Yesterday, Jacob Zuma, was sworn in as South Africa’s President. What is instructive is the peaceful transition that South Africans have allowed themselves. Whereas peaceful transitions should be the norm, this has been a rare occurrence in most of Africa.
Transfer of power has in most cases in post-colonial Africa been a violent affair; in the form of military coups or civil war. Despite its history of racial tension and apartheid, South Africans have since 1994, and on many occasions demonstrated a high level of political maturity as evidenced by the several peaceful handovers of power.
All this is a net result of a long period of struggle, that helped to inculcate democratic values as a result of seeing what racial divisionism and undemocratic tendencies, do to a nation state and its people.
And this mature political culture has had a lot of dividends for the people of South Africa and other nations on the African continent.
Many hitherto marginalised people have since 1994 been empowered economically and this has been enabled by the environment of stability and relative peace that has been made possible by adherence to democratic principles and practices.
At the same time, South Africa has emerged as an economic powerhouse on the African continent and many South African firms are involved in major investments.
Stability at home has allowed these firms to expand locally and internationally. Hopefully, more of such transitions will be seen in the rest of Africa.