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Mandela

tn_mandelaWell, I didn’t want to trivialize the passing of Nelson Mandela by having my dumbass post about it on my websight where I write about Van Damme movies and shit. And right in the middle of a GREEN STREET HOOLIGANS DTV sequel series. Doesn’t seem respectful. But then I started to feel like kind of an asshole for not acknowledging it at all. As much as we all liked Paul Walker, in my opinion Mandela is a more important historical figure. Not to be controversial.

I’m no expert on the topic, I’m sure I know more about the legend of Mandela than the specific historical facts. But living in the world at the same time as him was inspiring and amazing. Going through life for so many years taking for granted the story of the revolutionary jailed for opposing an unjust regime, just knowing him as a cause more than a person, then seeing him not only freed, and the wicked system he fought against ended, but seeing him become their democratically elected leader? Incredible. And then he lived to 95 and died naturally. Not bad.

It’s weird to me to think of younger people, even adults now, who don’t really remember Apartheid existing, maybe even don’t know exactly what it was. Do they teach about it in schools? I hope they learn about it but also it’s nice that it’s fading off into the past. I’m sure its legacy lives on in a million ways that still need to be dealt with, but we keep progressing, we keep trying to learn and make things better, and in general that’s the direction the world is always moving, even though it doesn’t always seem that way. So oppressors, you’re on notice. Some day your number’s gotta come up. Fuckers.

I made fun of the infamous Nikki Finke for her tastelessly tunnel vision tweet on Mandela’s passing. She made it sound like the only thing about him that mattered to her, or the only way she knew how to explain his importance, was through some bullshit about Oscar race gossip. Hilarious. I hope I’m not guilty of the same crime when I say that since this is outlawvern.com and I’m not knowledgeable enough to write a worthy tribute to the man I thought I would open up the conversation to the few areas where Mandela and the problem of Apartheid overlap with the type of movies we like to discuss here.

Spoiler for upcoming reviews, but it was weird that I had been watching LETHAL WEAPON 2 when I found out the news. In that one the bad guys are racist white South Africans, and it had me wondering why that didn’t ever become a thing in ’80s movies. We were so worried about communists we never thought to make them go-to bad guys. More on this topic in the near future.

Finke used Mandela’s death to plug that new movie where Idris Elba plays a young revolutionary Mandela. Of course I’m fond of INVICTUS, Clint’s movie with Morgan Freeman playing old leader Mandela. It’s not Clint’s masterpiece or nothin but it’s a real enjoyable movie, a solid crowdpleasing sports movie that also says some things about Mandela and leadership in general. I know Clint didn’t give a shit that it got ignored by the Oscars and everything but I honestly think it didn’t get the respect it deserved. Also I continue to be befuddled by the mystery of the guy in the comments who claimed it was a whitewash and that Mandela had the opposing team poisoned. As far as I could tell it was a conspiracy theory for fans of the other rugby team in the story, but I don’t know.

Actually the first thing that comes to mind when I think about movies and Mandela is his appearance at the end of MALCOLM X. I guess if we had the internet at the time everybody would’ve known all about it, but when I first saw him in the movie I remember thinking “holy shit, how did they…!?

Another amazing Mandela pop culture moment was the intro he recorded for Talib Kweli’s first Reflection Eternal album.

(okay, actually it’s Dave Chappelle. That would be pretty amazing if he really got Mandela on his album though. Which is why that intro still makes me laugh.)

Of course, the best badass movie I know that has to do with the Apartheid era is the still underrated STANDER. Loosely based on a true story, Tom Jane plays a white cop (I gotta specify that so you know it’s not Tom Jane in blackface, that would be weird) who starts robbing banks and justifying it to himself as a protest against the system. The movie doesn’t portray him as a genuine revolutionary, but it has him struggling with guilt over his part in the system and haunted by horrible, legal acts he committed as a police officer. It’s a really badass movie, sometimes fun, sometimes deeply sad, and Jane is great in it.

