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White South Africans' uneasy love affair with Nelson Mandela

KALK BAY, South Africa -- The sidewalk blackboard outside the pizza parlor in South Africa's quaint seaside village Kalk Bay, inhabited mainly by whites, changed for the first time in months on Friday.

“RIP Tata Madiba,” it read the day after the aged liberation leader's death, using Nelson Mandela's clan name and the affectionate “tata” (daddy).

The other side carried a quote from Mandela encouraging people of different racial groups to love one another.

The thoughtful homily was a variation on the usual trite inspirational offering: “A day without wine is a day without sunshine.”

This portrays the respect “new” South Africa's whites harbor for the revered statesman.

But it also glosses over historical distrust of the “terrorist” imprisoned for 27 years, then suddenly lauded for a lifetime of peaceful struggle.

It didn't fit with the image white authorities had sketched of Mandela during apartheid.

Outside the nearby Holy Trinity Anglican Church, which dates back to early colonial days, the beautiful lychgate was adorned with posters with images of Mandela and some of his famous sayings.

On the main street women in short shorts jogged past antique shops and fashion boutiques, while in the background could be heard the whump of cannon fire from the nearby Simon's Town naval base.

It was a practice, but a reminder that South Africa has not always been as peaceful as it is today.

And residents' words betray a divergence in views between older generations who once voted in favor of white-minority rule, and young people who have known only all-race democracy in their lifetimes.

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