Dalrymple honours Nelson Mandela

Britain’s two foremost liberal-left newspapers had between them approximately fifty broadsheet pages devoted to Mandela, many times more than the return and re-crucifixion of Christ would have received. He is neverthless an important figure meriting praise, Dalrymple writes.

His achievement was the avoidance of the interracial violence that had long been predicted as inevitable in South Africa and the only way things would ever change there. He did this by his dignity and lack of rancour after his release from prison and during his presidency. For example, his enthusiasm for the South African team in the rugby World Cup, whether genuine or not, was a wise and shrewd way of trying to prove that South African patriotism should transcend racial divides. No better way of calming fears symbolically could well have been imagined; Mandela played the part to perfection, and all honour to him.

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