In the 1990s, when the world faced massive and seemingly intractable problems, it often turned to South Africa for leadership. The stature and moral probity of Nelson Mandela were key in resolving the decades-old war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Roelf Meyer and Cyril Ramaphosa were pivotal in bringing peace to Northern Ireland. Desmond Tutu, Alex Boraine and many of their colleagues at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission were called upon in scarred countries across the globe to help heal, reconcile and move forward from the grip of repressive regimes. A confused post-Cold War world looked up to South Africa for moral and ethical leadership. We were an example of what humanity, ably led, can achieve.When President Thabo Mbeki and Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo called on the west to scrap punitive and criminal historical debt carried by African and many other developing countries, they did so not as a bunch of looting kleptocrats trying to make a quick buck for them...

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