Why it's hard for me to mourn Nelson Mandela

Outside of his own country, he was not the same Nelson Mandela who had transformed South Africa from an apartheid state into a true democracy by means of an olive branch and reconciliation.

Nelson Mandela speaks to crowd in London 2001
Photo by: REUTERS
Nelson Mandela was not the saint that world leaders and the media depict him to be. He was merely a gifted, practical politician. After being released from prison and becoming president of South Africa, Mandela understood — what many perceived as being saintly rather than practical — that South Africa would sustain civility, stability, economic growth and security only if he embraced the White minority and retain the state’s institutions; this included the police, the army and the rest of what the apartheid regime had employed to reinforce the White minority rule over the Black majority. He treated the Whites with respect, did not avenge their crime of apartheid, and did not deprive them of their rights, wealth and security. He did so because it was in the best interest of his fellow Black citizens. It was a bright, genius move, devoid of emotional needs for revenge. It was the rational act that earned him the world’s admiration.

But then he stumbled badly.

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