While the world was showering presents and tributes to South Africa’s first black President Nelson Mandela, who turned 95 today, a United States publication celebrated Madiba’s birthday with an article entitled: Nelson Mandela’s less attractive legacy how will history judge the world’s favourite saint?
The article in the New Republic said while the achievements of Mandela put him up there with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in the pantheon of rare men who guided transitioning nations with an otherworldly vision, young South Africans were beginning to question his contribution to black advancement.
One young black man said Madiba’s decision to share power with whites was not fair because the children of the people who participated in the 1976 uprising— the 16 June uprising that changed the course of South Africa’s history after about 200 black students were gunned down for protest against poor education- were destitute.
“The blacks said: ‘We’ll take the political power.’ And the Afrikaners took the economy,” the young man said.
His colleague was more blunt. “Mandela sold us out,” he said. “Look at the Mandelas—the whole family is making a killing.”
The young man warned that there would be chaos in South Africa if black advancement was not addressed. “There will be radical change….You see what happened in Egypt.”