Reality check on Mandela years

2008-07-26 00:00

The outpouring of love and respect for former president Nelson Mandela has been nothing short of amazing. Last week it was his 90th birthday but it was also the first farewell, a eulogy to a grand old man who will not be around much longer and the like of whom, we realise, we shall not see again.

An interesting aspect of the Mandela celebrations was the fulsome praise emanating from whites, including the Afrikaner community. On Radio Sonder Grense (RSG), the Afrikaans-language service, there was an unending stream of tributes from ordinary Afrikaners, as well as many warm, admiring words from broadcasters of the likes of Freek Robinson — once one of the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s many apartheid mouthpieces, post-1994 reinvented as a lifelong closet humanist.

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