It’s taken me quite some time to gather my thoughts… to find the words to express my opinion. Why? Well, because I want to challenge perception. I want to shift your ideas of realism, I want to ask you to move to the other side of the equation, if I may? I wish to question our perception of greatness and truth.
It’s been almost 20 years since the first free and fair elections were held in South Africa. Twenty years of the new Rainbow Nation’s path to greatness. Twenty years in which all the injustice of the past could be addressed and the ills that went before could be righted.
It will soon be 20 years since a great man took office. Yes, Nelson Mandela became the first president on the reborn democracy. Had he any right to take up that position? The answer is an unequivocal YES!! Not only had he earned the right but he’d been the catalyst for the peaceful transition. His desire for peaceful change and his willingness to deal in forgiveness was humbling and also fundamental to the widespread changes in the political landscape of an already great country.
Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk were the worthy joint recipients of the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize. They were the figureheads, representing the joining of two dispirit sides of the cultural divide. However, it was Nelson Mandela who stole the hearts and minds of the people. His dynamism, verve and energy elevated the nation into a state of euphoria. His legacy was not only born, it was strengthened day after day by his growing reputation.
I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say these are the actions of a giant. A person of such immense statue can surely only leave a legacy as great as he was.
However, this is the point when I’ll ask you to pause, to look at the equation from the other side. Great leaders take their followers along with them. They uplift, they educate, they advise and even chastise, when necessary. So, after that first period of euphoria the country was looking like the positive leadership of Nelson Mandela was going to drag the poor, underprivileged out into the warm afterglow of political victory.
Sadly, here we are now, almost 20 years after those heady days. Nelson Mandela has passed on to be with his elders at that great gathering in the beyond. But I’m afraid the country he so eloquently led from the bondage of apartheid is far worse off now than when he took over the office of President.
Unfortunately, the only way to substantiate my claims is by quoting the ever-increasing crime statistics as indication of just how far from Utopia the place has slithered into.
Here’s a line that should send a shudder down your spine… it’s taken from article on the University of South Africa’s website.
That is because, on average, a woman is raped every four minutes in the country.
If it’s not shocking enough that the words “Interpol named South Africa as the world’s rape capital” are to be seen in the article then I don’t know how else to convey the message. How did the Nelson Mandela’s great legacy of promise just seemingly waft away on the warm Karoo breeze?
If it was just rape… if the totally atrocious attack on women and girls was the only yardstick I had to measure greatness and truth by then maybe you’d be somehow justified in thinking I’m out of line by questioning the Madiba’s legacy. But here’s another line, taken from the “Official SAPS crime stats” for the period 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013
Consequently, our murder rate increased from a total average of 43 murders per day to 45 murders per day.
How do you justify these horrible statistics when you had a great leader who was the catalyst for peaceful change taking over as the leader of the new democracy less than 20 years before? How?
I’ll have to look at the equation from the opposite angle… the combined effect of death, violence, crime, poverty and sickness do not equal the a legacy of greatness. I too, had to have a deep look at my long-standing beliefs and values. Who’s truth am I seeking to pursue? Who’s truth is to be believed? The leaders who came after the great Mandela, supposedly schooled at the great table of his knowledge?
How could a man of such great statue live out the rest of his days knowing fully that his work for peace and forgiveness was being ripped apart by the leaders of the organization of which he was a key member? Surely it must be obvious for all to see that replacing the evil of apartheid with a deadlier system can be of no benefit to the suffering masses.
I ask again… is our perception of truth and greatness too blind to see the real truth of the situation in South Africa?
No my friends, I have to say the legacy of the great man is turning into a legacy of death and destruction. Why? Maybe because the “Long Walk To Freedom” was a walk of one man… forgetting to take the folk who so admired him along on that walk of forgiving reconciliation.
Why have I chosen to place this post today? The photo above tells a sorry tale. Yes, today is the first anniversary of the horrendous rape and murder of Anene Booysen. I promised when I first posted about her tragic death that I would keep speaking.
The Photo – Courtesy of the Dave Harrison of the Mail & Guardian
Here’s a further link to prove or dispel some of the myths… makes for worrying reading, whichever way you look at it!
PS – There are many article to be found on the internet. Some are blatantly biased and others are dated so I’d suggest you choose carefully who’s truth you want to believe. I’ve tried to offer as balanced a view as possible and remember, as I’ve said before… I’m not knocking South Africa I’m merely voicing my concerns for a once great country that’s now on the downward slide so often seen in Africa…