Mandela’s lasting legacy
Few politicians have been as respected in life or honored in death as former South African president Nelson Mandela. Since the anti-apartheid icon and South Africa’s first black president died at 95 in his Johannesburg home on Dec 5, people around the world, no matter how different their backgrounds and political inclinations are, have been commemorating him in different languages and in different ways.
Mandela was not perfect, and the country he leaves behind still faces many problems. But despite his shortcomings, he leaves the world an inheritance to treasure, said a Beijing News editorial on Saturday.
There was a time when South Africa was the cruelest corner of the world, harboring racial segregation. At that time black and white people living an equal life in the country was an unattainable dream. Both the introduction of democracy and the avoidance of what would have in all likelihood been Africa’s bloodiest civil war were regarded as missions impossible.
It was Mandela who led South Africans to put an end to apartheid, realize social reconciliation and build a rainbow nation. There may still be disagreements from time to time, but people seek to resolve their problems and differences through civilized means.
This is the most valuable legacy of Mandela, who endured 27 years of hardships in prison and walked out with new reflections and thoughts with which to guide all races to their entitlement of equal rights and interests. His perseverance and tolerance won him supporters both at home and abroad and moved even his opponents.
The reason why South Africa has realized a stable transition and averted hatred and slaughter between different races is the establishment of a foundation of mutual trust and recognition of the need for social order.
The co-existence of different human races under the principle of equality and their resorting to peaceful, democratic and legal means to resolve differences are part of Mandela’s memorable legacy.
Since 1999, Mandela lived a secluded life. He resigned at the peak of his political life and avoided repeating the mistakes of many political figures of his time. He interpreted a politician’s mission in an almost perfect way.