It became an article of faith during the FeesMustFall protests and the radical economic transformation campaign that the 1994 "miracle" of racial reconciliation was a selling out of black people to the forces of reaction and economic re-exploitation. Conspiracy theorists recasting Mandela as the villain of the piece would find evidence in an anecdote at the beginning of apartheid spy boss Niel Barnard’s latest memoir, Peaceful Revolution. Mandela, Barnard claimed, walked up to him at the start of the Codesa talks in 1991 and shook his hand, saying: "Doctor, the two of us should never forget we made this historical meeting possible." Of course, Barnard could simply be blowing his own horn, or Mandela could have said that to everybody he shook hands with. Barnard’s ego is certainly on display in the book, and one cannot be sure he is telling all and telling it right, not when he brazenly suggests the National Intelligence Service had 40 tonnes of documents destroyed in army furnaces m...

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