Cliff Buchler, George:
With reference to John McIldowie's letter (George Herald, 31 Jan) in which he reminds me that Jan Smuts was considered to be a great statesman and shouldn't be lumbered with failed leaders:
You're quite right, John. We agreed that Jan Smuts was a good leader at home and abroad. For us South African whites, that is. Herein lies the rub. What of the disenfranchised blacks (then commonly and derogatively referred to as "natives"), coloureds and Indians? Given their lot at the time, would they have accepted Smuts as a statesman? So as a nation as a whole, Smuts lost his badge.
And so have those who followed (with the exception of the brief Mandela era). On one thing we are forced to agree: our beloved country still lacks a statesman who is able to lead us out of our collective misery. We can drink to that.