Mandela sought balance between capitalism and socialism (Al Jazeera America)

December 9, 2013

Thad Williamson, associate professor of leadership studies and philosophy, politics, economics, and law (PPEL), writes about Nelson Mandela and economic justice.


Nelson Mandela was the pivotal, indispensable architect of one of the greatest political miracles of the 20th century, the abolition of apartheid in South Africa and the establishment of a multiracial democracy, achieved through tough negotiation rather than the catastrophic civil war that many observers had predicted.

Yet the second half of the revolution he sought for South Africa — freedom from poverty, establishment of genuine equality of opportunity and a fair share of national wealth — has yet to be achieved. Poverty was a central theme of Mandela’s famous 1964 speech at the Rivonia trial, in which 10 African National Congress leaders were prosecuted for sabotage, just as poverty was a central theme of the 1955 Freedom Charter, which articulated the ANC’s ambitions for a democratic society.

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