Mandela Day and the Making of a New Religion


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United Nations Resolution

In November 2009 the United Nations General Assembly declared 18 July, "Nelson Mandela International Day"! This they said was "in recognition of the former South African president's contribution to the culture of peace and freedom." The General Assembly Resolution: "recognises Nelson Mandela's values and his dedication to the service of humanity, in the fields of conflict resolution, race relations, the promotion and protection of human rights, reconciliation, gender equality, and the rights of children and other vulnerable groups, as well as the upliftment of poor and undeveloped communities. It acknowledges his contribution to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world."

Personality Cults

With songs of praise and hymns glorifying Nelson Mandela being sung by choirs and taught to school children, we seem to be seeing the beginning of a new religion. The ancient pharaohs were worshipped as gods. The chairmen of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union, were elevated to cult status, particularly in the case of Vladimir Lenin, whose tomb continues to be a site of pilgrimage. When Joseph Stalin was dictator of the Soviet Union, the cult of the chairman reached new heights, or rather depths.

Emperor Worship

In Romania, Communist Party General Secretary, Nikolai Ceausescu, became the focal point of emperor worship, such as the world had not seen since the days of the caesars. Over 8,000 hymns of praise were composed, honouring the communist dictator, Ceausescu. Literally millions of his pictures adorned homes, offices, schools and government buildings.

Celebrity Cults

Hollywood certainly has produced many celebrity cults. However, the extravagant praise and idolising of Nelson Mandela as a hero/martyr and ideal example, has exceeded all bounds. The mythology and idolatry surrounding the Mandela cult is startling.


Choirs have sung songs and hymns in praise of Nelson Mandela. Concerts and events have been organised in his honour. Massive posters have been erected on Civic Centres. The Department of Education has apparently replaced education – teaching children how to think, with indoctrination – teaching children what to think. In order to enable Nelson Mandela to be entered into the Guinness Book of Records, various publicity stunts have been promoted, including requiring children of all ages in the classroom to write birthday cards to Nelson Mandela and sing Happy Birthday to him on 18 July, to create new records. Now school children are being required to write Tributes and Dedications, praising Nelson Mandela and no dissent permitted. This was a directive to all schools, even independent schools, from the Ministry of Education!

Mandela's Abortion Legacy

This is deeply disturbing on many levels. For example: Are pro-life Christians expected to put their values to one side and deify the man who rammed through parliament, against all opposition, his bill legalising abortion in South Africa? Over one million babies have been killed, officially, legally, in South Africa, with tax-payers' money, since Nelson Mandela signed the Termination of Pregnancy Bill, 1 February 1997. Life begins at conception. Abortion is murder.

Pornography is Propaganda for a Rape Culture

The UN General Assembly may speak of Nelson Mandela's "promotion of the rights of children, and other vulnerable groups", but under his presidency pornography was legalised. The South African Police Services, Child Protection Unit reported that child rape increased over 400% as a result.

Supporting Dictators

The General Assembly may claim that Nelson Mandela "contributed to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world", yet he closed down South Africa's Embassy in the Republic of China on the island of Taiwan, and opened up South Africa's Embassy in Communist China, a one party dictatorship with a brutal human rights record. Nelson Mandela welcomed to South Africa the longest reigning dictator in the world, Fidel Castro, and gave him the highest award this country can offer. Mandela also assembled both Houses of Parliament for Fidel Castro to address. A rare privilege. As president, Nelson Mandela uncritically supported some of the worst dictatorships on the planet such as Castro's Cuba, Mugabe's Zimbabwe, Communist China, Gaddafi's Libya, Saddam Hussein's Iraq, and numerous other states notorious for their human rights abuses.

Pornography is the Theory - Rape is the Practise

The General Assembly Resolution may speak of Nelson Mandela's "dedication to the service of humanity… gender equality…" yet under him, pornography was legalised and prostitution effectively decriminalised, human trafficking exploded in South Africa. Incidents of rape exploded exponentially in the country as sex shops and pornography were, for the first time, allowed in South Africa.

Do Not Let Facts Get in the Way of a Good Story!

The UN Declaration describes Nelson Mandela as "a prisoner of conscience." However the fact is that even Amnesty International refused to take on Nelson Mandela's case, because they asserted that he was not a political prisoner, but had committed numerous violent crimes and had had a fair trial and a reasonable sentence.

The Unanswered Reason Why

The most radical newspapers of the day, such as The Star and Rand Daily Mail praised the leniency of the Court in giving away the lightest possible sentence for such violent crimes. In 1964, anyone in America, or Britain, or France, who committed such crimes would have been executed.

Just and Fair

Even the Rand Daily Mail, the most outspoken, liberal newspaper at the time in South Africa and, in many ways, a supporter of Mandela and the ANC, wrote about the sentences passed by the judge: "The sentences pronounced by Judge De Wet at the close of the Rivonia trial are both wise and just. The law is best served when there is firmness tinged with mercy, and this was the case yesterday. The sentences could not have been less severe than those imposed. The men found guilty had planned sabotage on a wide scale and had conspired for armed revolution. As the judge pointed out yesterday, the crime of which they were found guilty was really high treason. The death penalty would have been justified."


These are the facts of history. Sentencing Mandela to imprisonment, instead of letting him be hanged, was an act of mercy on the part of his political enemies. Mandela had, therefore, every reason to be grateful and no reason to harbour a grudge against them. He owed his life to them.

