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As countries around the world, including the U.S., confront rising authoritarianism, one country may offer insight into how democracy can triumph over minority rule.
South Africa was supposed to go up in flames when Nelson Mandela became president in 1994. White people feared that the Black majority would take their revenge on those who long oppressed them.
Instead, Mandela oversaw a peaceful transition to democracy. A quarter century after that negotiated transfer of power, a multiracial democracy took root and blossomed.
I witnessed this remarkable democratic transformation when I reported from South Africa in the late 1990s and wrote a book about the transition from apartheid.
Evan Lieberman offers a fresh take on South Africa’s journey to democracy in his new book, “Until We Have Won Our Liberty: South Africa After Apartheid.” Lieberman is a total professor of political science and contemporary Africa at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“At this time when the idea of democracy is under assault, South Africa shows us that (democracy) is still a really promising and probably our best political solution, particularly in diverse societies,” Lieberman said. South Africa offers “a reminder that we can solve our problems through a combination of elections, good institutions, deliberation and a public spiritedness that is intrinsic to democratic practice.”
2022 Election Briefs
- Update voter registration by Aug. 31 to guarantee mailed ballot, secretary of state says (August 25, 4:15 pm)
- Bernie Sanders endorses David Zuckerman’s bid for lieutenant governor (August 1, 6:14 pm)
- 2nd poll shows Becca Balint well ahead of Molly Gray (August 1, 5:15 pm)
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