- John Vlismas & Duncan Harling
Till the end of time, history will have it recorded that on the day leaders from across the globe joined South Africa to commemorate the life of Nelson Mandela, the heavens wept and president of the country was humiliated by his people. There is no way to undo that script. The ANC and the state are now in overdrive, trying to “contextualise” and explain why President Jacob Zuma was repeatedly booed during the memorial service. The international media narrative is now shifting to what is wrong with South Africa that its people would be angry enough to shame their president in front of the world, and whether Mandela’s legacy is being undone by his successor. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
The International Conference on Aids and Sexually Transmitted Infections (ICASA), which kicked off in Cape Town on Monday, is one of many important events which will not receive the media attention it would have warranted at any other time due to the mourning for Nelson Mandela. Mandela himself had a mixed record on HIV: initially failing to meaningfully address the growing problem during his presidency, and then becoming increasingly concerned about the inaction of his successor Thabo Mbeki on the matter. During the last years of his life Mandela devoted much time to speaking out for the rights of people living with HIV and Aids. He would undoubtedly be distressed to hear that the government’s ARV programme appears to be in some trouble. By REBECCA DAVIS.
It was a day set aside to remember former president Nelson Mandela, to pay tribute to a life well lived, to hail a man embraced across the political divides of South Africa, and indeed beyond. The day, however, may be remembered for different reasons, most notably the public booing of President Jacob Zuma. By KHADIJA PATEL.
If there was one thing that could not have been predicted before Nelson Mandela Memorial Service, it was the booing of President Jacob Zuma. It was, like the rain, unscheduled, and, for some unwelcome. There will be debates around whether it was right, and proper, to boo during a funeral. One thing cannot be taken away though: the people who are frustrated and angry at Zuma at FNB stadium today are not your natural DA voters. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
If only Parliament could be more like it was on Monday, every week: alive with members of the public thronging the walkways and queueing to take their place in the public gallery. They were there to place roses before to a flame of remembrance; to write messages on a commemorative wall; but most of all, to hear politicians from across the spectrum pay tribute to a man who changed South African politics forever. By REBECCA DAVIS.
When Mandela was captured in 1962 the police did not know that he had been overseas for military training and that he was Commander in Chief of the recently formed Umkhonto we Sizwe, Spear of the nation, (MK). It was only later, when Rivonia was raided that they came across documents that pointed to Mandela’s wider role. When Mandela appeared in court in 1962, he was defiant. As he entered he wore the attire of the abaThembu, thus asserting that he was not only a lawyer, an African, a believer in a South Africa that belonged to all who live in it, but also a Thembu. By RAYMOND SUTTNER.
"I was not born with a hunger to be free,” Nelson Mandela writes in his autobiography. He immediately explains, “I was born free - free in every way that I could know. Free to run in the fields near my mother’s hut, free to swim in the clear stream that ran through my village, free to roast mealies under the stars and ride the broad backs of slow-moving bulls. As long as I obeyed my father and abided by the customs of my tribe, I was not troubled by the laws of man or God.” By RAYMOND SUTTNER.
As most of the country and the world have stopped business as usual to remember Nelson Mandela, it would appear that at Independent Newspapers the bloodletting might be beginning. On Sunday it was reported that the editor of the Cape Times, Alide Dasnois, had been fired two days earlier. Immediately it was claimed this was because of a story she ran about one of the group chairman's companies, who denied it. If it is true that Iqbal Survé is interfering, Independent Newspapers and their journalists could be facing a very uncertain future. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Since Nelson Mandela’s passing last week, the electronic and print media, the public speeches and the public rhetoric have been full to overflowing with encomiums about his success as an unparalleled national reconciler - almost as if he had just been a kind of secular Mother Theresa in trousers. But Nelson Mandela clearly was a man - and a politician - of many parts and many important complexities. J. BROOKS SPECTOR steps back to take the first effort for a more contemplative look at Mandela’s political magic - in comparison with other great leaders.
“I was in awe of him,” struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada says about Nelson Mandela when he first encountered him as a 16-year-old; 68 years later, he still is, and his grief at the passing of his friend is profound and discernable. But together with fellow Robben Islander, Laloo Chiba, they remembered and celebrated the life of their comrade and friend in the best way they could – by sharing with the world the stories of their time together. Their banter and anecdotes were tender, sometimes funny, occasionally shocking and deeply moving. The memorial service hosted by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation was one of thousands of prayer and remembrance events for Madiba on Sunday as the world continues to honour his legendary life. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Nelson Mandela, as many have pointed out, had a complicated relationship with Cape Town. This weekend, mourners gathered to grieve and celebrate. The City of Cape Town’s response to Mandela’s death has been swift and efficient, with a reported operating budget of R72 million set aside for the days of mourning. But particularly at events held at the city’s Grand Parade, the turnout of people has perhaps not been in the numbers expected thus far. By REBECCA DAVIS.
The death of Nelson Mandela has put our everyday concerns to one side. No one right now is living in the political present, we are living in the political past, those moments during the Rivonia Trial, the State of Emergency, FW de Klerk’s 1990 speech, Madiba’s release, the talks and the talks about talks, the Chris Hani assassination, and that moment in 1994 when we realised that we really are free at last. Politically at least. But, it cannot be denied that we are now in a completely different political zone. Politics as we know it has been suspended. People who were professionally not speaking to each find themselves united, perhaps just briefly. This means that some processes are going to be simply paused, others changed, and some, possibly derailed. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
The memorial events and funeral of former president Nelson Mandela is of “unprecedented magnitude”, the South African government said on Saturday. From security to logistics, a massive planning operation involving multiple state departments is unfolding. With the world’s attention on South Africa, government has to ensure the smooth running of all the events where thousands of people, foreign dignitaries and a massive media contingent will gather over the next week to bid farewell to Madiba. So far, it is off to a bumpy start. Meanwhile, ordinary people are flocking to sites associated with Mandela to mourn and pay tribute. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
The media demand for comment on the death of Nelson Mandela from former South African president FW de Klerk and Archbishop Desmond Tutu has been so intense that in both cases it was judged wise to hold press conferences in Cape Town. De Klerk declined to use the opportunity for attacks on the South African status quo, as he’s often wont to. And gone were Tutu’s characteristic wisecracks: the Arch did not try to hide his visible distress at the passing of his old friend. By REBECCA DAVIS.
If there was any doubt about who really runs South Africa, it became patently obvious this week. On Tuesday, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe made a public call for the full report of the inter-ministerial task team investigation on Nkandla to be released. On Wednesday Cabinet decided to do exactly that. So the top-secret classification and supposed security concerns evaporated once Mantashe spoke. Then on Thursday, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela announced damning findings against three government departments and one serving and one former Cabinet minister. What does this say about the state of political leadership in South Africa? Lies, deceit, unethical conduct, nepotism, unlawfulness and maladministration are infested at the highest levels of government. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.