And so Presidents and Heads of State, VIP’s from nations the world over, as well as thousands of ordinary people, came to bid MADIBA farewell, eulogize him and pay tribute to this LEGEND at Johannesburg’s FNB stadium in South Africa today, even when most of them espoused none of the ideals he stood for, exemplified and personified.
Some of them like GEORGE BUSH he personally disagreed with, when he invaded Iraq for no just cause.
MUGABE was somewhere also in the VIP section feeling rather coy with himself when he knows he would never rival MADIBA in relinquishing power even when the ovation was loudest, and he tending towards senility, with the unenviable record of turning Zimbabwe from a “Food Basket” to a “Basket Case”.
An OBASANJO (former Nigerian President) who tried his best unsuccessfully to secure an unprecedented third term by attempting to amend a “flawed” constitution, also came and infact was conspicuous in his “agbada” in a sea of black suits, to bid his “friend” Goodbye. He, who like Mandela had come to the seat of power straight from the gulag, failed to free his people from the shackles he met them in on assumption of power like Mandela did for the larger number of his people (as the case may be) as best he could.
Interestingly, the visa for the DALAI LAMA couldn’t be processed in time by the South African immigration authorities, to enable him pay homage to his late friend, yet China’s XI JINPING was fully on ground to deliver his speech. Showing that even for Mandela’s sake, the South African government wouldn’t want to hurt the relationship she has with the Chinese, over the case of that little Tibetan. Nothing, for me was as painful as that, at today’s Mandela Memorial Service.
Nigeria’s GOODLUCK JONATHAN was also present, gladly we were spared a speech by him (one of the most pudendal, pedestrian and peripheral you could ever hear), for good reasons, whatever that is. He will not mind plunging Nigeria into the abyss just to keep his position as President, something antithetical to the spirit of Mandela.
America’s OBAMA made warm gestures towards Cuba’s RAUL CASTRO like that would lead to future easing of sanctions and the delimiting of trade between their two states.
Congo’s KABILA was looking all cute in his 3-piece, to pay homage to MADIBA at a time when it seems like all of Congo, begins and ends in Kinshasa. His recent trip to eastern Congo a few days ago must’ve taught him a few lessons about what his subject Congolese go through on a daily basis, it’s now left to be seen, if he’ll make any attempt to remedy the situation especially now that the M23 rebels are no longer a threat, though a dozen or more other smaller groups remain yet unappeased, still operating in the mineral-rich regions of the Congo DR. Most importantly, would he willingly give up power, or atleast place a limit to the number of times he can run for presidency, and while at it better the lives of ordinary Congolese with the proceeds of the abundant resources that country is blessed with?
Israel’s NATENYAHU didn’t bother to show up, maybe he fears that if seats are arranged alphabetically, he may have to sit close to Iran’s ROUHANI. A possibility he’d do anything to avoid after the past few weeks of bellicose rhetoric coming from high ranking members of the ruling class of the Jewish state against the deal Iran recently reached with the West over her controversial nuclear programme.
He may not also have been comfortable with the penchant of South Africans (and others worldwide) to liken the situation in Palestine as reminiscent of the apartheid era in South Africa, with the Israelis seen as oppressors by antagonists of their policies.
India’s PRANAB MUKHERJEE may think he has come to pay homage to a fellow “Ghandian”, but everyone knows that his saintly demeanour has done little to curb corruption in high places in his native land. With some of the culprits being the “untouchable” scions of the legendary Ghandi, by blood or by adoption. A reason why with all the progress India has made technologically, they still record indices that showcase their backwardness and arrested developments. Now, that isn’t Ghandian, definitely not in the Mandela spirit.
France’s HOLLANDE came accompanied by his predecessor, SARKOZY to come and witness the memorial service of this great liberator while continuing with the legacy of past presidents, by encouraging sit-tight francophone African leaders to remain in office, by militarily propping them in power, to ensure an adequate supply of resources at non-competitive prices, to the further impoverishment of the suffering masses while the rulers amass great wealth, and build villas in choice locations allover France in the shame that the FRANCE-AFRIQUE represented and still represents till date. A Mandela in any of the countries they controlled and control would’ve been toppled for a more pliant ruler, like they did to THOMAS SANKARA.
All those Arab oil sheikhs coming to town in their flowing regalia like they could do no wrong, would displease a Mandela anyday, with the human rights abuses meted out on migrant Nepalese and others in Qatar, and the recent mass deportations of Ethiopians from the kingdom of Saudi Arabia after gross abuse of their rights where widely reported, documented and even going viral on Youtube (one of the Ethiopians was tied by his legs to the ceiling and flogged severally), generating massive outpouring of outrage worldwide. Today however, everybody is holy because it’s Mandela we’ve come to mourn.
Not even South Africa’s Zuma will escape the stick for his UNMADIBANESS (the boos by the crowd did justice to that), in recently spending much needed state resources in rehabilitating his private home (or estate from what I can glean from available pictures) amongst other non-people friendly policies of his government. I sincerely hope that now, that MADIBA is gone, his ANC party will lose the next general and presidential elections to another South African party that will speedily turn the fortunes of South Africans around for the better.
As for South Africans, their xenophobic tendencies only shames the memory of MADIBA, and I won’t go any further than that.
Besides. those present at the venue in the VIP stands to witness the event LIVE were also many commoners, like you and I, some present in the stadium where the ceremony took place, others outside of it before large screens streaming the events live or not, while the rest of us watched from the comforts of our homes, offices or didn’t even give a hoot. Whichever situation applied to you today, the fact remains that Mandela touched the lives of many positively, and if we wish for this man to be truly immortalized we should endeavour to do same, and become the Mandela of our time and place.
NELSON ROLIHLAHLA MANDELA, LIVE FOREVER!