With Nelson Mandela's imminent death, South African citizens seem to be bracing themselves for panic, but I wonder will his death be an eye opener for people to change their ways?
Everyone takes everything for granted- fact. When the electricity goes out you complain and are only happy when it comes back on. When the petrol price is high you complain and are only happy again when it drops. When the shops are out of stock of your favourite item, you complain and are only happy again when it is back on the shelves.
I do it, my clients do it, my grandmother does it. We ALL do it.
Heck, even those who fled South Africa (yet still want to remain proudly South African) took it for granted that other countries would be safer post Apartheid.
Everyone has taken Nelson Mandela for granted, fact. When he is well, how often do you think of him? How often does he make the news? Rarely, only when the ANC want to remind the country that Madiba was an ANC man. Other than that, he is pretty much just a regular old man (and so he should be- he gave his life for democracy, the least we can do is give him the opportunity to live life in some degree of normality).
When there is another news article about rape, murder, the crime, one or two people might comment that this is not the democracy that Madiba fought for. Some might ask why has he not said anything about the state of the country and the government. He is supposed to be one of the most revered men of our time yet it is only when he is sick that people sit up and take notice.
Some might harbour hatred for Madiba, thinking of him as a terrorist. That is your right, you are allowed to have an opinion. But ask yourselves this, are the needs of many not greater than the needs of one? Yes, he was responsible for the taking the lives of many innocent people, but you cannot deny that many more lost their lives unnecessarily due to policy brutality and racism during Apartheid.
If you think it wasn't bad, then I think a trip to the Apartheid museum is in order. If you cannot appreciate the desperation that non white South Africans felt, then you are ignorant. Today, discrimination and racial hatred affects us all, you feel it when you are passed over for a job because of the colour of your skin, you feel it when you are a victim of crime (committed by a person of anther race)- people of all races feel it every day.
Remember, even Mahatma Ghandi was declared a terrorist.
But my actual point is this- with Nelson Mandela gone, will it cause people to be on the verge of civil war, or will people realize what they have lost and start living in a true democratic manner? Will people finally lose their obligation to the ANC and start voting for change, or will they be even more determined to follow Madiba's "legacy"?
The future is always uncertain, and we all knew this day would come. The question is this- what does it actually mean for South Africa?