Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Has SA betrayed Mandela's legacy?

Has SA betrayed Mandela's legacy? - Mail & Guardian Online: The smart news source

Nelson Mandela celebrates his 90th birthday on Friday as a widely revered statesman, but South Africa faces a host of problems that challenge the dream he embodies of a harmonious rainbow nation.

Mandela, imprisoned for 27 years but forgiving of his former captors, is hailed as a shining example of the power of forgiveness and reconciliation.

His smile and sense of humour have made him a treasured international icon. He is rare among African leaders in agreeing to give up power quickly, after only one term following the 1994 end-of-apartheid elections.

He transcends races and opinions in South Africa itself, acclaimed by all sides of society, including white South Africans whose rule he fought to overthrow.

Yet his birthday comes at a time of crisis in the country under the rule of his successor, Thabo Mbeki, widely attacked for failures in fighting Aids, poverty, a major power crisis, violent crime and the disaster in neighbouring Zimbabwe.

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