Dear team #HowMandelaSoldUsOut,
Please realize that the road to economic and political stability is not defined by one man or one presidential term. It is a long and arduous process that continues long after the initial freedom is fought and won. Nelson Mandela did what he believed to be necessary. The last thing he wanted was an all out civil war, which was very possible due to the political climate of South Africa after the end of the apartheid. The black people who had undergone so much pain, so much suffering, so much oppression for centuries by the whites -- many wanted revenge. Mandela knew this; he knew it all too well. He also knew that to achieve long term political stability, and to avoid a catastrophe that would be a retaliation of the blacks against the whites, meant he had to make compromises.
Mandela never asked to be put on a pedestal nor idolized. He has said time and time again, that he is but one man amongst hundreds of thousands of comrades who sacrificed just as much if not more for the movement. But because he has become this almost-godlike symbol of freedom for South Africa and the rest of the world, there are people who either give him all the credit for ridding South Africa of apartheid or people who blame him solely for the problems that still exist today.
Neither is correct. The answer is not black or white.
It's up to the youth of today's generation to never take for granted the freedom that was fought and won over, and to realize that the hardest battle has yet to be won. That responsibility is not on Mandela's shoulders anymore, but on the youth. To you, dear youngster, reading this. It is your duty, and mine, to define and shape the raw concept of freedom our parents and grandparents fought for us. We need to work together for the economic and political freedom that still evades all black South Africans. There should be no blame to be had. Only the understanding and compassion that Madiba among many others did everything he could as a very human, flawed man with a noble heart. He is human. Never forget that.
He passed on the torch. There is still darkness on the road which we must light with the passion, persistence, and determination of our forefathers and foremothers. It's our time to run with it.
Twitter: @veronica_cho Website: http://www.about.me/veronicacho