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A nation in turmoil - a zap sign would do

18 December 2013, 07:18

As the seeping reality hits home that Tata Madiba is no longer with us. People around the globe have begun to eulogise the great man. After all,  Nelson's, impact on the immediate lives and greater societies of our beloved nation, continent and the  global far reaches remains a telling gesture of his great humanness. The current narrative has succinctly shifted from surreal somberness to a great sense of, "I remember the time Tata Madiba once greeted me; I will never forget that perfect moment". While the celebratory dancing and struggle songs that have now become a common feature in places like the FNB stadium in recent days. Now feels reminiscent of  his release from prison 23 years prior sounds more aptly appropriate . However, back then the mood was less sombre, more satisfactory and gratifying.  And as the world watches grim faced and teetering at the possible effects his loss will have on this nation.  The question then remains; shall we survive without his wisdom and guidance? Time will tell.

Elsewhere in history, Francis Fukuyama  eloquently surmised in 1989  that the fall of the Berlin wall and the end of communism was truly the "end of history" as we used to know it.  In the South African case-it wouldn't be too far off if one tries to draw  comparisons akin to Fukuyama's own account of history in this particular case.

While no words could ever over exude his vexing support for human equality; the struggles Nelson fought for still remain the central theme at the heart of the  South African narrative. Put aside, it would be amiss of me to play down his long lasting contributions to humanity, because his impact will definitely reverberate till the ends of time. After all, Nelson the humanitarian touchstone was far ahead of his contemporaries and will forever remain too far out of reach for us in the foreseeable as well.  And now that the dust has settled and the deserving eulogies have been afforded the; man,  the ideal, and dictum of humanism. Serious introspection and measured reactions are required to make-do without his domineering presence.

Although I am speaking under correction. I think its fair to assume South Africa's last God-sent has unfortunately left us. And judging by the current modus operandi my assumption has a justifiable means and ends. While this vibrant and eccentric rainbow nation of ours still licks its wounds and regularly picks at the scabs of its bloody history. Certain struggles remain etched into the South African discourse. And of course our historical indifference's needs no introduction, however poignant this may be, its a completely different topic in itself. Perhaps it deserves its own stylized write-up at some later juncture. Now that is said, back to the current "modus operandi".

As we continue to eulogies Mr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela's life and times. A beast is brewing in the belly of the nation he once fathered dearly. Fraught with the machinations of a failing educational system, a growing gap between the have's and have not's,  and the unceasing pillage of state resources. These descriptions, among others have become an all too familiar sight in recent times. Surely this is juxtaposed to the benchmark this man stood for? In response, I shall let you the reader cast your judgment on that one.

Now to get my hands dirty. The rainbow nation of Tata Madiba, is caving in on itself. Its almost as if we suffer from our own dose of rainbow nation syndrome. No but wait, didn't the rainbow analogy imbue a great sense of national unity? I again, will let you the reader cast your judgments on this second one as well. I unapologetically refer to our  rainbow nation as a syndrome simply because like a clinical syndrome; the South African narrative is a collective group of symptoms and conditions (innate pre-conditionalities) all working simultaneously in disemboweling all that was fought for. A hard fought struggle is slowly turning into a side-show in a different nationalist agenda.  Its quite amusing that the very same Madiba magic's of re-conciliatory notions now lies at the contours of our own evident fault-lines. I suppose like a natural rainbow-  one can never reach the beginning and end of its colourful display . Perhaps this rainbow analogy is befitting of our national discourse indeed.

Now as the comical blunders of Thamsanqa Jantjie/Dyantyi (his surname has even news reporters dialectically confused ) and the brewing detractors within the ruling party stealing the show. Do we then condemn Thamsanqa and the booing in the rafters as sour moments in our history? Or perhaps do we rethink the whole edifice of our nation-building pretext? For long Nelson has become the archetypal back-bone of our unity. He has now left us unfortunately. So do we remain reluctant to move beyond the memory or do we play cat among the pigeons? Allow what was fought for tooth and nail to fall through the cracks of indifference? Now that is my last question I will pose to the reader. However, a stylized response by myself would no doubt punch home the purpose of this write-up.

I think rather a nuanced understanding of the current national discourse requires an even greater reaction. For too long it has been said we lack true leaders in this countries. I disagree. We are in a greater shortage of  true thinkers. In fact, intellectualism has become a distant trait of social interactions. Something that is regularly frowned upon in our social hubs. Thinkers nowadays are referred to as over-analysing bigots. However, only when we redefine the spirit of thought will notions like the syndrome, national-building receive greater measured responses.

In my final remarks. We may be a nation gravitating towards turmoil, but like Thamsanqa Bompie Dyantyi showed the world not so long ago. A zap sign now and again could do the world of good. After all saying the "F" word towards normalcy is a great starting point.

Nande Ngxwana

@nandnz

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