Yes, some Africans do remember Margaret Thatcher fondly

Today is Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, to which guests have been asked to “wear full day ceremonial dress without swords.” Remember when we blogged about Margaret Thatcher’s terrible legacy? Read it again here and here. We were emphatic that “Africans don’t remember Margaret Thatcher fondly.” Well, we were wrong. Some Africans do like Margaret Thatcher. Here’s a gallery of 10 of them, some of whose words have been repeated across Western media:

* Ibrahim Babangida, the former “military president” of Nigeria for much of the 1980s, who in a radio interview  talked about taking advice from Thatcher (she visited the dictator in 1988, above) to have a policy of “constructive engagement” with South Africa. On her advice he then invited the white South African ruler FW de Klerk to Nigeria. I can’t only imagine what they discussed.

* Talk of FW de Klerk. He was one of the first people to RSVP for Mrs Thatcher’s funeral. He called her “a friend.” He can’t stop himself. If you can remember, as late as 2012 de Klerk still publicly expressed his opinion (on CNN) that Apartheid was a good idea. He later came up with a half apology.

* Then there’s Dambisa Moyo, Zambian former banker, who gave us the badly researched book “Dead Aid” and who frequently argues that what Africa needs right now is more free market capitalism. She tweeted that Thatcher was a “leader and pioneer.” We’re not sure for what.

* Goodluck Jonathan–who has a record himself of disregarding the wishes of his subjects–said Thatcher was “one of the greatest world leaders of our time.” He also thanked her on behalf of all Nigerians and those “whose lives were positively touched by her dynamic and forward-looking policies.”

* Daniel arap Moi, former Life President of Kenya and now also a noted feminist: Mrs Thatcher “was a great role model for women who want to join politics.” He continued: “As the first British female Prime Minister and political party leader, Mrs Thatcher has inspired many women worldwide to venture into political leadership.” Oh yeah? Go tell that to Glenda Jackson.

* Uhuru Kenyatta, the new President of Kenya (and a man of peace) wanted to best Moi. Who once said the electoral choices in Kenya are between different rightwing variants? “Lady Thatcher was a decisive and firm leader who will be remembered across the world for the role she played in pushing for free market economic ideology. To everyone who knew Lady Thatcher and had the opportunity to work and interact with her, the former Prime Minister was well respected as an iron lady of outstanding ability.” Sounds like he just watched the Meryl Streep movie (him and everybody who reads Linda Ikeji’s blog).

* A lot of other South African politicians made the cut. Apart from de Klerk there’s Mangosuthu Buthelezi, leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party, which fought a proxy war on behalf of the Apartheid dictatorship (disguised as “black on black” and “Zulu tribal war”) against opponents of Apartheid during the 1980s and early 1990s. Buthelezi will be in London today. Before he left, he mumbled on about two of them being “kindred spirits” and being committed to “a non-communist outcome to the South African liberation.”

* The very populist leader of South Africa’s Democratic Alliance, Helen Zille (a self-styled ‘Iron Lady”) said: “[Mrs  Thatcher] did not allow populist politics to define her position on anything.”

* Commenters on South African news websites deserve their own special mention. See how the privileged readers of Business Day reacted to a piece by ANC intellectual Pallo Jordan on Thatcher’s legacy (just scroll down, but first read the piece).

* Finally, there was Idi Amin.


10 thoughts on “Yes, some Africans do remember Margaret Thatcher fondly

  1. VERY poorly written piece.
    The man with Thatcher in 1984 was PW Botha.
    Thatcher supported change and transition, never apartheid
    Babangida and de Klerck discussed the end of apartheid, among other things.
    Noone has questioned that she was a strong leader, and she was certainly a pioneer in several aspects – regardless if you agreed with her.
    She was never a populist – sometimes it appeared that she didn’t even have ears.

  2. Thatcha mixed up everyting, wich was closely fixed with almost bad pasts of people, countries and even politics – also Germany regarding the german reunion of de west andde east. A new 4rth reich a come – unholy shit, but she was very able being a populist – so she
    done. She never recommend apartheid, but she was a very f..cked ´laisse faire´ as long the
    (today´s downgraded) U.K. could take power from the activities.
    What a LUCK !
    An albino called Frank

  3. …and now after comments have been made, you edit your text to correct factual errors without detailing the correction(s)?
    Suffice to say that under her years communism came to an end, and that facilitated the transition in S.A. You don’t have to love her (I don’t), but stick to the facts

  4. One of the more outlandish bits of revisionism going on in the wake of Thatcher’s death has been the refrain that she was a freedom fighter the world over. The Economist have christened her thus and her High Commissioner ( or is it Ambassador) to RSA in the 80’s Robin Fenwick argues in today’s Daily Telegraph that she was always a doughty, albeit sensible fighter against apartheid implying she did her spade work from within the corridors of power to bring freedom to southern Africa. Few of us, however, remember it this way, indeed we remember Thatcher giving succour and protection to the South African regime in those difficult years. Of course she began to move with the changes when they became all but inevitable in the late 80s, when she and her Western allies had seen the writing on the wall in Mozambique, Angola and then Zimbabwe. And much of her effort was to ensure a Mugabe, Machel or Neto did not come to power in RSA.

  5. Priffe, you hit the nail on the head.
    Firstly Sean has written a terrible article and exposes himself for what he is, a pseudo liberal as that is the fashion.
    Secondly, Thatcher is not one of my favourite politicians but she did accomplish important things.
    As for EBELE, well shame, he/she actually thinks that Mugabe, Machel and Neto accomplished something, not to sure what. If it’s true that Thatcher wanted to ensure that South Africa was not ruled by a dictator then she is fast becoming my favourite politician. Look what we have now, Zuma, but I suppose ebele is happy with that idiot.

  6. These Afrikan centred threads are enlightening but as a an Afrikan, culturalized in the U.K and being born in the late 60s and growing up through a Thatcher period, I can only say..she was not a friend of the Afrikan, dark-skinned human. Her policies in the U.K of ‘sus’ laws caused the deaths of 100s of Afrikans in custody and on the streets of the U.K. Racist thugs were given the ok to run riot and abuse people who were deemed inferior by the politics and media of the day. Of course i could not put all of the U’K’s staunch racism at the feet of this woman but her policies in no way brought about the cultural cohesion many had fight for in the Brixton riots and the riots which burned through the U.K in the 80s.
    When she called Mandela a terrorist and the world could see Africans being torn down by heinous acts of barbarism by racist thugs who felt they had a God-given right to suppress the Afrikan and embraced Reganomics when Africans of the U.S where living in shacks, I knew early on she was not a PM who had the natural nurturing attributes of a woman and the clear thinking, all inclusive, progressiveness of a leader..
    My taxes will go towards her 14-20 million pound funeral. Her son who’s attempted coup for oli reserves in Equatorial Guinea was not at her bediside when she died,neither was her daughter who went on the BBC calling tennis player Tsonga a golliwog. Her legacy is a country with no manufacturing and wages now lower than they have ever been due to breaking up of union representation. Let those Afrikans who may have benefitted, applaud her life and mourn her death, these ‘neo’s’ have always been amongst us and will continue divide truth when truth is clear..The woman was iron and you cannot love or embrace iron.

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