Nelson Mandela 1918-2013
Despite the possibility of some collaborative marketing between the film producers and the South African Government, I was as shocked as anyone, when the news of Nelson Mandela’s death broke last night.
Irrespective of how long Madiba’s death had been expected, given his long period of ill-health, it was still something of a surprise. Even after the previous but premature rumours which were prevalent in June/July this year (see here), it was still a sad moment.
The speed of comment available via the internet was amazing. Within an hour of the announcement (in the UK), there was everything from the expected obituaries, to dedicated websites of condolence, some with their own appropriate domain name. Hardly surprising, given the magnitude of the deceased and the power of our electronic age however; some of the early satirical humour was judged by many as being a little crass.
Most of us know that Nelson Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and was an instrumental part in the demise of that disgusting system. He served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. But Mandela’s legacy should, and hopefully always will be, so much more than just the end of apartheid.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo: “The Father of our nation, Nelson Mandela, has finished his journey. One wants to think in terms of big words when describing him, but this would not be right. Among the many things one can say about our Madiba (Nelson Mandela’s tribal name) is that he never thought himself as big.
As I listened to the radio and watched TV media explore every aspect of Mandela’s passing, one of the constant and prevalent comments surrounded the fact; Nelson Mandela was always true to what he believed in. In short, he wasn’t the kind of man who would say one thing and then change it later, simply to court popularity… unlike the majority of many modern-day political leaders!
Now more than twenty-four hours on from the release of sad news I have to say, that true to form, our media machine has already done the subject to death. Is this excessive and repetitive coverage really that necessary, or in fact actually required?
It has been said (and attributed to many different people) that; “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” however; whichever way you wish to describe Mandela, you have to admit, he has been an important icon of political leadership for our generation. He has been revered and applauded by more people than ever chose to deride or belittle him.
Mandela’s life was truly a Long Walk To Freedom, both for himself and his fellow South Africans. My hope is that his beliefs about politics, education, ethics and humanity will continue. That those in power across the world can learn from his life, his methods and beliefs… for many years to come!