Mandela’s Legacy at Home and Abroad

Issue Date April 2014
Volume 25
Issue 2
Page Numbers 21-34
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While Nelson Mandela’s greatness as a democratic leader in South Africa is unquestioned, his legacy in the realm of foreign policy is much more ambiguous. We have much to learn not only from South Africa’s own democracy, but also from the country’s “shortcomings” as a global democratic leader, including some underlying truths that its experience has revealed about how democracy can actually be fostered. Mandela’s legacy teaches that social, civic, and economic pressures against tyranny alone will not suffice; political movements dedicated not just to democracy but also to governing when the opportunity arises are required.

About the Author

Princeton N. Lyman, who served as U.S. ambassador to South Africa (1992–95) during its transition to democracy, is senior advisor to the president at the United States Institute of Peace. He previously served as U.S. ambassador to Nigeria (1986–89), assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs (1996–98), and special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan (2011–13).

View all work by Princeton N. Lyman