Madiba’s example of forgiveness, reconciliation, and humility are inseparable from his unwavering commitment to combat white supremacy, and promote equality and justice. That commitment, conveyed in his leadership, provided a beacon to the negotiations to replace apartheid with democracy. We saw it flash bright at CODESA after De Klerk used his closing remarks on the opening day of the CODESA negotiations to complain that the ANC had not abandoned its armed struggle, even as the parties were now gathered around the negotiating table. Mandela had already given his closing remarks and De Klerk was to have been the last speaker of the day. But an incensed Mandela insisted on returning to the podium where he castigated De Klerk so vehemently that two decades later De Klerk is still licking his wounds: “Even the head of an illegitimate, discredited, minority regime as his, has certain moral standards to uphold … he has abused his position because he hoped that I would not reply. He was completely mistaken.” Mandela went on to remind the audience that the armed struggle was suspended to give negotiations a chance and that it was one of the agenda points for the negotiations begun that day.
Following the publication of Elizabeth Rubin’s profile of Shannon Sedgwick Davis (“How a Texas Philanthropist Helped Fund the Hunt for Joseph Kony”, posted October 21, 2013), readers have raised concerns about the New Yorker’s fact-checking process, as well as its apparent lack of interest in the legal and ethical implications of funding private military operations with secretly managed funds.