(Heaven forbid). Mandela seemed to have understood the value of a (another) smooth transition of power, making clear he was 'no messiah'...
He also didn't get into the heavy redistributionist themes seen in other socialist basket cases throughout sub-Saharan Africa, as well as from the ANC commie morons that proceeded Mandela in Pretoria (and who have driven the country into the ground).
According to Brietbart's Joel Pollak -who was born, raised, and educated in South Africa- Mandela was basically a fair-minded, free-market fiscal conservative who didn't believe in killing the SA golden goose for vengeance or short-term gain. He sought free markets/low inflation, and avoided running-up the debt.
He also fought for 'racial equality' before the law, and although affirmative action took hold in their Parliament/Constitution under his watch, Mandela himself focused on peace and reconciliation... looting sprees that would scare-off the entrepreneurial class weren't particularly of interest to him.
Amusing Mandela quotes:
"I detest racialism, because I regard it as a barbaric thing,
whether it comes from a black man or a white man"
"Money won't create success, the freedom to make it will."
"Unlike some politicians, I can admit to a mistake."
"I cannot conceive of Israel withdrawing if Arab states do not
recognize Israel within secure borders."
"There is no such thing as part freedom."
"Our single most important challenge is therefore to help establish a social order
in which the freedom of the individual will truly mean the freedom of the individual."
"I hate racial discrimination most intensely and all its manifestations."
Alas, the man was still too much of a lefty for my tastes, one who had a bunch of radical alliances and few kind words for the United States...
so I wouldn't exactly say I'm a fan.
But I respect him: he was brave and fought for what he believed in
-moral, principled, humble, and kind- displaying surprising economic
common-sense (of the sort oh-so-very absent in the First World today).
Nelson Mandela was a USSR-educated communist revolutionary for a time, and as he himself admitted 'a flawed savior'- yet he moderated, meddled with the economy as little as possible, and sought peace with the whites once in power.
Does any of that sound like screwed-up South African or US leadership today?