Madiba's legacy?

A year after his death, people all over the world and especially in South Africa, are reflecting back at the legacy that is Madiba, and whether his lessons of forgiveness have indeed been emulated.

Nelson Mandela had the very difficult task of trying to lead a divided nation into reconciliation post 1994. There have been numerous debates as to whether this reconciliation was successful or not.

Nikiwe Bikitshe, who was hosting The Redi Tlhabi Show today, held a discussion panel with various prominent public figures, as to whether this reconciliation project has indeed been successful. Madiba meant different things to all of us, but what legacy has he left behind?

Sisonke Msimang, a contributor with the Maverick, wrote an article stating that the younger generation has cast Nelson Mandela as some one who has made too many concessions in the name of reconciliation. She shed some light on this.

In the end I said of course it makes no sense to be mad at Nelson Mandela because he did what he needed to do at the time... but that certainly is worth a reflection on whether or not there's a focus on the aspects on the focus on reconciliation and justice that we need to think through... It was the right decision at the time but we still need to reach towards one another....but we have to rethink how we are leading towards race issues because we are not heading in a good direction.

Sisonke Msimang

Msimang continued to add that after the Truth and Reconciliation Process, no National process was implemented to continue the dialogue and that we do in fact need a national plan on how we move forward in order to talk about how we work on race relations.

Nomboniso Gasa, an Independent Researcher and Analyst in Gender, Politics and Cultural Issues remarked on Madiba's legacy and added that she doesn't believe that Madiba had one legacy and that there are multiple legacies.

One of the important legacies I want to highlight at this point was his ability to read the signs of the time and to adjust his approach, even if it meant taking the risk of making decisions and initiating processes that would probably be risky to his reputation and his own legacy...

Nomboniso Gasa

Tony Leon, former South African Ambassador to Argentina expressed what he believes is the Madiba legacy and whether we are living up to it.

Mandela was a contradiction and had multiple influences on him..... The most positive aspect of the Madiba Legacy, is that he has a reverential respect for Institutions; Mandela always wore a suit to Parliament because he had a respect for the institution.... He had a extraordinary respect for the Court of Laws....he was a hyper partisan for the ANC...but put country above party....

Tony Leon

Dr Vuyo Mahlati, the President of the International Women's Forum SA and National Planning Commissioner, contextualised Nelson Mandela post his release, as he was driving a 'post conflict reconstruction process'.

His legacy is setting that foundation at the most crucial time of the crisis....

Dr Vuyo Mahlati

Zizi Kodwa, ANC Spokesperson, reiterated Dr Mahlati's point and said that the ANC needed someone with a strong presence to embody the ANC. The ANC identified this.

[he had the] ability to embrace those who hated him..... ability to listen to people outside the ANC. That listening made him very strong and a good leader.

Zizi Kodwa

Whether you believe he left a positive legacy or was a 'sell out', this man did leave a legacy that shaped our country and Nomboniso raised a very valid point, 'everything that we have learned from Madiba must be taken forward.


This article first appeared on 702 : Madiba's legacy?


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