Maybe you guys know of some other good ones I don’t know about. Anyway, R.I.P. to one of the most important figures of my lifetime.

This entry was posted on Friday, December 6th, 2013 at 3:35 pm and is filed under Blog Post (short for weblog). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

16 Responses to “Mandela”

  1. Mandela always seemed more like a symbol to me than a man, but a symbol for some pretty amazing things all the same.

    I’ve had this song stuck in my head ever since I heard the news. (Well, technically, I’ve had this song stuck in my head since 1991, but it’s had the volume turned up in the past couple days.)

    http://youtu.be/Mk2aguVH71g

    One thing in there that supports Vern’s statement that things are getting a little better all the time is that Ice is so sure that Mandela will never get a Nobel prize, but then he did.

    They also did not silence the Ice by putting a bullet in him (yet) so there’s plenty to be thankful for this holiday season.

  2. One of the more offbeat Mandela related projects was a little documentary mini-series on British TV earlier this year where Eddie Izzard decided to pay tribute to Mandela’s 27 years in prison by running 27 marathons in South Africa (he’s done similar stuff before for charity in the UK), and he visited major places from Mandela’s life while recounting his life story. He could only do 4 marathons though, as he suffered some medical problem during the thing and had to call it off, but still finished off the show as a documentary. It was pretty entertaining and informative.

  3. I remembered I commented on that Invictus thread so thought that reference might have been about me, but then I saw an angry kiwi blaming an illness for their loss, the same way they did about England beating them last year.

    The most pleasing thing about Invictus, now that I’ve seen it, is how close it is to the truth. Mandela did front up to the ANC about using ‘Springbok’ over ‘Proteas’, he did learn all the names of the players (which had a phenomenal impact on the afrikaans in the squad), he did greet them all wearing a springbok cap. If you see Pienaar interviewed, he fucking loves Madiba. You can watch a documentary about the ’95 World Cup, then watch a fictional account of Mandela, and the two stories are pretty much the same. Easily the most benevolent politician of this generation, an awe-inspiring human being.

  4. “Spoiler for upcoming reviews, but it was weird that I had been watching LETHAL WEAPON 2 when I found out the news. In that one the bad guys are racist white South Africans, and it had me wondering why that didn’t ever become a thing in ’80s movies. We were so worried about communists we never thought to make them go-to bad guys. More on this topic in the near future.”

    Vern – I might repeat this in your LW2 review, but I think the problem was that Hollywood right wing were too much in bed with the Apartheid regime and well the left wing didn’t have the smarts to follow the BILLY JACK route (or more contemporary of that time the Steven Seagal route) of using the right wing action plots against left wing targets. Richard Donner was a liberal, so is Danny Glover. I’m sure they were motivated politically to protest against that government (with help from a terrific 1980s-era actioneer.) The irony for me was that didn’t Eric Clapton work on the soundtrack? He of course he had his own trouble back in the day when it came to his thoughts on race in his native UK…

    Not to mention South Africa was still a foreign territory for Hollywood, don’t want to piss in that bed! (Its why Soviets were always popular bad guys: Eastern Europe and USSR had little to no access to Hollywood productions, so you’re not losing any money in having the evil Commies or whatever.)

    Besides after LW2 brilliantly showed that the South Africans could be excellent pseudo-Nazis, well look at when LW 2 came out: 1989. Hollywood ran out of time before they could capitalize on that. Simple really.

  5. Nabroleon Dynamite

    December 6th, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    I remember when Mandela came to America for the first time after his release and reporters were bombing on him for bus support of Gaddafi & Castro.

    He stood strong with those that stood with him.

    This was the pre-throwamuthafuckaunderthebus days!!

    Rest Eternal, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

  6. Nabroleon Dynamite

    December 6th, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    His support, not bus support. The Boers hacked my spellcheck!!

  7. ^I hate to do this, but perhaps Nairobian Dynamite would’ve worked better?

