Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The limits of democracy

From the Telegraph: South Africa's official broadcaster was forced to scrap its Great South Africans series yesterday after viewers chose white supremacists, convicted fraudsters and cheating sportsmen for the top 100 places.
State television's poll of national heroes placed apartheid villains and a cricket captain who fixed matches far ahead of black freedom fighters and Nobel laureates.


Curious choices are found even among those in the top 10. SABC asked viewers to "vote for the person who you feel should stand alongside Nelson Mandela as the greatest South African". The answer, according to SABC viewers, is Gary Player, the 68-year-old golfer who won the British Open in 1959 and topped the poll. Next came Mohandas Gandhi, who spent 21 years in South Africa and campaigned for the rights of its Indian community, but never became a citizen.

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