for the first time, appeared at an ANC campaign event before the election, set for 22 April. The political conference, held in the Eastern Cape region witnessed Mandela campaign beside the highly controversial and enigmatic Jacob Zuma. The former president was quoted saying, “Despite the rain, you have all come here in numbers to show your commitment to the ANC. Long live the ANC!”
As one of the founders of our democracy and an internationally recognized peace icon, Mandela’s stance leaves factions wondering whether his support of the ANC will have any impact on voter sentiment, especially for those who left the ANC for the new party, the Congress of the People (Cope).
Although there is some uncertainty whether Mandela’s approval of the ANC will affect the voting pool, Activate asks Rhodes students what their opinions regarding the matter are.
Masters in Politics
The ANC is obviously a party that former president Nelson Mandela has dedicated all his life to in every extent. I therefore believe it is understandable for Mandela to come out of retirement and show support for the ANC – a party that remains of great importance to him to this day and age. His primary goal for the ANC was to achieve set objectives: to fight and struggle for human rights, for people of colour and for all those who were oppressed. I think Mr Mandela has shown support for the ANC because of the issues that are at stake today. By having Mandela on board, publicly displaying some support towards the ANC and beside Zuma, the party wants to show the people that even in 2009 the ANC is still very relevant and that the struggle still continues for unity and equality. Mandela is showing his support for the policies and the issues that the ANC stands for, not necessarily the personalities within the party nor what these politicians get up to in their personal capacities. The ANC seeks to indicate to its supporters that they still stand for what Mandela fought for pre-1994. For me, it’s the only party that can really alter the lives of South Africans. Through their policies, it says that they seek to cater for the majority of South Africans. To conclude, I believe that Mandela has shown his support because he still believes that the ANC can carry on making lives better.
1st year BA
I doubt Mandela’s decision to support the ANC will not affect the voting patterns, because he’s 90 and other people tell him what to say.
Fine Art Honours
I don’t think it should, but he’s trustworthy and people may change their votes because they feel since he is supporting the ANC then it’s a party worth voting for.
I don’t think his support will change people’s votes – or at least it shouldn’t. The ANC has the support of a lot of good people, not just Mandela, but these are not the people who would be in power!
1st year BJourn
I don’t think that one person can make a difference anymore, even if it is former president Nelson Mandela. That is irrespective. I just think that it’s time for someone else to have a turn to run the country.