Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela 1918 – 2013



This week a truly great man has passed from the world.  There is very little I can say to add to all of the excellent coverage this week. The New Yorker in particular has been excellent and I strongly recommend Mr. Finnegan’s postscript on the great man himself, and Jelani’s Cobb’s essay on the politics of forgiveness, a phenomenal read that touches on the shared racial scars of the US and South Africa.

Mandela was an anecdote to our current political era so often defined by cynicism. Very few of our political greats are able to survive the glare of our modern press, but Mandela developed the strength of character and leadership abilities to show us that justice, and appeals to reason can prevail in our world.

Inspired by this great reading list by Alyssa at Think Progress, I wanted to post a few other links on South Africa.  Especially as my wife and I are preparing to leave for South Africa for Christmas Vacation in a few weeks.

Most notably, this remarkable article by Eve Fairbanks on the difficulties of post apartheid integration at one University is an absolute must read. In what appears a real blow for multiculturalism students have chosen to re-segregate their University.  Read it to find out why.

This piece by Alex de Waal is a great background on the making of Mandela by/with the African National Congress.  Behind most great men is a movement, in this case a pretty astute one that shifted tactics as appropriate.

N.Mandela in his cell on Robben Island (revisit} 1994

This New York Times report on post Mandela political disappointment reminds us that what matters most in politics are the basics of good governance.  In the end improving people’s lives is what is important.

I really enjoyed this essay on Tolstoy and Mandela. Mandela enjoyed Tolstoy’s epic, and in particular focused on the relatively minor character General Kutuzov, whom everybody underestimated but “made his decisions on a visceral understanding of his men and his people.”

I am very much looking forward to seeing the biopic: A long Walk to Freedom

I quite enjoyed the hollywood movie Invictus about the 1995 South Africa Rugby Championship. It was sentimental without becoming cheesy.

While we are on movies, I remember vividly watching Cry Freedom on the life and tragic death of Steve Biko at the recommendation of one of my favorite High school history teachers.  Biko’s story was very moving and has stuck with me ever since.

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