As President of South Africa
South Africa’s 1stmulti-racial elections in which full freedom from political subjugation or servitude was given were held on April 27th, 1994. The African National Congress won sixty two percent of the total votes in the election, and Mandela, who was leading the ANC at that time, was inaugurated as the President on 10 May 1994, with the National Party’s Klerk & Thabo Mbeki as his first and second deputies respectively in the Government of National Unity. In the period from May 1994 to June 1999 as President, Mandela presided over the change from minority rule and apartheid, gaining international acclaim for his advocacy of national and international reconciliation. Mandela inspired black people in South Africans to follow the formerly hated Springboks (national rugby team of South Africa) when South Africa hosted the Rugby World Cup during the year 1995. After the Springboks won over New Zealand in the finals, Mandela, who was wearing a Springbok shirt, gifted the trophy to Captain Francois Pienaar, a white native of Cape Province. This was popularly regarded as a notable step in the reestablishment of cordial relations between white and black people of South Africa (Benson, 1986).
After becoming the president, one of Mandela’s trademarks was his usage of Batik shirts, termed as "Madiba shirts", even on formal functions (Benson, 1986). In South Africa’s 1st post-apartheid military operations, Mandela placed troops in Lesotho in the year 1998 to provide protection for Pakalitha Mosisili, the then Prime Minister (Gilbey, 1993). This followed a disputed election-inspired rude opposition which dreaded the not so stable government. Several critiques including AIDS activists like Edwin Cameron have criticized Mandela for his government’s inefficiency in supporting the AIDS campaign (de Klerk, 1991). After his retirement, Mandela acknowledged that he may have failed to serve his country by not giving needed focus to the HIV/AIDS disaster. Mandela has ever since made speeches on several occasions on the AIDS epidemic (Benson, 1986).