I remember ’94 fairly clearly, I mean I was only in my pre-teams but I remember quite amusingly, now in hindsight, the amount of white supermarket dwellers stocking up on things like candles, canned goods and bottled water. Somehow they believed a free and fair election could spark mass chaos. I guess now we ridicule but sometimes people panic in the face of the unknown, especially when they have to look after a family.
I remember so clearly my mom was stopped by a reporter in a PnP Hypermarket and asked “you have a massive amount of food, are you stocking up for the post election chaos? Are you scared? Will you go into hiding?”
In a way only my mom can pull off she said “Are you mad, you try shopping for a husband and three teenage sons, this is my weekly grocery shopping?!!”
That was the tone my family took I guess. It was fair, it was right and it was about damn time!
That was not the common white South African theme if we are all honest. As a complete generalization (and as I’ve explained above I do not see me or my family as part of this) white people were scared, angry and completely unsure of what lay ahead.
Cue, the now, world revered demi-god Tata Madiba!
I won’t go into superlatives to describe this man, many others have and will continue to do so in a far more eloquent and meaningful way than I ever can, but I think if you remember how pathetic white people responded to this king who was about to take control of our country, you will only appreciate this more.
Fast forward almost two decades . . . past the ups and downs of Thabo Mbeki for all he was worth, through Kgalema’s short stint into the end of Jacob Zuma:term one! Now looking back on all the leaders this country has had (even including the heavy set Dutch who ran the country into the dark ages) are you not that much more ashamed of how you treated Tata Madiba as he hit the worlds stage and took control of a country in emotional, financial and every other kind of turmoil.
I hear those same white women from Sandton (and yes I can say this because I knew most of them growing up) who blatantly swore they would never live in a country run by a black man, now praising him and wishing him a happy birthday and professing there love and wishes that he was still president – my how quickly we forget.
I guess the only reprieve for their fickle tongues is that the world has changed so dramatically over the last two decades that we virtually don’t recognize it anymore. Nothing illustrated this better than this brilliant depiction of the “Mandela Story” via social media (if Nelson Mandela had social media . . .)
Tata we salute you, we honor you and we (as a collective) apologize for the way we disrespected your ability before we even knew you. Perhaps while all of you spend your 67 minutes doing something to improve the world you can also spend it thinking about what it would be like to have a leader like him grace our country’s presidential residences once again and quietly apologize for the disrespect you showed him all those years ago!
Seems a very sad far way off right now doesn’t it?