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Review Essay

Strange Bedfellows: Mandela, de Klerk, and the New South Africa

In This Review

The Last Trek-A New Beginning: An Autobiography

The Last Trek-A New Beginning: An Autobiography
By F. W. de Klerk
St. Martin's, 1999, 432 pp. $35.00 Purchase

Mandela: The Authorized Biography

Mandela: The Authorized Biography
By Anthony Sampson
Alfred A. Knopf, 1999, 649 pp. $30.00 Purchase

When President Clinton welcomed Nelson Mandela to Washington in 1998, he spoke of the universal nature of suffering and hatred, the "apartheid of the heart." The world adulates Mandela, he continued, because it seeks "wisdom from the power of his example É to do whatever we can, however we can, wherever we can, to take the apartheid out of our own and others' hearts." Mandela, along with the heinous system he negotiated out of existence and the country he led into freedom, have lost all specificity and become universal metaphors.

In his definitive biography of Mandela, Anthony Sampson notes that "cynical politicians" are wont to "wipe away tears in Mandela's presence, perhaps seeing him as a secular saint who makes their own profession seem noble, who rises above their failings." Despite all the regal pomp that surrounds Mandela on his world travels, "he still manages to appear as the plain man with

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