Madiba has been on my mind almost constantly since hearing of his death. There was no shock, if anything a sense of relief, arms dropped after months of waving goodbye. I cannot say that I felt grief, he was 95, he had lived the most full and fruitful life, even during the prison years. What brough tears to my eyes was the sound of singing heard on radio 702 as they broadcast from his once home on Vilakazi street. The perfectly harmonised voices of people gathered to celebrate his life. South Africans were all touched by the ‘Madiba Magic’, but the magic of voices singing in harmony transcends everything. Unrehearsed living music, a lone voice spontaneously layered upon by others, a collective without ego. Mandela was the figurehead of unity, so perfectly fitting.
My thoughts have circled Mandela’s great, triumphant life but focusing on his light my heart has been heavy contemplating the darkness of the current ANC government. The contrast heartbreaking. I grieve for the values which he stood for, selflessness vs egomania, humility vs arrogance, dignity vs buffoonery, take any trait of Mandela’s and the opposing dark shadow is embodied in Jacob Zuma.
Politically I do not believe that his legacy will have any lasting impact, his values were forgotten in politics while he was still alive. Now his name will be used to advance political ends in the run up to next years general election. The people of South Africa are however his legacy. On Saturday we went to a pub / restaurant in Boksburg (a very right-wing town, after apartheid was abolished the people of Boksburg still tried to keep Boksburg lake as ‘whites only’). At the pub a bachelorette party was on the go, the bride to be was white. At the 2 tables of ladies having fun together at the party four race groups were represented, I smiled inside. This is his legacy, this is what he made possible.