Saturday, December 7, 2013

Why and How Nelson Mandela's Image Was Cleaned Up

PJ Media reports:
[W]hen the Left adopted the destruction of apartheid as its new fashionable cause in the late 1980s[...]Tony Hollingsworth, knew he needed to “personalize” the cause, and give that particular person a big makeover [from ruthless terrorist], pronto.Hollingsworth now admits that the all-star extravaganza [he organized, the“Free Nelson Mandela” concert]
  “had everything to do with ridding Mandela of his terrorist tag and ensuring his release. (…) Mandela and the movement should be seen as something positive, confident, something you would like to be in your living room with.”

Mandela danced out of prison less than two years after the concert.
The  Johannesburg Daily Star writes:
 Mandela’s image has been transformed so thoroughly is a testament to the man’s achievements, but also, in part, to a concert that took place in London 25 years ago this week.

For organiser Tony Hollingsworth the June 11, 1988 gig at London’s Wembley Stadium had very little to do with Mandela’s 70th birthday, as billed.

It had everything to do with ridding Mandela of his terrorist tag and ensuring his release.

Hollingsworth convinced Simple Minds, Dire Straits, Sting, George Michael, The Eurythmics, Eric Clapton, Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder into the 83-artist line up to perform.

With that musical firepower came contracts for a more than 11 hour broadcast.

The gig at Wembley attracted broadcasters in nearly 70 countries and was watched by more than half a billion people around the world, still one of the largest audiences ever for an entertainment event.
Nelson Mandela was released from jail 19 months later, after 27 years in prison. A second concert was later held to celebrate.

“Before the first event, the prospect of Nelson Mandela’s imminent release from prison seemed completely unrealistic,” Terry would later say.

“Yet within 20 months he walked free and I have no doubt that the first event played a decisive role in making this happen,” Hollingsworth said.

Then,of course, there is the view of the rock concert lovers, WaPo reports:


  1. Everyone outside the John Birch Society supported the destruction of apartheid. It was not merely a fashion trend on the left.

    1. You missed the point, Jerry.

  2. And here's the 9.58 interview with the very effective propagandist Tony Hollingsworth about how it all happened:

    It's genuinely fascinating, a real insight into how some things happen. I remember the Wembley concert, but it might never have happened and Mandela might have remained 'the terrorist leader Nelson Mandela'.