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December 6, 2013

Mandela's Death: the ANC's Ace?

nelson-mandela
I can hear the slogans for South Africa's general election next year already: 'Honour Madiba and vote for his party'; 'Mandela gave his life, all you have to do is give your vote'.

It is an amazing coincidence that the death of Mandela comes just as some of the major issues over the last few years with President Jacob Zuma in power come to a head: Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report over the improvements done to the President's private residence in Nkandla is expected to be utterly damning; the arms deal commission should come to a close; the Marikana massacre is still on everyone's - especially the Economic Freedom Fighters' - minds; Zuma's cabinet has been plagued with wasteful government expenditure in the billions; the head of the ANC has been implicated, though this is unproven, in a landing by the Guptas - a family close to the government - at what is supposed to be the most secure air force base in the country; the e-tolls have just launched in Gauteng; ... and the list goes on.

Surely if there was an opportune time to distract South Africans, who are sick of the news of corruption, hearing that our schoolchildren fail to read and understand the most basic sentences or can barely add - though they're in high school - and preparing for a festive season that will, as always, empty their pockets and leave them exhausted for the New Year, this was it.

And who would not vote for the ANC now? It is the party of Nelson Mandela, the party he spent his life defending and promoting, the party that brought democracy to South Africa.

Only a few months before the general elections, and amidst overarching cries for President Jacob Zuma's impeachment, this might be the Ace up the ANC's sleeve that will get them another four years at the helm of South Africa's democracy.

Mayhaps the ANC is simply lucky that such a thing occurred now, in the midst of the discontent. But there is a 'conspiracy theory' making the rounds that Madiba actually passed away a long time ago. This is the result of a single news report from an American newspaper that claimed their sources said he had passed away, and after a few weeks in hospital, Mandela's family was involved in a fracas about graves in Mandela's homestead in Qunu and in Mandla Mandela's chieftaincy. There were even reports that a grave was being dug in Qunu.

Whatever the truth, I am just pleased that Nelson Mandela's spirit finally has peace, after being in pain for so long, being hounded by the media in his old age and ailing years, and dealing with a family that from all accounts seems obsessed with making money using his legacy.

Regardless of the truth, an icon has passed away, and I offer my condolences to those closest to him, and to the world for having lost an inspirational man.

Hamba Kahle, Nelson Mandela. May you be in Peace.

{Image credit: South Africa The Good News /  [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons}