Jim Peron, a libertarian who used to live in South Africa, has
thoughtful article on the late Nelson Mandela and the system
that Mandela helped bring down. Here’s an excerpt:
vision of South Africa promoted by conservatives in the West was
propaganda. Conservatives pretended the apartheid regime was some
sort of Western island of freedom in a sea of “black
This is a lie, a legacy of Cold War propaganda, where
“anti-communist” was falsely equated with being pro-freedom, and
where the West turned a blind eye to tyrannical governments, no
matter how vile they might be, provided they were “on our side.”
Among the worst was South Africa.
While South Africa was no North Korea, it wasn’t free either. Even
“free enterprise” didn’t exist there. The apartheid era economy was
one tightly controlled by the state to prevent markets from
working—because markets didn’t produce racist results desired by
the architects of apartheid.
It was a country where the government assassinated
I ran a libertarian-oriented newspaper for the LGBT community—two
reasons to be disliked by the government….One day, I had police
show up to investigate the mysterious slashing of all my car tires.
When I refused to let them into my house, one went the police car
and radioed in an “anonymous” tip that I had drugs. That was the
pretense for searching my home without a warrant. Of course, there
were no drugs, but they didn’t expect any….
I was on the streets of Hillbrow, when some young white thug
started harassing a black man. The police arrived and arrested the
victim. I went to Hillbrow station to defend the man and to attest
that the white man had attacked him, not the other way around.
While I was there police questioned another suspect they had
arrested and started beating him to force him to give them the
answers they wanted. I started yelling and the police made it clear
that I was to leave the police station immediately or I would face
This is just what I saw in apartheid’s sunset years, and I never
came close to seeing the worst of it, when the system was its
To read the rest, including Peron’s explanation of why he is
“mostly positive on Mandela, but negative on the African National
from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/06/this-is-what-apartheid-looked-like