Mandela to Mbeki

Dec. 21, 2004
Reconciliation to transformation.

Nelson Mandela, 80, and Thabo Mbeki, 56, couldnt be more different. Mandela is admired worldwide as a generous, forgiving, charismatic figure. Mbeki, little known outside Africa, was a leader of the struggle against apartheid while in exile in the U.S., Europe, and other African nations. Mandelas greatest achievement has been to avoid bloodshed and, instead, create a climate in which reconciliation between blacks and whites has a chance at succeeding. Mbekis aim is to follow reconciliation with transformation. He wants to transform South Africa into a black-led country that can satisfy high expectations of jobs, houses, and schools for blacks without wrecking the economy and following other independent African countries into dictatorship and chaos. Among the policies that both politicians have in common is the encouragement of foreign investment. Last year Mbeki spoke for Africa in general and for South Africa in particular when he told the U.S. Corporate Council on Africa that "Africa has been and is readying itself for growth and development fueled by her own efforts and the profitable and safe injection of international private capital." Both men also have been active in courting the attention of foreign governments and bilateral assistance. Thanks in part to their efforts President Clinton, during his state visit to South Africa early this year, called for greater access to the U.S. market for South African products and trade. The European Union has adopted a European Reconstruction & Development Program for South Africa -- James Bredin

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