There is a reason why June 16 is a national holiday in South Africa. It was the day on which Hastings Ndlovu and Hector Pieterson lost their lives. It was the day on which more than 400 young people gave their lives to the cause for freedom in South Africa.
It was the day on which the Soweto Uprising began.
It was the day which saw the beginning of sustained agitation that eventually led to the release of Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela, a man whom the whole world is gathered in South Africa to bury. A truly great man.
When Mandela was unjustifiably incarcerated for 27 years he was physically removed from the struggle. The security around him was so tight that we heard little from him in those years. Not even a picture of him is known to have been smuggled out of jail in those 27 years.
Yet in all those 27 years we never stopped hearing about Mandela. Few weeks passed without his name being in the news. People put their lives on line in his name. The streets kept the temperature high for the Boer regime.
Those streets were mainly the streets of Soweto. Day in day out the people of Soweto were in the news. Along with their actions the name Nelson Mandela was regularly mentioned. And of course that of his then wife Winnie Mandela.
Today Mandela's body is being taken in procession around Pretoria not once, not twice but three times. What about Soweto?
I find it unfair that the people who stood with Mandela throughout his incarceration are now being asked to catch buses and trains all the way to Pretoria to bid him farewell, while those who supported his jailers are being given very comfortable ringside seats.
Why not give the people of Soweto a chance to say their farewells to Mandela, in their own streets. Those are the streets where they stood with him throughout his jailing. Those are the streets, that made him the man he is today.
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