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SA Misses The Mandela ‘Spirit’ 10 Years After Icon’s Death

With murals of his smiling face still covering many buildings, South Africans on Tuesday marked 10 years since the death of Nelson Mandela with a mixture of longing for his integrity and disappointment over what has happened since.

Fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai was to give a lecture late Tuesday for the Mandela Foundation.

Mandela, who died aged 95 after a long illness, brought pride and hope to a country torn apart by more than four decades of repressive white minority rule.

“We love what he (Mandela) has done, we love the freedom that he has given us,” said Prosper Nkosi, who lives close to Mandela’s old house in the Soweto township near Johannesburg. 

– Mandela ‘spirit’ –

“Ten years on we still haven’t changed much, I wish things could just improve,” he added.

Johannesburg resident Njabulo Mngadi said South Africa had to rediscover the “Mandela spirit” to bring more reforms.

“All the work that he’s done, we (should) continue with it where he finished off,” said Mngadi. “Things are still bad here in South Africa, things are still not right.”

The Mandela Foundation has sought to temper criticism of his legacy that has come mainly from younger South Africans.

The foundation has organised a Johannesburg exhibition called “Mandela is Dead” which seeks to help South Africans find new ideas to change the country.

The foundation’s acting president Verne Harris said  the “deep nostalgia” after Mandela’s death risked becoming “destructive energy”.

“Maybe we need to let him go. And look for new role models,” said Harris.