Ahmed Kathrada - The Day After

2017-03-30 04:39

Something really, really dangerous has happened in South Africa. It is not about to happen; it has happened already. There has been a shift and a very tremendous shift, and that shift was inaugurated during the funeral service of Ahmed Kathrada, the former presidential counselor to Nelson Mandela. That something dangerous is the conscious revolt against the current president of the country. In remarking about the sources and nature of revolutions the late historian Eugen Weber, who was professor of the Department of History at the University of California in Los Angeles, once said: "Revolution is rather like a snowball on a slope. It is hard to get a revolution going. But once is on its way, it is hard to stop it from rolling and growing until it becomes an avalanche". The dissatisfaction with the president is a snowball that has been rolling and growing. It became an avalanche at the funeral of Ahmed Kathrada. The word avalanche is derived from a Swiss word avalantze meaning to overwhelm with an extremely large amount of force; swamp. 

Avalanche also mean overflow. I remember when I was standing down below on the Victoria Falls in Zambia, one of the largest waterfalls in the world. The rushing waters kicks and thunders so loudly that you can barely even hear your voice. You get drenched to the bone. The mist from the falls is so thick, it is like being in a soaking rainstorm. You feel overwhelmed and subdued.

The reputational force and the thundering at the Kathrada funeral service was echoed right across the country, social media landscape was abuzz. The country stood up in the same way the attendees at the funeral service stood as Kgalema Motlanthe was reading portions of the last letter Ahmed Kathrada wrote.

In assessing the volatile temperature at the Ahmed Kathrada funeral service, Dr Ivor Sarakinsky of Wits School of Governance said to the ENCA television station: The feelings of strong emotions are high, the ANC stalwarts have mobilised powerfully.

The snowball is rolling and growing and it is now clear that it will be hard to stop it. The country's forces have joined into one united solid front. They have taken the reigns and the issue of the president is not a matter of the ANC any more, after all the ANC has shrunk so drastically that what it says matters very little.

It is a point of no return, attitudes have been hardened, people are demanding a pound of flesh and nothing else. There is no other exchange that will satisfy or pacify the people, they need the pound of flesh and nothing else.

Years ago when Nigeria was celebrating its 100 years of existence, Wole Soyinka refused to be included on the list of 100 people that were selected by the Nigerian president. The 100 people selected were called  “Contributors to the Making of Nigeria”. Wole Soyinka was included in the list, but soon he issued a statement requesting that his name must be taken from the list. The crux of his statement was A National Insult Rejected. He refused to be in that list because most of the people included in that list were people who were corrupt and have looted billions of dollars from Nigeria’s national treasury. So he requested the president to remove his name on that so called list of “Contributors to the Making of Nigeria”.

Wole Soyinka saw Nigeria entering a season of anomy way back in 1973 when he published a novel called Season of Anomy. A country arriving at a season of anomy or collapse is not an event, it is a process.


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