Sunday 17 December 2017

Anne Flaherty: He showed that humanity could rise above the allure of hatred

Journalist Anne Flaherty recalls the healing influence Nelson Mandela had in the boiling cauldron that was South Africa under apartheid

Nelson Mandel in Cape Town, South Africa in 1997
Nelson Mandel in Cape Town, South Africa in 1997

When Nelson Mandela moved among them it suddenly seemed as if the horror of the previous days had evaporated. Here in Swanieville, a bleak squatter camp west of Johannesburg, there was something like hope in the air.

On Sunday, 12 May 1991, a group of 1,000 Inkatha Freedom Party followers – a Zulu-dominated group opposed to the ANC – had attacked Swanieville, killing 28 people.

Nobody believed there would ever be any justice for the dead of Swanieville but Mandela's arrival a few days later was an act of solidarity that the victims would never forget.

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