Honouring the Father of a Nation: Nelson Mandela’s Legacy
How does one prepare for the end of an era?
Rolihlahla ‘Nelson’ Mandela is a man that cannot be described in simple words. The love that the people of South Africa have for this man is undeniable, it is unyielding, it is beyond powerful adverbs and fancy adjectives. And yet. We, as South Africans, are preparing for the loss of our Tata (father). We are trying to find the words to describe the role Madiba played in our lives, because in our hearts we believe that soon we will not have the chance.
So I pose the question, how do you prepare for the death of someone like Madiba? What did the Indians do before the death of Ghandi? What did the Americans do before the loss of George Washington? What will the English do when Queen Elizabeth II has retired to her deathbed?
I don’t really have an answer. At least not one that will quench the driving need to find something, anything that might lessen the loss. I don’t know if, as an individual, I can help or change the present. I probably can’t, or rather I definitely can’t. This future in inevitable and I am on the roller coaster of history speeding towards the next corner.
What do we have to build on?
The future of South Africa, as a democracy, has dimmed over the past 10 years. Once shining brightly at the end of Apartheid and the victory at the Rugby World Cup 1995, the future now looks to be slipping away rapidly. Corruption, crime and poverty are driving this country into the ground and I fear what will come next. Not because it is unknown, but because I no longer have much faith in South Africa as a country.
Instead of pushing towards a unified future, as was Mandela’s dream, the Rainbow Nation has turned into the opposite. A country that still divides itself along the lines of race. Whilst there is no longer an ‘Apartheid’ to speak of, the African National Congress (ANC) has, to paraphrase the Dark Knight, “lived long enough to become the villain”. Succinctly put, the situation is now worse than ever.
Here are just a couple headlines from local papers highlighting the situation in South Africa:
- Investigation to cost government – Investigations into corruption charges in the Western Cape have cost the city more than 51 Million Rand.
- Students stranded without textbooks – Students in public schools around the country have been without access to the correct textbooks, and in some many cases have not received books at all.
- Julius Malema, charged with Corruption, Money Laundering and Racketeering, starts own political party – Despite how insane this is, what’s more insane is the fact that people actually support him. The only modern South African president who wasn’t jailed is Thabo Mbeki and he was impeached.
- Health minister suspended for tender fraud – The public health minister of Limpopo has been suspended due to her involvement in tender fraud schemes which have resulted in the loss of over 15 Million Rand.
- Marikana miner situation escalating – Marikana Mineworkers went on strike late last year for increased salaries and wages. The Marikana Massacre as it now been called, resulted in police killing 34 protester. 10 onlookers, including 2 policemen were killed during further confrontation.
- President Jacob Zuma spends 300 Million Rand to upgrade his private house – President JZ spent 300 Million of public funds on his own home. This is a country where nearly half the population lives in poverty. What else is there to say?
In truth, I do not know whether South Africa has the ability to develop into a real nation once again. Since the end of Apartheid, many people in this country have developed the belief that they are entitled to whatever they want. Apartheid is over now we can have what the white people had! This sense of entitlement has, for a very large part, been responsible for the collapse of the economy around us. As not only can people of all races get the positions they want, they no longer have to work for it.
Here is a quick little dialogue detailing how the South African government acts with regards to education and employment.
- Government: “Hello my boy, now how are you doing in school?”
- Citizen: “Eish mister minister, the school work is too hard, I can’t pass!”
- Government: “Well how hard are you studying?”
- Citizen: “What is this thing stud-ee-ying?”
- Government: “That’s okay my son, we beat Apartheid, now we can have whatever we want! We will just make the passing grade lower for you, and you can do the lower difficulty maths.”
- Citizen: “But how will I go to university?”
- Government: “Don’t worry we have BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) so the universities must take all the people we want them too, regardless of marks! We will also give you a top paying job with the government, even if you don’t finish your degree! Then you can embezzle all the money you want as long as you can come up with a ‘good’ lie about where the money is. And the best part is that you don’t have to do anything!”
Granted that may have been a little scathing and I’m probably a little biased, but unfortunately, in a very condensed form, that is how the ANC is acting towards South African Citizens. If we wanted an Apartheid-like system of degradation based on race in this country, then we wouldn’t have voted ANC in this first place. This ANC is destroying the country and at least the National Party wasn’t corrupt and incompetent.
With the current state of affairs in South Africa, the loss of Mandela may be enough for total panic. This idea, quite understandably I think, worries me. The last thing that Mandela wanted for this country was a violent future and whilst violence may have been involved in the past, it should not hamper our growth anymore. If South Africa continues developing in the current shape, then there is no hope that we will see Tata Madiba’s dream realised.
If we truly love Madiba, and I believe that most of us do. We need to take steps, strip off these individualistic and greed ridden traits that have haunted our government for too long, and move forward. No more procrastination, no more laying about waiting for time to change everything around us. Pick up a pen, or a keyboard and make a plan to create the type of country that we truly want it to be.
What better way could we honour Tata Madiba on his birthday?
P.S. in the upcoming weeks I will be posting an interview with an ANC freedom fighter giving you a detailed image of living under apartheid. Keep reading!
P.P.S. on another sidebar official news states that Madiba is recovering, we’re hoping for the best!
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