““I am your servant,” says Nelson Mandela to delirious throngs, who believe him. At 75, he is beyond ambition. “We speak as fellow citizens to heal the wounds of the past with the intent of constructing a new order based on justice for all.”
Mandela goes on the floor of the parliament and hugs Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the Zulu chief who threatened to boycott South Africa’s first democratic election and whose forces killed thousands in an attempt to stop Mandela.
Mandela embraces Frederik W. de Klerk, the former president whom he suspects of having colluded with Afrikaner security forces to instigate violence against the African National Congress. In Time magazine, Mandela accuses de Klerk of “very dirty racist tactics” in the chaotic election. But this is “national unity” time, and Mandela,who said, echoing Martin Luther King Jr., “free at last”, when he was elected, has been free all along of vindictiveness. How can it be? He invited three of the guards from the jail where he spent what could have been embittering years. It is something for other politicians to contemplate. This elegant, radiant, noble soul apparently just closed his mind to hatred.“
“Millions of South African schoolchildren sang to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s 93rd birthday Monday, leading a worldwide chorus of birthday wishes sent to the anti-apartheid icon.
More than 12 million students sang a special version of “Happy Birthday” before lessons began Monday.”