South African Elections: Election notebook

NELSON MANDELA, the youthful 75-year-old leader of the ANC, began his transition yesterday from party politician to international statesman. 'Youthful' may seem an odd word to use. The years, including the 27 spent in jail, are carved on Mandela's face; rumours continue to circulate about his health. But there is something unnaturally young about this old man, as if he feels that life is just beginning.

At his last campaign press conference at the Carlton Hotel in Johannesburg, most of the questions came from foreign journalists (there are at least 3,000 here). He was asked a series of questions about the new South Africa's relations with the world: China, South America, Israel, the rest of Africa. He handled them with a Bill Clinton-like grasp of detail when detail was appropriate and an un-Clinton-like brevity when it was not.

Finally, Mandela was asked about South Africa's future relations with Ireland. After reminiscing about the warm reception he received on his two visits to Ireland, he said: 'There are many Irish heroes who have influenced our struggle.' His favourite Irishman, he said, was George Bernard Shaw. 'I love Bernard Shaw.'

Shaw, who lived to be 94, wrote in Back to Methuselah: 'Life is a disease; and the only difference between one man and another is the stage of the disease at which he lives.'

IN THE Inkatha Freedom Party's candidates' list for today's national elections, five of the top eight places are given to whites. Inkatha says that this proves that the party is a genuinely all-race, all-South Africa movement. But the Inkatha leader, Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, has spent most of his energy recently arguing for constitutional changes which would give more power to the provinces and show more respect for traditional tribal leaders and values.

Chief Buthelezi heads the Inkatha national list but whites are in positions three, five, six, seven and eight. Traditional Zulu values will be represented in Cape Town by, amongst others, Chief Buthelezi's right-wing political guru, Walter Felgate, and three former members of the apartheid-administering National Party, Koos van der Merwe, Jurie Mentz and Hennie Bekker.

MORE political graffiti:

'Nationalised crime] Make sure it doesn't pay.'

'I've a bad case of the Buthelezi Blues, or is it post- Natal depression?

And: 'Get the Third Force before the Third Force ge. . .'

THE MYSTERY of why the purist, hardline, Pan Africanist Congress - slogan 'One settler, one bullet' - agreed to take part in the election may have been solved. They needed the money, according to an informed source. Outstanding bills included telephone, 100,000 rand ( pounds 20,000), hotels, R100,000 and foreign travel, R100,000. The taxpayer-funded Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), which is subsidising all parties contesting the election, has now come to the rescue. 'IEC? That'll do nicely, sir.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones