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The selfie at Nelson Mandela's Memorial - so what ?

11 December 2013, 09:07

Admit you have done it. Everyone is doing it. In fact someone is doing it right now. Even the President of the United States has done it today – taking a “selfie” is just the thing to do.

This picture was captured today by an AFP photographer at the Nelson Mandela’s Memorial service. As it instantly went viral around the globe, it elicited some very mixed reactions.

It would seem that at some point during the proceeding, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama took a moment out to capture a selfie on what looks like a BlackBerry Z10 device.

Whilst some reports and Tweets are showing how cool the President is there are news agencies reporting just how inappropriate these world leaders behavior was during a funeral.

Once again a captured moment in history has been taken out of context and a mishmash of nonsense has made “NEWS”.

To clarify:

It was a memorial and not a funeral. The clue was in the program:

During the entire day there was no sad demeanor, no 20-gun salute, no white doves, no folding of the South African flag handed over to a weeping widow. This was a memorial and a celebration of Mandela’s life. The stands at the FNB Stadium were packed with people cheering, dancing and singing during the entire proceeding. That is how we do things in South Africa. We toi-toi – a type of dance. We do that when we are happy, we toi-toi when we are sad. Making things festive is just in the South African DNA. we are a nation that brought the world the vuvuzela for heavens sake – we have a sense of humour.

So during the entire 5 hour proceeding, one high ranking dignitary of one country says to leaders of two other countries “lets do a picture”. That is priceless regular human behavior in an Instagraming world.

Then there is the analysis of Michelle Obama who is “clearly not impressed” or “the only respecting the decorum of the moment” blah blah blah. I wonder why this picture did not get as much attention? I suppose it isn’t headline-grabbing-newsworthy

If there was any offensive behavior today it was the booing of the South African president. No matter what you may think of President Jacob Zuma, there is a time and a place for politics and a today was a time for unity.

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