Leave Nelson Mandela alone

2013-04-11 09:24

Let's leave Nelson Mandela alone. Why can't we let the Madiba get his so-called “medical treatments” in peace? In fact, will the man enter the headquarters of any hospital without having the paparazzi and Deborah Patta's friends wanting a scoop with their note pads and cameras?

 In fact, it's getting annoying getting all these death scares. The recent coverage of Nelson Mandela's stay at some larney Johannesburg private hospital addressed the whole situation like it was an “Armageddon” moment or we were just about to experience the “Apocalypse”. From the international CNN to the local ETV we saw reporters standing outside the private hospital gates. The reporters,with achromatic facial expressions and grave speech tones, announced Mandela's visit to the doctor as if it was a pronouncement of the death of a messianic ruler whose burial would mean the doom and gloom for the rest our days.

To my surprise, when Mac Maharaj tries to ease tensions by trying to assure the public that Madiba is getting the best “necessary” treatment and that his health has improved, he gets opposition from members of the media, claiming he is falsifying facts. What? Can the media make it more obvious that they are getting more and more desperate to print and broadcast those already packaged obituaries of the so-called icon to make a profit or two?

In fact, how embarrassing was it when an international television channel went ahead and aired an advert for an obituary documentary for the statesman, which gave the impression that Nelson Mandela was no more. I am telling you, if I had a moneyed once-was-great-politician grandfather and I witnessed a broadcast incorrectly stating his death, I would sue the hell out of that media house.

Actually, the more I write about this, I think to myself this would be perfect material for David Kau's or Trevor Noah's latest road show. Just like Arthur Mafokate's “Don't call me Kaffir”, this is all comical and serious in one go.  Comical, because I can actually see some editors annoyed and frustrated when it was announced that Nelson Mandela had actually left the hospital alive. It's serious, because we talking about someone's life, who has family and friends who love and care about him dearly. Maybe to trivialise his death would not be the best of ideas.

Let's leave Nelson Mandela alone. To be honest, our lives do not depend upon his every breath. Our hero worship is our real problem. For far too long we have crowned the man with propaganda-slogans, turned him into this messianic being beyond being criticised and have danced to his marketable Madiba “dance” which has twisted our feet to leave them crippled.

Let's leave Madiba alone because we cannot deny that we bought into his “rainbow nation” fallacy. It should not be denied that that when he was president of this country the narration of the rainbow nation is the fairy tale that turned the township's cry into a numbed struggle. The rainbow nation was the lie we all consumed, because we all wanted to believe. We wanted to experience the humanity in brotherhood. We wanted to observe the righteousness of ubuntu. Yet, we are still to behold those days, if they ever come.

Let's leave Nelson Mandela alone. Take the crown off his head. See that he was not the only prisoner of the struggle of our fathers. There are many unnamed heroes. Don't ask me to name them. I probably won't name even one. I am only a member of the generation who was raised under pro-ANC propaganda documentaries aired by the national broadcaster. .

Let's leave Nelson Mandela alone. Maybe it is when we leave him alone, that we may find the way for our times.  We may find that we are also to blame for being enablers of our broken dreams. For far too long have we turned these “leaders” into statues of gold and allowed them to make us believe that they will share a piece of themselves. We have crowned these mighty men with the toil of our vote to watch them exploiting the land that their own forefathers died for.

Leave Madiba alone. Voices are rising from different landmarks of our society and dismantling themselves from the myth of symbolism. It is no surprise when you watch the times that we are in that we, as the people, have something to say.  It is time that you and I remind ourselves we are the voice we seek to hear. The collective of  the ordinary South African is the shout we want to see heard.  The time for messiahs and saviours in grey suits and fancy dresses will soon be gone, when we stop gazing at the image of cultism and we begin to look at ourselves.

For now, let's leave Nelson Mandela alone. I beg you, please.

Find me on twitter @jazz2ben


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