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Allister Sparks Muses on the Reason for the Universal Admiration of Nelson Mandela

TutuVeteran journalist and author of Tutu: The Authorised Portrait, Allister Sparks, writes in Business Day that the global reaction to Nelson Mandela’s death on 5 December has been astonishing as tributes have poured in from all over.

While Mandela had a direct and powerful impact on the peaceful transition in South Africa, he was not directly involved in saving a world power from a disaster, which makes the global mourning of his death all the more extraordinary, according to Sparks. He speculates that this is because “the pace of global shrinkage is accelerating” and everyone “will have to come to terms with the fact that the whole world is integrating”. The developed world is starting to struggle with how best to handle the influx of other cultures and in this sense “everyone looks to Mandela as the symbolic peacemaker”.

THE worldwide outpouring of grief and praise at the death of Nelson Mandela is a truly astonishing phenomenon. I can think of no other political figure in modern times who has attracted such universal admiration. As the New York Times noted, the array of heads of state and government who came together for his funeral was akin to a sitting of the United Nations General Assembly.

Newspapers and TV stations around the world have given wall-to-wall coverage of his death, memorial service and funeral. The BBC alone ran a solid 48 hours on Mandela last week.

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