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Published:April 5th, 2010 15:24 EST
A Struggle Towards Democracy

A Struggle Towards Democracy

By Vincent Gonzalez

   

 When brought into focus on a global perspective, South Africas` rise from destitution and oppression to civility and equality demonstrates to the world the desire for a fledging country to join the ranks of a more modernized planet with an emphasis on securing the rights of basic freedoms for all, allowing democracy to flourish in part of the world where freedom was never in great supply. At first approach, South Africa looks like a country robbed of its identity. While under apartheid rule, blacks where relegated to the position of an animal, hardly human at all. Regardless of the arguments being debated surrounding the ideology of apartheid rule, the damage that it left behind was felt far and wide, staining the history of a fledging country in the blood of ignorance and oppression, encompassing the beginning of a spirit of discrimination that would be fought out for decades to come. Yet, like some fabled phoenix being reborn from out of the ashes, South Africa soared out of the chains of apartheid rule on the wings and belief that freedom is a right for all.

After being the experimental playground of discrimination and white supremacy, South Africa forged forward with the end of apartheid rule in the early 1990`s, embracing the ideas of liberty and justice for all regardless of racial background. Welcomed by international acclaim, the new fledging government, under the leadership of a bright minded individual began the process of picking up the pieces of a shattered country. Nelson Mandela was the man who led his country out of the chains of oppression, a man who knew to well the horrors of racism and discrimination and who countered it with the belief that freedom is a true idea worth fighting for.

If anybody was right for the job, Nelson Mandela was certainly the one. Under his leadership, South Africa belonged to the people, no longer would public life be influenced by racial lines. As best said by Michael Bratton, Nelson Mandela staked his political career on the proposition that the country belongs to all its people. He used his considerable moral authority to promote a vision of `reconciliation` in which South Africa`s diverse groups forego revenge and live peacefully side by side in a `rainbow nation`. "(1.) The embers that where the ideas for democracy during apartheid rule finally had fuel to blaze with the support of Nelson Mandela and others like him. In more recent times,with the worldwide economy in the midst of turmoil, with rapid climate change and threats from home and abroad, South Africa finds itself in a pretty peculiar position. After the departure of Nelson Mandela in the late 90`s, South Africa has found itself fumbling around in the darkness, blind to all threats that might linger its way.

Yet, as the old saying goes, the night is most darkest before the dawn, " for riding to the rescue of South Africa and its people is the newly elected president, Jacob Zuma. Having been raised under local Zulu heritage, Zuma boast what his predecessor didn`t, a tie to the people and the land they espouse. Welcoming this advantage, the people feel happy and content knowing that their country isn`t in the hands of a foreigner wishing to stake his claim. According to Zuma and in the echo of his predecessor`s famous, I am an African speech " Zuma claims, I am a Zulu...I should not be trying to be an American or more British, I must be a Zulu. "(2.)  And it is that, his faith and his commitment to his people that helps usher in the belief in the hope that South Africa will see clearly once more. Having only been in office for less than a year, you can`t really asses his presidency just yet, but for having been in office for such a short period of time Zuma has already proven himself up to the task. In an effort to rid his government of corruption, Zuma has already sack the bad and promoted good in its stead, expanding accountability at all levels of government. Though critics might argue that he might not be able to take on corruption due to the fact that some claim that he had undermined the judicial system, others argue different. Relying on the belief that a native South African at the helm is best for their country in these current times.

Overall, South Africa looks poised for the position to become a leading figure in our world. Its obvious to many that Zuma truly wants to deliver. Regardless of what opinions many have about him, Zuma looks committed to bringing his country back from the brink and allowing it to attempt to live up to its full potential. So will he? " Many may ask, Could Zuma be the leader South Africa has been waiting for? " As it is, it`s too early to tell for sure, but if history has taught us anything, we know that miracles come in all shapes and forms, and with regard to South Africa, being the host of this years` World Cup might just be the miracle that South Africa has been waiting for. Maybe then will Zuma demonstrate his abilities as a true leader. With regard to the concerns about the challenges South Africa is currently facing, Zuma argues that, These challenges are based in reality...and it`s only when you admit there have been deficiencies and weaknesses that you can make sense to the people, who can see them for themselves. "(2.)  Zuma acknowledges the fact that if he wants the job, he has to earn it.
 
(1.):        Bratton Michael, author. Kopstein, Jeffrey, and Mark Lichbach, eds. ComparativePolitics:                      Interests, Identities, and Institutions in Changing Global-Order. 3rd ed. New York:                                 Cambridge University Press, 2009. 474-75. Print.

(2.):        Perry, Alex. Yahoo News TIME, 6 Dec. 2009. Web. 8 Dec. 2009.                                                     .