Former president Nelson Mandela in 2008. Picture: REUTERS
None Former president Nelson Mandela in 2008. Picture: REUTERS

Nelson Mandela’s release from prison on February 11 1990 marked the beginning of the normalisation of South African society, but as should have been expected, the scars of centuries do not disappear overnight. However, the latest studies indicate that great progress has since been made with race relations at grass-roots level.

Political rhetoric does not reflect the reality on the ground. I agree with former US president Barack Obama that the situation at grass-roots level is not as bad as the fearmongers want people to believe.

More politicians should strive to be statesmen in the mould of Mandela and Obama — both overcoming a legacy of being treated as second-class citizens by immigrants to their countries and both with roots in Africa, the cradle of humankind. Both regarded the cause as greater than themselves and displayed old-fashioned decency and humanity.

Dawie Jacobs

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