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Mandela’s First Anniversary of his Death

This morning I woke and when I checked the headline news on my cellphone I saw this link (below) of Johnny Clegg’s tribute to Mandela. He has republished the song he wrote for Madiba in 1987, when Nelson Mandela was still in prison and his picture was banned from publication in SA (since 1964). Listening to the song this morning was as emotional for my wife and I as it was when we first heard (and saw) him perform it in 1987 at The Market Theatre in Johannesburg, under the State of Emergency of the Apartheid regime.

At that time we took our little reconciliation group called “Johweto” (a symbolic joining and reconciling of Johannesburg and Soweto), of black and white South Africans, to listen to Johnny Clegg and Savuka (his band). It was an incredibly powerful experience, climaxing in the first performance of Asimbonanga. I remember: we stood as he sang and tears streamed down our faces in hope of Mandela’s release, in hope of a changed South Africa, in hope of freedom, healing, reconciliation and justice. Listening to the song again this morning, with the next generation (teenage girls) singing with Clegg, was equally emotional and brought back a flood of memories. And also pain.

Johnny’s message in the republished song is clear and simple: the work of Mandela, of healing, of justice and reconciliation, of rebuilding a nation of peace and shared resources, with genuine dignity for all, is still to be done. And the next generation has to pick it up and take it further.

The tragedy is that the wounds of our nation have been healed superficially (despite the good work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission), that by all accounts racism across all ‘colour groups’ is on the rise, and that we seem to be forgetting our history, both the true darkness of Apartheid and the miraculous change in our nation by God’s grace and mercy. And of course, not to mention the ANC under Jacob Zuma, which has not only betrayed, but flaunted the legacy of Mandela in their behavioural practices while paying lip service to it’s lofty values. The (evil) spirit of entitlement and greed reigns: “It’s our time to eat” (in the words of the courageous Kenyan whistle blower, The ANC has become corrupt from the top down: arrogant, unaccountable and self-protecting – especially of Zuma and his corrupt appointees who protect him. It’s reaching dangerous levels of a ‘tipping point’ of a downward spiral as has happened with other nations north of our border. I know that this is incredibly emotive but look at the nations north of our border and see what naked greed and corruption (‘doing whatever it takes to stay in power for self enrichment’) does t0 a nation… Continue reading Mandela’s First Anniversary of his Death