Interview: Mandela's legacy of unity beyond border: analyst   2013-12-07 17:34:49            

By Thuso Khumalo

JOHANNESBURG, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- The legacy of former South African president Nelson Mandela will go a long way in unifying the South Africans and Africans at large, a political analyst said.

Mandela, anti-apartheid icon and South Africa's first black president, died on Thursday after being critically ill since June this year.

Sabelo Ngwenya, a Johannesburg-based independent political analyst and attorney, told Xinhua that Mandela's death will bring unity in the country, in Africa and the world.

"As people the world over reflect on his death and the legacy he leaves behind, his good works will continue to influence the living," Ngwenya said.

He said the icon's departure leaves a mark in the country's politics as he continued to inspire the political leaders when he was alive.

Ngwenya holds belief that Mandela will continue to become a unifying figure even after his death.

"His death has brought unity of purpose and has influenced the nation to celebrate Mandela's life in unison.

"Mandela's death will not cause chaos in the country, but it makes South Africans realize how much they need each other."

Ngwenya emphasized that Mandela's leadership qualities left an example which all the country's leaders will endeavor to follow.

"The new democratic South Africa is personified by Mandela so his legacy will live forever," said Ngwenya.

While many people have speculated that Mandela's death will lead to chaos within South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC), Ngwenya disagrees.

Ngwenya said, "His departure will not weaken the ruling party, since the leaders have continued to champion Mandela's vision from the time Mandela retired from active politics over a decade ago.

"His death will in fact inspire the ruling African National Congress to use his legacy to gain national support. The ANC is likely to get a sympathy vote (in next year's elections) because of Mandela's death."

The impact of Mandela's death, Ngwenya said, will spill over to the rest of the African continent.

"Nelson Mandela raised the bar as far as promoting peace and reconciliation is concerned and that is a big lesson which he leaves behind for Africa."

"His death challenges future African leaders to emulate his example in the areas of promoting, peace, human rights and reconciliation."

Mandela's era engineered one of the best constitutions in the world, and it remains a mirror of reflection for Africa as a whole, the analyst said, adding that Mandela's legacy is going even far beyond Africa to influence the world at large.

"Mandela will be remembered as a man who spent 67 years of his life fighting for the good of others."

"When he came to power after suffering so much in the hands of the country's oppressors, he preached peace and reconciliation at a time when most people would expect him to revenge," said Ngwenya.

He noted that world leaders who have praised Mandela's leadership qualities will be judged on how much they follow his example.


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Editor: Fu Peng
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