Ten years ago today, May 10, 1994, Nelson Mandela was sworn in as the first black president in post-apartheid South Africa.
It seems little less than miraculous to me that apartheid was ended without a full fledged civil war and massacres of white folk. That situation looked pretty grim.
Much of the credit for this seems to go to Nelson Mandela’s personal leadership. He could have come out of that prison and called for a big uprising. If he had called on his people to go kill whitey, pretty likely they would have.
Mandela has certainly talked a lot of foolishness in the last several years, particularly statements in some support of Saddam Hussein, or at least opposition to US involvement in toppling him. I’d like to think that this stuff was some kind of intention of loyalty for whatever support Hussein gave him in time.
In any case, when it counted, Mandela was the voice of reason and reconciliation rather than retribution- even though that would have been pretty understandable. I’m not sure I would have been quite so noble had it been me in his shoes.