Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

South Africa: Deep Impact - Mandela's Death and SA Politics

analysis

The death of Nelson Mandela has put our everyday concerns to one side. No one right now is living in the political present, we are living in the political past, those moments during the Rivonia Trial, the State of Emergency, FW de Klerk's 1990 speech, Madiba's release, the talks and the talks about talks, the Chris Hani assassination, and that moment in 1994 when we realised that we really are free at last.

Politically at least. But, it cannot be denied that we are now in a completely different political zone. Politics as we know it has been suspended. People who were professionally not speaking to each find themselves united, perhaps just briefly.

This means that some processes are going to be simply paused, others changed, and some, possibly derailed.

I've suggested before that for a politician, dying is indeed a political act. It is an action that has certain repercussions. In the case of someone as big, important, and momentous as Madiba, the ripple effects are quite large. Political business is suspended. But not in the same way that trading on the JSE was simply paused for five minutes, and then resumed, as if there was...

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