Tuesday the 10th of December 2013 was a significant day; South Africa witnessed the largest gathering of heads of state, former heads of state & dignitaries which is probably the largest gathering of people of note in one place. This was the sending off of Africa’s finest son ever & probably the last one unless God smiles on this Dark Continent and let the sun scorched land behold another like him. Many people underestimated the life and stature of Nelson Mandela, some still do, a murmur here & some discontent there. I have been involved in many debates where the question is always “besides staying in prison what did Mandela do”? I will not delve into his deeds and gestures because I believe anyone who doesn’t know them has their heads so stuck underground it will be hopeless for me to try and yell some sense into them. I am sure the spectacle of December 10, 2013 has changed some minds & hearts but I wouldn’t bet anything on a people whose heads are underground, what they might have noticed is the incessant rains over Guateng bringing discomfiture to their heads down under.
It was a day of jubilant tears in South Africa, Nelson Mandela can only be celebrated not mourned, here is a man whom I know ran his race on earth to the fullest. When heaven receives him, I envisage a great celebration for a man who answered his calling while in the flesh. Jesus Christ once said, “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also.” Most of us dismiss this adage as impractical but Nelson Mandela is one man who lived this principle, for example he gave his jailer a VIP guest status to his inauguration as president and invited the then Prosecutor at the Rivonia trial for lunch. How must it have felt for the Jail Guard or for the Prosecutor? I suppose it changed their perspectives on life in general and lifted a heavy burden from their hearts. They discovered the gift of no condemnation not from God but from fellow man. As they saw his memorial they must have been proud and probably wept knowing that they were forgiven, no more should they wallow in shame for the roles they played in his life. Nelson Mandela gave the other cheek but when all was said and done, he embraced them & loved them like they had never done him any wrong.
I can talk more of Nelson Mandela but his memorial also made headlines, Barack Obama delivered a great speech and in the spirit of the occasion he went to shake hands with the Cuban leader Raul Castro, even Castro himself was somewhat awed dropping his jaws in disbelief but Obama knows Mandela would have loved this to happen. After this came the sad chapter of the day, when Jacob Zuma was spotted he was booed constantly. This was a very embarrassing moment for not only him but for South Africa as a whole. I have seen people lynch into his person and many are actually jubilant that things turned out thus for him. But I believe Zuma did not deserve such disrespect, no one did. As I reflected on this occurrence my mind was seized with the phrase “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it”. I juxtaposed the boos to Jacob Zuma with the cheers accorded Robert Mugabe, as a Zimbabwean I would have been forgiving of those booing Zuma had they held their peace at the sight of Robert Mugabe.
Questions raced through my mind whether these people yearned for a Robert Mugabe like leader in place of Jacob Zuma? Here was a gathering where Angels, Ancestors & whatever you believe in were supposedly watching from their domicile, the powers that can change their lives, grant their wishes and attend to their needs. I am reminded of Israelites in the bible when they said to Samuel we need a king seeing you are old. They asked why they cannot have kings like other nations, in essence rejecting God as their king. In the end their wish was granted & it was so mournful on their part. So South Africa, what is it that you wished for in those few minutes? What is the message you sent out to your Gods, Ancestors et al? Are you rejecting Jacob Zuma and wishing upon a Robert Mugabe? Be careful what you wish for, you might just get an Uncle Bob in future and when that time comes memories would be so far from FNB Stadium you wouldn’t know what hit you. Ask Zimbabweans how they sang “God give Mugabe long life” and today they wish his life ended. Yes there are now many Zimbabweans waiting to celebrate his death, look at how his health issues make headlines. It is my wish to have 100 Mugabe praise singers in Zimbabwe and they experience life the way majority experience it, worry about electricity, worry about water & when it comes worry about whether it’s clean enough to drink. I would love to have them work like all Zimbabweans earning an average of R2,500.00 ($250) for an office job requiring a qualification and if they have Matric only they have to settle for Maid or Gardener’s job getting about R700 pay. They will also know that payday is not a fixed date, it is a moving date dependent on management will to pay. After they get the pay they must worry about getting it out of the bank which will take a long queue. Maybe only then will people start to wish upon the right things and praise what they truly understand.
Zuma with all his blunders & lack of education, I would trade him any day for Mugabe with multiple degrees. Sure the Nkandlagate is a big issue but at least people are allowed to freely talk about it, to freely boo the president for it and freely investigate what transpired through the public protector. In Zimbabwe who dare question Mugabe for the missing billions not accounted in diamond revenue, who has the mettle to question the corrupt activities of his inner cabal? The Zimbabwe Anti-corruption Commission tried it ended being on trial themselves for trying to try corruption. If it was people at Zimbabwe National Sports stadium who booed Robert Mugabe before over 100 heads of states, the ghettos would not have known any peace after the dignitaries leave. Beer drinkers would have been rounded up in pubs and given a thorough hiding; those found walking on the streets after dark would also befall the same fate of button sticks. If the memorial was in Zimbabwe Obama would have been there on time, no traffic would dare travel on the route because no one wants to face the wrath of the Zimbabwe Republic Police. Only Zimbabweans know what Mugabe does and is capable of doing. So South Africans must be careful what they wish for, they might just get it.