Minto on Mandela

I blogged this quote from the Poneke blog in 2008. It is worth repeating.

was one of the heroes of my formative years. 

At the time, I thought Minto was driven by the same kind of repugnance of the racist apartheid system that motivated the opposition of many other New Zealanders. Apartheid was a stain on humanity.

In 1995, Mandela visited New Zealand for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting being held in Auckland. He was mobbed in the streets everywhere he went. He was a hero of almost everyone of my generation and of almost everyone who had marched against the Springboks 14 years before. The one anti-tour protester to whom he was not a hero was a profound surprise. I went to a meeting Mandela attended at the St Matthews in the City church in Auckland. To my astonishment, and dismay, John Minto, who was there, hectored the great man for not kicking private enterprise and transnational companies out of South Africa after apartheid ended. A bewildered Mandela asked Minto how he expected people to find work if their employers were banished. It was at that moment I realised Minto was not driven by opposition to racism but by opposition to the entire capitalist system.

Minto still expresses disappointment that the South African Government hasn’t implemented communism. Mandela eventually outgrew his communist upbringing, unlike some others.

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