Mandela’s legacy to the world

Updated: 2013-12-11 21:27

By Li Yang (

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Nelson Mandela's struggle for freedom and fairness not only ended apartheid in South Africa through reconciliation, but also inspires other people still suffering similar treatment today, says an article in 21st Century Business Herald. (Excerpts below)

Politicians from various backgrounds attended South Africa's national funeral for Nelson Mandela to mark the passing of a modern spiritual icon for freedom and fairness. Few people enjoy a comparable status in today's world.

Mandela laid the political foundation for the reconciliation and modernization of his country, which was long infamous for apartheid.

The apartheid system was based on differences of skin color, sowing seeds of compression, discrimination and hatred among different social groups. Similar unfair systems exist in various forms in today's world, in which lies the value of Mandela's legacy.

What makes Mandela different is that he did not infringe upon other people's freedom while struggling for his own people's freedom. Few freedom fighters attain such a level of political art as he did.

Although the politicians attending the funeral all paid tribute to Mandela's political wisdom, some of them do not demonstrate the values of tolerance and reconciliation.

Mandela also taught modern politicians that self-discipline, morality and clean practices are the foundation for career success. If politicians cannot win the public's basic respect for these qualities, they are setting bad examples and damaging social ethics.

Another lesson from Mandela is that the government must be able to coordinate and communicate the interests of different social groups, instead of only standing for vested interest. The social conflicts of South Africa may be much fiercer than many other nations. But few nations have achieved the social reconciliation of South Africa.

Mandela tried to understand the thoughts of the white people in South Africa and consider problems from the perspective of white people also. He made great efforts to be neutral in mediating the conflicts among different ethnic groups. The conflicts among different black tribes are often ignored by the world, but may have been equally tough for him to tackle.

For these reasons, we deeply mourn the loss of a great man, but his soul and spirit remain.