It is no doubt that the passing and the mourning of the most celebrated Liberation Icon of the world, Nelson Rholihlahla Mandela; has brought a lot of self-introspection to the Republic, national sobriety and laid bare the true image and stature of greatness the man was, Madiba! His iconic death will be crowned the Newsmaker of the Year 2013. Madiba showed even more magic and greatness, in his death more than his entire history of his Struggle.
News of his death reverberated across the seven seas and crept into every parliament, palace, home, mountain, hill and valley in the four continents of the world. His ideals for freedom and world peace were the subject matter during the entire 10 days of his mourning; newscasts across the media spectrum in the world, featured and espoused Madiba’s Story! Truly proud to be a South African and my soul is touched and moved to identify with his Legacy.
A big up to the Government and all the logistic teams and committees involved, in pulling such a big event within a short space of time; hosting all the foreign dignitaries without major hiccups, is out of this world. You guys have done us proud and demonstrated to the world that SA can face any challenge!
Like most positive thinking people, I was hoping that President Zuma would cease the opportunity and harness the passing of our former president Nelson Mandela; to his advantage and demonstrate his practical understanding of Madiba’s ideals of Peace and Freedom.
As the keynote speaker by default and by virtue of being the president of the Republic, he had all the aces under his sleeves to play the ball into the courts of his enemies thus emulating Mandela, as he reached out and handed out the olive branch in honour of the Legend.
Nobody has been more vocal in the past five years, in reminding South Africans about Mandela’s Ideals than President Jacob Zuma; actual, he was almost the authorized voice behind Madiba Legacy! One would not have been wrong not to question Zuma’s perfect understanding of Mandela’s Ideals for Freedom and Peace; this was all too simple.
Wait a minute…there’s a catch here! When it comes to Mandela Legacy, his Ideals for Peace and Freedom: we all know that just giving a pep talk on how one admires his legacy without embracing them in true life practice is not good enough, and only serve as a mockery of the greatest statesman to have ever come out of the Dark Continent. The difference here is that Mandela did his talking through his committed and painful Walk to Freedom. Others are talking it from the side-lines.
It is an open secret that there’s no love lost between the former president, Thabo Mbeki and president Jacob Zuma; their comradeship only survives through the name of unity as senior members of the ANC. Even Google knows this!
Instead of Zuma extending the olive branch to his former nemesis, Thabo Mbeki during Madiba’s mourning week; he decided to bar him from paying his homage to his leader and mentor, Nelson Mandela. Mbeki was not given a chance to address the world and share his heart felt pain at the passing of Madiba. We were all expecting Mbeki to qualify as one of the speakers during this difficult time of our struggle history; but alas, it was not to be. His comrades at Kgotso House thought that South Africans have forgotten who Mbeki was and threw his memories in a heap of rubbish. How sad!
President Zuma should have used Madiba’s death to reach out to Mbeki as a gesture of handshake and reconciliation he’s so obsessed to talk about these days; between them. How can you justify side lining of the former president and the man of Mbeki’s stature during such an auspicious occasion in our rich history, never to be repeated again? This to me has been one of the most glaring lows, in the way president Zuma miss-handled Madiba Legacy…an opportunity never to be repeated again. Gone!
We are all aware of how Mandela travelled this country far and wide, during his quest for reconciliation between Blacks and Whites; he reached out to people of all races, no matter how controversial their ideals were. Reconciliation to Madiba was not just an item in his to-do list; it was one of the important legs to the table of our struggling and weak democracy. He preached and lived it to his grave!
I believe President Zuma missed another Madiba Magic Moment, when he failed to rope in former president of the Republic, F.W. De Klerk; fellow Peace Nobel Laureate with Mandela and one of his most revered friends.
Madiba respected F.W. De Klerk and credited him for the role he played in founding our new democracy; his name is indelible printed in our history books and no amount of hatred can deface it. It would have sent a positive message to most white South Africans had Zuma allowed De Klerk a deserved right to speak in the funeral of our Struggle Icon. We lost out on De Klerk’s fondest memories of the man he so respected and held in high esteem. I wonder and stare up to an open sky, imagining what it would have been like had Willem De Klerk had his rightful turn to speak to us.
Reconciliation is an act, as Madiba dramatized it; the act of reaching out to your enemies in spite of yourself; standing in the line of fire for a good course. Another missed chance. Gone!
Finally, I believe that President Zuma should have demonstrated maturity, restraint and better understanding of Madiba Legacy; by giving Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu, his unarguable rightful place of burying his friend and Icon, Nelson Mandela. Right throughout our Struggle, Tutu’s name is synonymous with his leadership from the front and outspokenness against Apartheid injustices. His uncompromising nature and down-to-earth and deep-rooted principles are his trademarks, the same ideals Madiba shared.
Tutu should have been the presiding Bishop at Madiba’s Memorial. It is gross injustice on the part of Zuma, to ignore such an obvious icon of our struggle, in the person of Desmond Tutu; history will judge all those involved in this scandal very harshly. Who can forget how Tutu spent a lifetime, campaigning and calling for the release of Mandela from prison. While Zuma was in exile, the good Bishop was being heckled and harassed by apartheid special forces; his family never had it easy and had no privacy since they were constantly under surveillance. Most of our struggle martyrs including Chris Hani were buried by Bishop Tutu.
Again here, the president missed the golden opportunity of harnessing Madiba Magic at his disposal and reach out to the good Bishop and lend his olive branch. It would have been nice to see Tutu and Zuma hugging each other on stage, in front of billion viewers across the world; in reconciliation under Madiba Legacy! Wouldn’t?
Even if this is like crying over spilt milk in terms of Mandela funeral, to never happen again; I still believe that all is not lost to make up for the losses. President Jacob Zuma, you are still in office and still have equal opportunity that Madiba had and harnessed to the benefit of the whole country. We want a united South Africa that Madiba believed in and died for, we want to see more actions from you and your government; not just in words or empty endorsement, actions speak louder than words.
Do the Madiba Legacy! Walk the Madiba Legacy! It’s high noon, time for talking and discussing or like you always put it “engage each other”; is over. Action your actions…
We’ve mourned our Leader, now is the time relive his Legacy in real deeds. We dare not fail!
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