Icon Mandela must be lauded for Ubuntu

2017-07-20 06:00
opinionThembile Ndabeni

opinionThembile Ndabeni

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Whether one disagreed with Nelson Mandela or not, Blacks should be proud of him.

He is one of a generation of leaders who made history.

Black people are the most demeaned, degraded, disrespected, discriminated and devalued in the world today.

We might be judged as the people who started nothing but we master things we learnt from others, especially from Whites. In soccer it was Pele, in boxing it was Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Joe Louis, while in athletics it was Carl Lewis.

The entire athletics world especially the USA, is dominated by Blacks.

In golf, it was Golf-Tiger Woods. In politics, it was a Black man from South Africa, who went on to be recognised as a global icon.

This is why 18 July is declared Mandela Day by the whole world.

How do Racists feel? What do those of us who are shy of their Blackness feel.

Racism will remain. In Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) Ian Smith said a Black majority rule would happen “over my dead body” but it happened in his lifetime.

The architects of Apartheid Colonialism never thought White minority supremacy would inevitably give way to majority rule.

They saw Mandela, Robert Sobukwe, and Steve Biko as “crazy monkeys” who would before their Utopia was realized.

Sobukwe has passed, but he is still revered and honoured. Steve Biko’s words ring true to this day: “Rather die for an ideal that will live, than to live for an ideal that will die”.

Malan, Strijdom, Verwoed, Vorster, Botha and their cohorts lived for an ideal that died. Nobody remembers them and their ideals.

Biko died for an ideal that still lives. He is remembered as a martyr and has received posthumous honours.

After the unbanning FW De Klerk and the National Party tried to win over Back people by opening the NP to all races but was rebuffed.

Our people sang thus: “De Klerk asimfuni, sifun’uMandela. The message was loud and clear, that we don’t want Deb Klerk, we want Mandela.

The ANC compromised a lot during the negotiations, and went on to win the first democratic elections.

I remember that many elders wanted to see Mandela’s face in order to vote for the ANC. Mandela’s ANC won almost won the 2/3 majority threshold.

To the surprise of some, he appreciated that the ANC did not get 2/3 majority. He felt that would give other parties enough clout to challenge the ruling party.

Mandela also had a systematic way of dealing with right wingers like Eugene Terreblanche.

He realized they were just howlers who didn’t have a following and occupied no strategic positions.

He managed the smooth transition. Even after the elections he accommodated the opposition parties in his government.

He made De Klerk one of his deputies as president of the republic. Tutu called him the “Father of the Rainbow Nation”.

The world has adopted the concept of Ubuntu as espoused by Black people. Mandela became the face of Ubuntu.

Mandela Day is celebrated by doing good.

That this day has become a global phenomenon means South Africa, through Mandela, is a shining example of what Africa can offer to the world, if she plays her cards right.


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