Nelson Mandela's death – South Africa one year on

A young girl waits for the funeral cortege of former South African president Nelson Mandela as it passes through Qunu on its way to his family's rural home on 14 December 2013 in Qunu, South Africa Image copyright AFP

It does not seem that it was a year ago that South Africans danced and sang in the streets all night to remember the life of Nelson Mandela, the man who liberated them from the scourge of racial oppression.

They did not mourn the 95-year-old's death - instead they rejoiced that Madiba (Mandela's clan name) had saved them from a potential racial bloodbath.

Yet despite this sense of unity, there were many, especially white South Africans, who were visibly worried that the man they regarded as the insurer of a peaceful future had gone too soon and had left them exposed.

They feared his departure opened up a door for the angry poor black masses to destroy their comfortable lives.

However, 12 months have passed since he died and life continues as normal.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Memorial services are being held to remember the former president
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Mandela lived with his then-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in the home that has become a museum

In an attempt to try and understand how the Mandela dynasty is feeling one year on, I spoke to Madiba's first grandchild from his eldest son Thembekile.

We met Ndileka Mandela in Soweto at her grandfather's old home now turned a museum.

Apartheid a crime?

As we walked around she told me that South Africa is at peace with itself.

When I said many people had thought that when Mandela went South Africa would go up in flames, she replied with a smile: "Even a year after he's gone peace still prevails.

"People are still upholding his legacy and what he stood for because he stood for peace and reconciliation."

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Media captionMilton Nkosi spoke to Ndileka Mandela about her grandfather's legacy

Nelson Mandela: 1918-2013

Image copyright Other
  • 1943: Joined African National Congress
  • 1956: Charged with high treason, but charges dropped after a four-year trial
  • 1962: Arrested, convicted of incitement and illegally leaving country, sentenced to five years in prison
  • 1964: Charged with sabotage, sentenced to life
  • 1990: Freed from prison
  • 1993: Wins Nobel Peace Prize
  • 1994: Elected first black president
  • 1999: Steps down as leader

This, of course, does not mean that all is well in the land of Nelson Mandela.

This week, a survey, appropriately named South African Reconciliation Barometer, showed that about 24% of those questioned felt apartheid was not a crime - with nearly half of white people surveyed agreeing with the statement.

When the survey was first conducted in 2003, 86% of South Africans agreed that apartheid was a crime.

Family spats

Kim Wale, the barometer's project leader, says this is an indication of how history is taught.

"The danger of forgetting is that it encourages denial. The implication is that we are doomed to repeat the past," she told local media.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Apartheid discriminated against black people in every aspect of their lives
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Black and white people voted together for the first time in 1994
Image copyright AFP
Image caption They jointly celebrated Nelson Mandela's life when he died on 5 December 2013

I also asked Ms Mandela about some of the family squabbles that have played out in public.

"Once we are around the table we celebrate more what brings us together than our differences," she said.

"In any family you disagree with your brother, with your own siblings from the same mother and the same father, we are no different from anybody."

As the nation enters its second year without Mandela, South Africa is coming of age.

It is going to learn to face the joy and pain of being without a father figure.

The rainbow nation, still celebrating 20 years of democracy, will have to rise to the occasion and follow his ideals of building rather than destroying - as we see the cancer of corruption eating away at the fabric of society.

If it doesn't, then South Africans must face the consequences of not walking in his footsteps.

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