'Did the Mandela government set South Africa up for failure?'


File: Nelson Mandela. Photographer Shaun Earl Harris is suing the Government Communication and Information System after accusing it of copyright infringement for repeatedly publishing his image of Nelson Mandela.

JOHANNESBURG - Did the Mandela government set South Africa up for failure? 

This was the topic debated by a panel at the Apartheid Musuem to celebrate Human Rights Day.

Tackling the question, political analyst Karima Brown said former president Nelson Mandela cannot be blamed for South Africa&39;s current problems. 

Brown said South Africans need to take everything that the politicians are saying with a pinch of salt.

"We need to not outsource our responsibilities to big men and women of politics. The responsibility starts with us".

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"So in my view, Nelson Mandela left us with a beginning, not an end, 1994 was a beginning, what we choose to do with that beginning is up to us. We can cede it to elites or we can take charge of it ourselves but what we can&39;t do is blame Nelson Mandela for the choices we are making." said Brown.

Author and activist Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh said former president Nelson Mandela&39;s government did not do enough to help South Africa&39;s poor.

He said the lack of consequences for apartheid leaders made the country&39;s democratic leaders feel untouchable.

"I do think we allowed a politics of spectacle to overturn a real cry for tangible justice. I think Mandela&39;s government went too far in replacing ambitious redistributive change along gender and racial lines and many other lines and replaced that with a politics of spectacle which symbolised the change but which was hollow," said Mpofu-Walsh.

"The reason I say that is that there&39;s a very firm sense in our society that the beneficiaries of apartheid in general and the people who carried apartheid out never lost anything significant," he said.

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Airing her views on the topic political analyst Lebohang Pheko said the truths of the apartheid era should not be rewritten.

"I think it&39;s also important that the TRC, which has been eloquently alluded to already as part of the curation of a dishonest, problematic approach to the past, comes into the frame and it owes its being to the legacy of concessions made during the negotiated settlement and mistruths and anti-history curated by Tutu, Madiba et al," she said.

"I believe a platform to speak truth and create honest dialogue about the causes and consequences about colonial apartheid atrocities instead absolved white capital, and racial oppression and forced us as South Africans into this microwaved forgiveness and collective amnesia and yet history doesn&39;t forget. And then people ask why are you so angry as black people, ha you need to ask?" she said.

Mandela was the first black South African president.

He was democratically elected as president in 1994.

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