On the even of South Africa’s second democratic election in 1999 as Nelson Mandela made way for Thabo Mbeki, both foreign and South African media outlets could not contain themselves with the “What happens After Mandela?” questions.

That same nonsense is being peddled on the front page of The New York Times in a piece that does not tell us much. The piece is actually an excuse to promote a new book about Mandela’s time in prison (for which I will honor Mandela forever).   But this should have been in the Arts section instead of being offered as news analysis.

[BTW, the premise of these “After Mandela?” newspaper articles, magazine pieces or TV inserts pretend that nothing has happened in South Africa since 1999 or they spent their time lamenting some perfect period between 1994-1999. The assumption at the time was also that Mandela would depart from the Presidency, South Africa would fall apart. Like that happened. (It also made assumptions about the political and economic stability of the Mandela era as well as some of Mandela’s more wrong-headed policies-like his failure to tackle AIDS, the over-emphasis on “reconciliation” or the wrong-headed economic policies  which Mbeki merely perfected. It also pretends that Mandela can be separated from the current ANC leadership, which he endorses. But I’ll stop here.]



Sean Jacobs

Also goes by Hasan Wazan. Life President.

1 Comment
  1. No imminent civil war. No famine in sight. Country not coming apart at the seams. Zuma proving to be rather adept at this presidency thing. What else will catch the attention of Americans? Trot out that sainted figure, Mandela, of course, and you've fulfilled your quota for the fortnight and your posting as SA correspondent is safe at least for another 6 months. Ms Cecilia Dugger ain't no fool.

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