IFP stal­wart was no hero

Sunday World - - Opinion -

IT is sur­pris­ing how many peo­ple, es­pe­cially those in par­lia­ment, want to por­tray Mario Ori­ani-Am­brosini as a hero of our peo­ple. Maybe this is be­cause there are those who still hold the view that one ought not to speak ill of the dead.

Well, in this case I beg to dif­fer as this will mean that we have blank pages in our his­tory.

Ori­ani-Am­brosini was born in Italy in 1960. By 1991 he was not just any IFP mem­ber, but a close friend of Man­go­suthu Buthelezi.

This put him in a po­si­tion where de­ci­sions of the party were taken with his knowl­edge and par­tic­i­pa­tion.

The IFP was re­spon­si­ble for many deaths on the East Rand, in Joburg and in many parts on KwaZulu-Natal with the help of the apartheid regime in black-on­black vi­o­lence. This mostly took place dur­ing the pe­riod of un­ban­ning, Codesa and the run- up to the first demo­cratic elec­tions. The IFP, which Ori­an­iAm­brosini was part of, re­fused to par­tic­i­pate in the ne­go­ti­a­tions and had to be in­cluded on the bal­lot at the eleventh hour. I don’t re­call any state­ment from him and his lead­ers con­demn­ing this.

The big­gest prob­lem with us South Africans is that we are too quick to for­give and for­get, which is not a bad thing, but it is a prob­lem when we think that our his­tory be­gan af­ter the demo­cratic dis­pen­sa­tion.

We tend to as­sume that the events of be­fore 1994 must be erased from our his­tory books. But the demo­cratic break­through did not come with blank pages.

I have a prob­lem with peo­ple try­ing to por­tray him as a hero just be­cause he was push­ing for the in­tro­duc­tion of new meth­ods to fight can­cer in the form of us­ing mar­i­juana for medic­i­nal pur­poses. There is noth­ing heroic there as he stood to ben­e­fit from his own pro­pos­als. Why didn’t he push for this be­fore he knew he had can­cer? It is fal­la­cious to use the word “hero” in the same sen­tence as “Mario Ori­ani-Am­brosini”. The truth must be told as it is. Tom Mh­langa Braam­fontein

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