Nelson Mandela Had to Conquer Himself Before He Conquered Apartheid

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Nelson Mandela Had to Conquer Himself Before He Conquered Apartheid

A Communust Before He Became a Democratic Leader

Stephen Darori
Dec 6, 2013 “Share your voice on Yahoo websites. 

COMMENTARY | The Wall Street Journal notes that the late Nelson Mandela started his career as a communist revolutionary and had entered prison in South Africa in the early 1960s after being caught plotting an a act of sabotage.

Mandela’s 27 year journey from Marxist to Democratic leader is all the more remarkable considering what might have happened. Had he not made that journey, it is likely that the apartheid regime in South Africa would have fallen in blood and had become a larger version of Zimbabwe, a failed state with a non-existent economy filled with turmoil and strife.

Because Mandela was first able to conquer himself, his anger and an unfortunate affiliation with the Soviet Union, South Africa under his presidency became a rarity in Africa, a peaceful, prosperous country with a freely elected government and the rule of law. This was because Mandela was able to forgive his enemies and reconcile the nation when at last civil rights were granted to all of its citizens.

This is what distinguishes great men, an Abraham Lincoln say, from the usual squalid big men that so often arose in post colonial Africa. This is why Mandela’s passing is universally mourned. But it should also be treated with a kind of sadness that his example is the exception and not the rule.

Mandela had every reason to hate. He was, after all, an intelligent, cultured man who was denied full participation in the country of his birth just because of his race, His alliance with the Soviet Union turned out to have been a colossal mistake, making enemies of people and countries that otherwise might have become his allies in the long, twilight struggle of the Cold War. It took the fall of the Soviet Union and with it the threat of a Marxist tyranny in South Africa to make his triumph and the fall of apartheid possible. Mandela’s feat of replacing the racist regime in his country with true democracy was made possible by his triumph over himself.

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