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Communism and the Tutelage of African Agency: Revisiting Mandela’s Communist Ties


African liberation movements and Communist parties often collaborated in their efforts to remove the yoke of colonialism and imperialism from the African continent. This cooperation is not evidence of Communist parties dictating the affairs and decisions of these liberation movements. This inference may be applied to the African National Congress (ANC), Nelson Mandela, and the South African Communist Party (SACP). While the ANC and Mandela worked with Communists and the SACP, Mandela himself was not a Communist, nor did the SACP manipulate or dictate his actions. Mandela worked with Communists, and Communists joined the  ANC, where they assumed high positions within that party. Both the ANC and SACP came to realize that their goals of removing colonialism and imperialism were identical and that they thus needed to work together. This essay looks at the relationship and symbioses between Mandela and the SACP, as well as popular media’s perceptions of this relationship.

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