Friday, December 6, 2013

A Libertarian Look at Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was everything people have said about him—and yet nothing like the man they claimed he was. He was saint and sinner, a miracle for the nation, and just a man, flaws and all.

I was in line at McDonalds in Cresta, a northern suburb of Johannesburg, when suddenly the order clerk glazed over and stopped paying any attention to my order or me. I kept trying to finish the order with no response. My partner whispered in my ear: “Mandela just walked in.”

I turned to my left and, sure enough, there was Madiba, shuffling toward the back where his grandchild was celebrating a birthday. We got our food and sat down, watching Mandela and the children in the back of the restaurant. People stopped eating to stare. The mostly white crowd had cell phones out telling everyone they knew that they were in the presence of Mandela.