Thursday, 12.12.2013, 11:42pm
Nelson Mandela’s death has produced both an outpouring of international solidarity, remembrance, and celebration commemorating Madiba’s leadership in defeating apartheid in South Africa. It has also generated a wave of historical revision and mythmaking—the sort of thing we’ve come to expect when radicals become icons. Mainstream media outlets and statesmen who had only a few years earlier heaped opprobrium on Mandela, eulogized him not for his commitment to the African National Congress’s unrelenting struggle against the apartheid system, but rather for forgiving his oppressors. In other words, Mandela was great because he transcended race – he chose not to “hate.” Of course, “hate” is far-removed from the politics of the ANC, a non-racial organization open to all committed to democracy.