If you don’t know I live in Shanghai. I was a million miles away from South Africa on the tragic day of Madiba’s passing and in fact I was on conference with our Chinese partners, almost none of whom even acknowledged the existence of the man.
It was hard to be alone during this time.
Fuck! Here’s me complaining about how hard life is on a post about the man who defined perseverance against hardship. Pathetic!
I guess why I’m hurting so much is that it feels like this is the last ray of sunshine, this is the piece of social good that we have all been clinging to in the hope that some part of the ‘Madiba Magic’ that kept us together all this time would manage to find a way to get us back on the right path. Now I just feel like its gone forever and the Hyenas have taken over the pride land allowing everything to waste away slowly while they lie full and fat.
I’m not going to talk about the greatness that was and will always be Nelson Mandela. There are far more important men and women who have and will do that. History will record him correctly as one of this earths most influential, positive and triumphant heroes of good. He was the greatest obstacle to an evil that found its roots in nazi Germany and as a Jew I know all too well what may have happened had a man like Mandela and his followers not fought with the sacrifice that they did. Ahmed Kathrada was so right in his brilliant eulogy when he said Madiba was going to rejoin the A-team of the ANC.
How sad they would be to see just how tainted their dream has become!
I sometimes wish I could sit with Madiba in a kind of after life nirvana and ask him what he thinks of the state of South Africa today, if he believes his life was a fair sacrifice for those few gorging themselves on new found riches at the expense of the uneducated starving masses. I suspect he would be as heart sore as I am that his passing has come at South Africa’s darkest time since his ruling era.
A time when the sitting president is booed and Winnie Madikizela Mandela is cheered. A time when a rogue youth leader fraught with greed and corruption of his own, using the uneducated masses as a mouth piece for his lies, racial hatred and fake promises. A glimmer of hope provided by at least one freedom fighter of old whose morals and integrity not yet currupted. A time when the divide between rich and poor is growing ever wider and those so desperately in need of education are being swept under the rug along with failing healthcare and infrastructure. A time when the government borrows billions from off shore companies to erect tolls that the public so vehemently protests it brings the country to a stand still. It only etolls were the biggest problem we face.
Why is my sorrow for Madiba’s passing so deep. Its because when he was a strong young man faced with injustice, he took to the streets, he demanded change, he demanded something be done and he was not afraid to fight and die for his belief of what was right, not even, what was fair! What do we do? Sit fat in our brunch places and lunch places drinking Rose, Johnny Walker and whatever else will give us enough buzz to ignore the beggars on the way home. Saunter from boutique to coffee shop chatting about trivial expenses and then angrily quibble when we have to pay a car guard or parking fee. I don’t mean to preach nor do I mean to point fingers, I include my own self loathing in this ramble, but at what point do we give up, at what point do we say the evil that has been growing within is too strong to defeat? At what point do we ask ourselves where we want to raise our children and allow them an education where they can compete with the best in the world? At what point to we say the acceptance of greed, the approval of corruption, the spiraling statistic of rape and violent crime and the ever escalating cost of services along with a depreciating rand are no longer worth breathing that one full clean perfect breath of South African air on the highveld after a rain storm?
I don’t know the answer, although I do fear it. All I do know if that in a country filled with ever closing darkness, the man who always carried the brightest torch and who gave his life to fight any kind of inequality has now sadly left us and his torch has extinguished. Worst of all I see no one rushing to light their own but rather more and more hide in the shadows and enjoy the cover of ill-doings that darkness so often provides.
I mourn for Madiba, the man he was, the icon he always will be and the guiding beacon of morality South Africa is so desperate for once again! Rest in peace Madiba, the comfort of your voice, the uplifting nature of your laugh, the power of your words and the immortal authority of your spirit will be in our hearts forever. We were all fortunate to breath the same air as you, to walk the same earth that you did and to live at a time when we could learn from you.
You will be missed like no other!