Friends & Friction: Integrity is the essence of honour

2014-07-10 10:00

Tell us, Zelda, what does Nelson Mandela’s corpse taste like? Do you like it roasted or raw?

Zelda la Grange, Nelson Mandela’s personal assistant of 20 years, belongs to a an elite group of people who had the privilege of living and working so closely with the big man.

She is like former US president Bill Clinton’s assistant, Betty Currie, who had first-hand knowledge of the Monica Lewinsky affair.

But unlike Zelda, Currie, now aged 74, still hasn’t revealed anything.

Rex Scouten served 10 US presidents. Even though he lived inside the ventricle of capitalism, the US of Avarice, he refused all offers from the merchants of gossip to publish his memoirs. He refused as he saw himself as working in somebody’s house.

Many people in this country have helpers who come into their homes. How would you feel if your helper told your neighbours about your life and made money out of it?

The pain won’t necessarily get any better if the same was done by a personal assistant at work.

Understandably, we live in a world where people openly say: “I’m here for the money. If you want loyalty, get a dog.”

For such people, money is not enough. They build their ladders with corpses.

Perhaps the reason humans love dogs so much is because we envy their higher qualities of love, loyalty and selflessness. In this world, where everyone is encouraged to take care of Number One, dogs are a refreshing and superior alternative.

Humankind is using technology to sink further into the abyss of hypocrisy. At a click of a button on Facebook, employees can “like” the posts of their bosses, no matter how mundane or stupid.

You will never truly know whether people like what you say until you are no longer responsible for signing the cheque on which they are dependent.

Employees who seek fame and fortune by riding on the back of their masters will never receive it because a flea can never grow as big as its host.

It is not unbridled self-promotion that immortalises the servants of the good and the great, but their selfless devotion to the cause of making their masters look immaculate.

John Brown remains one of the most celebrated servants in history not because he told the world about Queen Victoria but because of his character. She ordered that a statue of him be built in his honour.

“The most fearless uprightness, kindness, sense of justice, honesty, independence and unselfishness combined with a tender, warm heart?...?made him one of the most remarkable men,” wrote the Queen about her personal assistant. What an obituary.

I wish Zelda a long, healthy and wealthy life. I hope she does not end up like Donald C Rickard who, 52 years ago, informed the police about Mandela’s whereabouts.

He may have made some money, and got a promotion or two, but he hasn’t been happy since.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.