  8. The artist that did most for awareness about Mandela and South Africa were of course Little Steven. The Ain’t Gonna Play Sun City concert/record/video opened up a lot of eyes in the 80’s. The boycott of South Africa would of course have worked much better if Reagan and Thatcher hadn’t been around. And prime minister Cameron and his Young tories making “Hang Mandela” t-shirts didn’t excactly help either. We leftists punks did our bit by thrashing Shell gas stations, but got more beating from the police than support from regular folks. The fronts were very clear back then, much like in LETHAL WEAPON 2. The bad guys held concerts in Sun City and made movies in the South African wilderness, and we the good guys tried every trick in the book to make life hell for them.

  9. This week hasn´t been all that great.

  10. I just want to say that it would be inappropriate to portray white South Africans as pseudo-nazis. Not only because it goes completely against everything that Madiba stood for, but also because comparing nazis to “boers” (that word means farmer, by the way) is like comparing shotguns to water pistols.

    The Afrikaners have had their own struggles for centuries. They were viciously oppressed by the British during and after the Boer War (which also involved concentration camps for the farmers’ wives and children). They had to fight for their freedom much like black South Africans had to fight for theirs. It’s just sad that, when they did finally become free, they decided to keep some of those British slaver traditions and not share their freedom with everyone in this country. We can only be thankful that a great man came along and lead us into one of the most peaceful revolutions the world has ever seen.

    Ugh, it’s depressing to see what a vicious circle history runs in. The South Africa of today is corrupt as hell, has some of the highest rape and murder rates in the world, and seems to be well on its way to becoming the new Zimbabwe.

    All we can do is hope that some of Madiba’s character and legacy stays with us. I’m hoping a new moral champion will appear in South Africa. We need one.

  11. Knox, do you think that Mandela was too liberal? He let a lot of Resources stay on private hands, and thus convincing white South Africans to stay, and seems to hurt the economy now. Was he right in doing so? Or should he have chosen something inbetween that and Mugabe’s way?

  12. Madiba we miss you

  13. Knox Harrington – are you an Afrikaner?

  14. @Knox: Was Helen Zilla allowed to make any comment or have the Malema brigade twisting her words too big a risk?

    It’s not just an issue of wealth staying with the whites (Afrikaaners are not the only white South Africans), the ANC has spent a great deal of energy on lining the pockets of its own membership and supporters.

    Affirmative action programmes have consisted of parachuting unqualified unprepared party apparatchiks into jobs and kids without proper basic education into university.
    South Africa is tribal not racial the whites are another tribe is all, and many are in the great and powerful ANC tribe which is what was once Mandela’s party has become.

    The ANC work hard to keep tribal and racial animosity on the front page because it gives them a lock on the popular vote at a time when the poor have little legitimate reason to support them.

  15. Griff, I’m coloured (and no, that word is not a derogatory term here like it is in the US. I guess over there you would call it “mixed race”). We speak both English and Afrikaans.

    Pegsman, I think he did the right thing. South Africa would have been thrown into the deep end if all the white people left. They had all the education and training and experience in running a country, and they actually ran the country extremely well (except for the whole Apartheid thing, of course). Madiba realised that the one side needed to teach the other.

    Uncle Imshi, you’re right. The ANC are going out of their way to ensure the masses stay uneducated and keep voting for them. They’re exploiting the paranoia and fear of the poor. Even today, there is a huge percentage of people who believe that Apartheid could come back if a white person like Helen Zille were to become president. It’s absurd to even think such a thing, but propaganda is a powerful weapon. Yeah, the ANC of today is very much the opposite of what Madiba intended.

  16. @Knox: Yeah, never mind Zilla’s lifetime of being actively Anti-Apartheid and having the temerity to speak fluent Xhosa like she was a proper african or something! It particularly offends SA’s own Glenn Beck, Julius Malema.

    My best mate is “English” from Jo’burg btw, hence in part, the interest.

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