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By Editorial staff

Journalist


Few ‘role models’– only Madiba

Reminiscing about Mandela is all what many South Africans have until the ANC puts the country ahead of the party, as Mandela did.


Tomorrow marks 10 years since the death of Nelson Rolihlahla “Madiba” Mandela. From a cattle herder as a child to a global icon following his release from prison on 11 February 1990, few others are associated with peace and reconciliation on the scale Mandela is. Somehow, despite pressure from both sides of the chasm splitting the country and the fractious relationship between Mandela and FW De Klerk, they managed to pull off a new, democratic South Africa in four years. People forget how deeply the blood flowed in the streets in those years. However, the Nelson Mandela Foundation is asking…

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Tomorrow marks 10 years since the death of Nelson Rolihlahla “Madiba” Mandela.

From a cattle herder as a child to a global icon following his release from prison on 11 February 1990, few others are associated with peace and reconciliation on the scale Mandela is.

Somehow, despite pressure from both sides of the chasm splitting the country and the fractious relationship between Mandela and FW De Klerk, they managed to pull off a new, democratic South Africa in four years.

People forget how deeply the blood flowed in the streets in those years.

However, the Nelson Mandela Foundation is asking if it is time to let Madiba go in its commemorative exhibition titled “Mandela is dead”.

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Verne Harris, acting CEO of the foundation, says any country with such a strong figure suffers for many years after the personality is gone from the “deep nostalgia and this hanging on to that symbol”.

“What we are saying in this exhibition is that maybe that becomes a destructive energy. Maybe we need to let him go. And look for new role models.”

Madiba unquestionably left big shoes to fill.

“We encourage discourse,” said the Foundation’s spokesperson Morongwa Phukubye.

“We debate his legacy. His legacy isn’t one of a saint.”

That may be, but as a country which came to the brink of civil wars, both before elections and when
Chris Hani was murdered, as a statesman, Mandela averted it on both occasions.

Neither Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma nor Cyril Ramaphosa can claim the title of “role model” with Mbeki’s
Aids denialism, Zuma’s state capture and Ramaphosa’s unemployment rate of more than 31% and unprecedented levels of corruption.

For many of us asking “What would Mandela do” is all we have until the ANC puts SA ahead of the party – as Madiba did.

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