December 6, 2013

How Mandela Changed South Africa

John Campbell, Council on Foreign Relations

The Associated Press

Nelson Mandela was the father of the current democratic South Africa that replaced the odious apartheid state. His primary legacy is a multiracial South Africa under the rule of law. Mandela's governance was characterized by racial reconciliation, especially with white Afrikaners, which he shrewdly promoted through the use of symbols. Like President Obama, Mandela sought "teachable moments." For example, he publicly supported the predominately white national rugby team. He took tea with Betsie Verwoerd, the widow of Hendrick Verwoerd, the chief architect of apartheid. He avoided African National Congress (ANC) and black African triumphalism; there was no wholesale change in Afrikaner place names during his presidency.

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TAGGED: South Africa, Nelson Mandela

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