11 February 2010

Two Presidents

Ship wreck on Robben Island
A view from the Robben Island. It's here - I assume - that Nelson Mandela amongst so many other political prisoners was looking towards the liberals of Cape Town.

20 years. It’s a long time. Of course not as long time as Nelson Mandela was in prison, but today is the 20th anniversary for him not to be locked up for his views. Today is also the day that Iziko Slave Lodge Museum in Cape Town starts an exhibition on the good man and also, if that’s not enough like the infomercials taught us, there’s a Free at Last film festival taking place in the city as well. So Jacob Zuma wasn’t the only nation’s President who got this town in heat today. And from the experience of last few hours; his speech is really doing a number on us. Why are the leaders so scared of their people anyway and why are the policemen – and this seems to be rather universal problem – so incredibly rude when on duty?

And all this happens in Cape Town. To me it’s ironic because it is by far the most racist city where I’ve ever stepped my foot in (I’ve never been to Bloemfontein, but this is hardly something that changes the facts as they are). Capetonians are great at selecting the history. I wrote earlier in Twitter the summary of how I see the whole situation actually:

Surely without the efforts of white SA Mandela would've never got out of prison... oh, wait, or was it that he was there because of them.


But Mandela is my hero. One of them. I am only one of his many fans. I’ve done nothing for him either (although that also means nothing against him). I am just impressed. I am also inclined to think that one should not try to force this saintly air around him because he also is just a man. He was an angry man at that; the one who made things happen and lead his people. Fair play to him rocking up dressed in traditional gear into the trial sentencing him into prison. The ever smiling elder is a sum of some serious hardships. Things he shared with so many. Many still share them. I don’t think anyone would’ve done better than him. It's very humbling altogether.

Today I am not participating in any collective feel good exercise of pseudo-liberals, but I thank his, as much as the ones of my wife and son, ancestors – Aah! Madiba, Sopitsho, Ngqolomsila, Yem-yem, Vela Bambentsele, Zondwa Zintshaba Zingazumenzanto…

Or maybe I must leave it to professionals.

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Praise singing by Imbongi Bulelani Zantsi for inkokhelo.com

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