It would be remiss of me not to mention the death yesterday of Nelson Mandela here, a man who lived an extraordinary life and who’s personal journey changed much and inspired many. I am not sure, however, how much I could add to all of the other speeches, statements, editorials, and other news about this event.
I will say that Nelson Mandela’s life and activities show the complexities of the human condition, that he was not immune to the anger and resentment that bred under colonial administrations in Africa, and yet unlike the vast majority of his contemporaries, he came out of all of that with an eye toward pragmatism, forgiveness, and reconciliation. It is those qualities that will be sorely missed, especially among leadership figures in Africa, and I can only hope his remaining contemporaries and the next generation of African political leaders look to Mandela’s transformation as they work to shape the continent’s next chapter.
UPDATE: Vera Songwe over at Brookings has a piece that explores this in a way that I think better encapsulates the point I was trying to make in my brief post.