Terror Bombing Campaign

Nelson Mandela was the head of UmKhonto we Sizwe (MK), the terrorist wing of the ANC and South African Communist Party. He had pleaded guilty to 156 acts of public violence including mobilizing terrorist bombing campaigns, which planted bombs in public places. This included the Johannesburg railway station bombing. Many innocent people, including women and children, were killed by Nelson Mandela's MK terrorists. President Obama, when condemning the Boston bombings declared: "Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians it is an act of terror." Obama denounced the Boston bombings as "cruel", "savage" and "malevolent", yet he still seems to honour a man responsible for many such terror attacks! Obama praises Mandela as his "role model".

Refusal to Renounce Terrorism

South African President P.W. Botha had, on a number of occasions, offered Nelson Mandela freedom from prison, if he would only renounce terrorist violence. This Mandela refused to do.


Many people may highly respect and idolise Nelson Mandela because of the Invictus film, and the very positive image portrayed through most of the mass media. However, there are many South Africans who would disagree. Nelson Mandela remains a controversial figure.

Crime Wave

Under Nelson Mandela's presidency an average of 25,000 people were murdered each year. Yet, to celebrate his birthdays, Nelson Mandela would regularly open prison doors and set many convicted criminals, including armed robbers, murderers and rapists, free. Some of these were murdering and raping within 24 hours of being released. Well over 100,000 people were murdered under Mandela's term as president.

Economic Deterioration

In 1970s, even while facing terrorism, riots and engaged in a border war with the Cubans in Angola, the South Africa Rand was stronger than the US Dollar. However, after years of international sanctions, the South African Rand had fallen to R2 to the Dollar. In Mandela's first four years as president, the Rand lost 80% of its value and more than 2.8 million man-days were lost to strikes. The national debt also doubled under Nelson Mandela's presidency. Under Nelson Mandela, even with no war, no sanctions, no riots, no conscription, and with massive international aid and investment, the Rand plummeted to R8 to the Dollar and even to R10 to the Dollar. Even publications such as The Economist described Nelson Mandela's presidency at the time as "a failure". Economic deterioration and skyrocketing crime marred his presidency.

Idolising a Mythical Figure

However, we are meant to forget all these facts, and shelve our pro-life, pro-family, moral convictions and bow before this new idol, sing a politician's praises and effectively burn incense before the image of a new Caesar!

Refusal to Compromise our Faith

Historically, Christians have refused to bow before any idol, nor give the worship due to the Creator alone to anyone else. Daniel ended up in the Lion's Den, Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace, and countless Christians were thrown to the lions in the arena for refusing to engage in the statism of their day.

An Abuse of Education

It would appear to be an abuse of education to require students to write a positive tribute, or dedication, to any political figure, whom they and their family may have serious reservations about. Education is teaching one how to think. Indoctrination is teaching one what to think.

Freedom of Conscience

In any civilised and free society there needs to be room for dissent. Medical personnel who do not want to be part of an abortion should not be forced against their conscience to participate. A teacher who believes in traditional family values should not be required to teach what they see as immorality and perversion. Nor should any student be required to idolise, whether through an assignment, or through singing the praises of a politician.

Margaret Thatcher

Recently, Margaret Thatcher, arguable the most outstanding Prime Minister in recent British history, died. Most of the United Kingdom mourned and honoured her memory and achievements. However, it would not be reasonable to expect every child, in every school, in Great Britain to write a tribute to Margaret Thatcher, because some would belong to families who would have disagreed with her economic policies.

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan is widely recognised as the greatest president in most American's memory. However, again, one could not imagine a requirement that every school child in the United States would have to write a positive tribute to Ronald Reagan, as surely there may be some who would disagree.

Mother Theresa

Even someone as widely respected as Mother Theresa would have her detractors. One could not expect Protestants to idolise someone who prayed to statues of Mary, no matter how much good work she did amongst the poor of India.

Divisive and Offensive

Neither is it reasonable to railroad school children in South Africa into a celebrity cult of any past president of South Africa. Politics is frequently divisive. We would be wiser seeking to focus our children's attention on that which is uplifting and edifying to all.

Worship God Alone

Certainly no Christian can in good conscience, participate in idolatry. God our Creator and Eternal Judge is the only One who deserves our worship, praise and adoration.

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yolk of slavery… You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love." Galatians 5:1,13

 Dr. Peter Hammond

Frontline Fellowship
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
Tel: 021-689-4480
Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

See also:Idols for Destruction
Making Idols of Modern Men and Myths
A Modern Idol – Martin Luther King Jnr.
The Battle for the Mind in the News Media
How Propaganda Changes Perceptions and People
Guilt Manipulation vs. Real Repentance
The Paganisation of South Africa
Over One Million Reasons Why I Will Not be Voting ANC
The Cold War and the Iron Curtain
The Battle for South Africa
True and False Guilt
The Worst Hypocrites in History
Dealing with Deceit
A World War of Worldviews
Humanists are Hypocrites
Beware Lest Anyone Cheat You
Slavery - What You've Never Been Told
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Several of these articles can also be viewed as PowerPoint Presentations on Slideshare.

Sources for Documentation

Treurgrond (on farm murders) and video.
Land of Sorrow book.
Into the Cannibal's Pot: Lessons for America from Post-apartheid South Africa.
A History of Communism in South Africa - Henry Pike.
Politics by Other Means: The ANC's War on South Africa – Morgan Norval.
The Other End of the Lifeboat – Otto Scott. 

Christian Action P.O.Box 23632 Claremont 7735 Cape Town South Africa - 021-689-4481 -
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