In a tribute to former South African president Nelson
Mandela, New Zealand cricketer Corey Anderson and members
of the crowd observe a minute's silence yesterday on day
four of the first test match between New Zealand and the
West Indies at the University Oval. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Nelson Mandela's death may unite South Africa for a time
but a struggle within the African National Congress will follow
over who will inherit his legacy, Prof Philip Nel, of the
University of Otago, says.
''Now he is gone, who will we look up to?''Prof Nel, who
headed the political science department at South Africa's
University of Stellenbosch until 2002 when he moved to New
Zealand, said while the country was prepared for the news, it
would still trigger a period of mourning.
''We are all privileged to have known at least one truly
great man in our lifetime.''
He regretted never meeting Mr Mandela in person but
remembered the difference he made to South Africa, especially
in the way he handled his release from captivity.
While Mr Mandela had always been treated as a special man in
the black community, he gained the esteem of white South
Africans as a result.
''He allayed the fears of right-wing groups and white South
Mr Mandela was a ''wise, wise leader and there are not many
''Without him things might have gone terribly wrong. We were
on the verge of racial war.''
The mourning would lead to a feeling of national solidarity
but a struggle over who inherited his legacy would follow,
Prof Nel predicted. An election was scheduled for next year
and Prof Nel did not believe the African National Congress
(ANC) would win by a huge majority.
''In the medium term, three to five years, there will be some
struggle in the ANC over who really has the power to
interpret his legacy.''
Mr Mandela had been a unifying figure in the country and had
defined the ANC, which was a ''broad church'' with left and
''I expect there will be rumbling of disunity.''
A civic memorial service for Mr Mandela will be held at St
Paul's Cathedral next week. St Paul's Dean the Very Rev Dr
Trevor James said the service would be for everyone in the
It was a combined effort between the church, Dunedin City
Council and the University of Otago. A condolence book was
also available to be signed in the cathedral.