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Opinion
Noah Feldman

Was Mandela Right to Sell Out Black South Africans?

The basic deal Mandela struck from prison with F.W. de Klerk, and which was subsequently enshrined in the South African constitution, essentially guaranteed the existing property rights of white South Africans in exchange for an end to apartheid.

Nelson Mandela sold out black South Africans. Now there's a sentence you won't have heard in the days since his death and that you won't be hearing at his memorial tomorrow. Yet it's incontrovertibly true that after centuries of being robbed of possibly the greatest mineral wealth the world has ever known, not to mention decades of being repressed by apartheid, black South Africans got almost no compensation for what should rightfully have been theirs when the old regime was swept away for the new South Africa.

Indeed, the basic deal Mandela struck from prison with F.W. de Klerk, and which was subsequently enshrined in the South African constitution, essentially guaranteed the existing property rights of white South Africans in exchange for an end to apartheid.