Mandela was unquestionably a great man. But he was great because he was once a fierce fighter against oppression, not because he was a saint with a nice line in inspirational aphorisms. He was also a flawed human being whose party, under his leadership, capitulated to capitalism, embraced neoliberalism and perpetuated drastic economic inequality. Let’s mourn the passing of a fighter against racial discrimination, who endured decades of suffering (on a level that I can’t even conceptualise, let alone imagine myself tolerating) for his principles. But let’s not lose ourselves in lachrymose sentimentality and forget the real history of post-Apartheid South Africa.



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