The activities honouring Mandela come immediately after Youth Month, which is dedicated to the concerns and opinions of our young people. Adults, like the obedient parent in the new South Africa, tend to take a back seat; we are supposed to leave the stage to the young people to express their hopes for the future, even their naivety and ignorance. It's often said that the youth should have a bigger say in how the country is run, because, after all, the future belongs to them. That's not just a cop-out; it's rank cowardice. But lack of courage seems to be the defining feature of our times.

The prevailing view that the youth should be the sole authors of our future - and everybody else should just shut up and listen - coincides with the campaign to almost vilify Mandela by people who were not even born when he walked out of prison.

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, Morningstar financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.