Dear Madiba, we lost the baton

2014-02-16 10:00

Dear Madiba,

Hope you are doing well in your new celestial home.

How is Tata Walter and Ma’m Albertina?

They must be so happy to have you to chuckle with.

And what about Jakes Gerwel, your trusted lieutenant?

Not forgetting Moses Kotane, Oliver Tambo, Solomon Mahlangu, to name just a few.

When President Jacob Zuma delivered his sixth state of the nation address in Parliament on Thursday night, he mentioned the legacies of Kotane, Tambo and Mahlangu.

Their families were present and, as usual, it was an inspiring evening.

Our multiparty, multicoloured, multigenerational legislature at the foot of Table Mountain must make you so proud. We hope so.

But we hope you were not in celestial-observation mode on Wednesday. That’s when we dropped your baton, terribly.

It was as if the governing ANC, which holds you in such a firm embrace, forgot your legacy, even though you have not been gone for three months.

You were a guerrilla fighter and revolutionary, yes, but you also bequeathed to South Africa a peaceful transition upon which to build the foundation that President Zuma refers to every year.

Imagine how this legacy was squandered on Wednesday when the ANC mobilised a street army to defend itself against a march by the DA.

It was a silly march, Madiba. Why DA leader Helen Zille (who incidentally also claims your mantle) had to hold a jobs march to another party’s headquarters is anybody’s guess.

After all, the party harps on about how politicians cannot stimulate jobs growth. Why then march on the ANC, in helmets, with ripped bodyguards forming a cordon?

Maybe the large and powerful ANC should have let it be, like the Beatles song, take the memorandum, shake hands and move right along.

Somewhere in the chaos of bricks, Molotov cocktails, hammers and violence, we lost the baton of peace you left us. Sorry about that.

We will try to find it again.

Love, Mzansi.

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