Why the left-leaning Nelson Mandela was such a champion of free markets – Quartz: "That Mandela would embrace the open-market path that led to this is somewhat remarkable given the African National Congress’s (ANC) and his own Marxist-communist leanings. In 1990, he lauded Fidel Castro’s Cuba as “a source of inspiration to all freedom-loving people.”
As an activist, Mandela openly called for nationalization of South African companies. Yet as president, he embraced an open economy and courted international investors. As the first leader of post-apartheid South Africa, Mandela miraculously realigned the ANC’s socialist, development state orientation toward trade, investment, and connecting to global capital markets.
There were a lot of reasons he did it. It is suggested he started to change his views in jail, “One could argue that while he was in prison he began to shape his thoughts that instead of a hard line socialist view of nationalizing the economy, he recognized the need to embrace capitalism while balancing progressive policies toward greater economic equality,” says Standard Bank Chief Economist Goolam Ballim."
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