Nelson Mandela emerged from 27 years in apartheid jails in 1990 pledging to seize South Africa’s mines and banks. Four years later, his government slashed spending and courted foreign investors, paving the way for the longest period of growth in the country’s history.
The day in 1990 that Nelson Mandela walked to freedom, I waited hours in the hot sun outside city hall in downtown Cape Town, in a crowd of thousands of blacks and mixed-race coloreds dying to glimpse their hoped-for savior. Mandela, who died today at 95, had been locked away in prison for more than 27 years. As it happened, the excitement of witnessing history that day was tarnished by mishaps.
Media consultant Frank Greer and I were invited in 1993 to speak to a workshop for 80 African National Congress campaign organizers, including Nelson Mandela and his top people. Our talk was a mix of high strategy and technical campaign mechanics. When we finished, Mandela, sitting in the front row, raised his hand and asked the first question.
South Africans held countrywide prayer services to commemorate the life of former President Nelson Mandela, the third day in a week of events that will culminate in a funeral at his childhood village of Qunu.