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Vol 54 No 25

Published 13th December 2013

South Africa

The time of Mandela

People are together on the streets as they were in the 1994 liberation elections but this time, to celebrate the life of their globally venerated leader

Nelson Mandela's face appeared magisterially on a tableau draped over the front of the Elysée Palace as African leaders and European bureaucrats walked across the courtyard for the opening day of a summit in the French capital on the morning of 6 December. This giant colour image of Mandela, some 30 metres high, was one more symbol of the moral gulf between him and the current crop of political leaders. French officials had prepared for the eventuality of his passing: the grand tableau must have been printed long in advance. They also understood that his death would overshadow their deliberations on security and the news that French President François Hollande was sending another military force to Central African Republic.

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