Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela 1918-2013
142 pages
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Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela 1918-2013

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142 pages
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December 2014 marked a year since the passing of Nelson Mandela—a man who was as much myth as flesh and blood. