Nelson Mandela emerged from 27 years in apartheid jails in 1990 pledging to seize South Africa's mines and banks. Four years later, his government slashed spending and courted foreign investors, paving the way for the longest period of growth in the country's history.
The wood-framed tents on this muddy field in the Bekaa Valley have burned to the ground, leaving only remnants of the lives of the Syrian refugees and migrant workers who occupied them: Shoes. Scattered tomatoes. A pink plastic comb. Metal latrines, provided by the U.N. High Commission on Refugees.
To fully appreciate what former South African president Nelson Mandela was able to accomplish, it is necessary to hearken back to the South Africa he found when he emerged from prison in 1990, and what the country was like in those critical four years between his release and his election to the presidency in 1994.