Nelson Mandela mural in Soweto

A South African hawker pushes his cart past portraits of the late former President Nelson Mandela at various stages of his life painted on a wall the Johannesburg suburb of Soweto.

*(Via LA Times) – Nelson Mandela didn’t coin the term “Rainbow Nation” or the phrase “Proudly South African.” But the optimism, determination and compassion of the country at its best owed everything to him.

In recent years, however, South Africa under the leadership of the African National Congress that Mandela loved is often quite different — shoddy, corrupt and incompetent. In short, depressingly like other African countries betrayed by liberation movements.

While life has gradually improved for many, problems once attributed to apartheid stubbornly remain. Nearly two decades after the ANC took power, poor education and healthcare systems still hold back many blacks. The police, no longer dominated by whites, are still brutal. Government departments still treat people with callous disregard.

Despite the existence of a powerful black elite and the growth of a modest black middle class, 40% of the population gets by on less than $40 a month per family member. Whites still earn six times more than blacks. And some analysts say the absolute electoral dominance of the ANC weakens South Africa’s democracy.

Get the FULL story at LA Times.

Below, Robyn Dixon, the L.A. Times’ Johannesburg bureau chief, speaks with video journalist Ann Simmons about the status of Nelson Mandela’s quest to create a non-racial democracy and the preparations for his funeral and burial.