A lot has happened since you left us. Where do I even begin? Firstly I’d like to say that we miss you. The world lost a symbol of love, hope and humanity when you left us and I hope we can survive without you.
Jacob Zuma is President again! I acknowledge how he came up through the ranks in the organisation but I question whether he was the best person to take over after Mbeki. I know you loved the ANC dearly and you are probably the reason why millions of people in South Africa love it too; I just didn’t like the way they misused your name during the election period. The DA also tried to use your name to swing votes their way but I’d like to think that they’re both better than to exploit your memory for their own gains like that. There are thought leaders within the ANC who are much like you were, so I think it’s high time they be given their time in the limelight.
Anyway, enough of the bad news. I saw Winnie in Orlando on election day; she is looking as beautiful and radiant as the day you married her. She is still mourning you and even though it doesn’t make much sense since you got divorced, I guess love isn’t really supposed to make sense, right? Graca is looking healthy too and she is trying to come to terms with the loss and move on with her life, even with the in-fighting in the family.
I still vividly remember the day you left us. I was at Great Dane in Braamfontein with a group of friends enjoying the freedom that you and many others fought and eventually died for. Then the DJ played Johnny Clegg and Savuka’s “Asimbonanga” out of the blue. We were all puzzled. Then I noticed a young lady walk out the door crying. I looked at my friend Siya who was just as perplexed as I was. Then I logged onto Twitter and Facebook to find that the excruciating eventuality that we had all been dreading for months had become a reality – you were gone. I was overcome with emotion. Even though I tried my best to keep it hidden, it showed. Another girl left the room crying and it was now official. If I was in a different setting, by myself, I probably would have cried too because that is how close we felt we were to you.
It’s been seven months since you left and today is the first Mandela Day without you. It feels like having a party without the guest of honour. I won’t mention all the bad stuff that has been happening since December. I won’t mention the Nkandla scandal or the countless strikes we’ve been having or that your granddaughters Zaziwe and Swati have an atrocious reality show called “Being Mandela” that is putting the Mandela name to shame; nor will I mention how your funeral was turned into a public spectacle. I won’t mention any of that.
I will mention the beautiful speech that US President Barack Obama gave at your memorial service calling you “the last great liberator of the 20th century” and comparing you to greats like Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King. I thought that was a beautiful tribute fitting of a great man. Nadine Gordimer joined you a couple of days ago, I’m sure she and Maya Angelou will have a blast reciting beautiful literature for all eternity.
I don’t want to keep you for long. I’m sure you, Sisulu and Tambo have a lot of important duties to take care of. I just wanted to say happy birthday and that we miss you dearly. Life in SA isn’t as bad as people make it out to be. The “night of the long knives” was just a wive’s tale, so white people need not fear. But none of us can relax. We, the inheritors of your struggle, continue the long walk.
Feature Image courtesy of abcnews.go.com
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