LEON JACOBS

Mandela the metaphor

Added on by Leon Jacobs.

The recently released footage of the Zuma administration visiting ailing statesman Nelson R. Mandela left me numb with shock. On the surface of it, it is a frail old man, receiving a visit from his friends.

But the images of the 94-year old Mandela, so devoid of the charisma and the life and joy and passion that propelled him to the world stage, and made him the darling of the world, has far deeper meaning. It is only now becoming clear - in the follow-up to rest of the week's news.

You see, there is no better metaphor for the liberated South Africa than Nelson Mandela himself. The optimism, the joy, the reconciliation and the hope that a country paralysed by fear and racism could be elevated to a new plane - to be a shining example for the entire world's people. All of that is wrapped in the persona of Mandela. 

In the recent few years, it has become clear that this President and his cabinet is unfit to lead this country effectively. They have abused the liberation to enrich themselves and they are sucking the life out of the hope. They doublespeak and divert attention. They allow textbooks to be dumped in rivers. They shoot at our people. They build mini-cities as homes. They send our army to protect their business interests. And they let their benefactors use our air force bases as their own private airports.

So when you see them smiling to the cameras, holding the hand of a dying Mandela, there is no better metaphor for what is happening everyday. Smiling, posing for the cameras, as the life of the nation slips away.