by RAY FLEMING
NELSON Mandela was 90 yesterday. Among the celebrations were warnings. The Johannesburg Mail & Guardian had a leading article that was highly critical of dissension among factions led by President Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma, his presumed successor, in the ruling African National Party. Excerpts: “The sweet celebration of a life of leadership, service and generosity is mixed with the sour taste of a legacy being polluted in front of an old man's tired eyes. Make no mistake. Nelson Mandela's legacy is under threat. Both factions have misunderstood that Mandela's inclusiveness was not based on sentiment. It was based on a sober assessment of the reality of South Africa's monumental divisions and inequalities, but which also factored in and fostered the human capacity for solidarity and the virtuous effects of building a common sense of nationhood. Mandela's birthday should become a rallying point to bring together South Africa to defend what he achieved, what he lived for. Where Mandela united, Mbeki has divided. Mandela's willingness to be reconciled with his former persecutors in the interests of South Africa is in sharp contrast with the politics of total take-over that has gripped the ruling party. The skills and commitments of officials and politicians no longer seem to count for anything. The new ANC appears to have adopted the approach of power politics rather than of moral authority. “Mandela can't come to our rescue any more. But his example can.”

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