Nelson Mandela passed away last night at 95. He was one of the greatest men of History alike Ghandi and others. He achieved peace without violence with those who kept him in prison for 26 years. What is more important than giving hope to his people, oppressed by one of the worst regimes ?
But we should also value peace not just for moral reasons but also because it represents a motor of progress. As Europeans we know what this means and how peace and reconciliation gave rise to an unprecedented era of prosperity. In South Africa, living standards have improved substantially for all, but the balance is still disproportionately in favour of white population and Asian South Africans.
As the Economist points out: "Under its own majority rule, the lot of the ever-growing black population—today forming over three-quarters of the national total—has been notably poor. Misguided governance, low-quality education, skills shortages and massive unemployment levels of around 40% have left it more disadvantaged today than when Nelson Mandela was still behind bars. Black income has virtually flat-lined, betraying tremendous gulfs between the wealth of the different racial groups. Sadly, the nation Mandela leaves behind today remains one of the most unequal in the world".
Mandela has paved the way to democracy and human rights in a divided country. He left a better world for all of us and for his country but there is still a long way to equality. As he wrote in 1970 during his imprisonment, " social equality is the only basis of human happiness.”
Rest in Peace
Rest in Peace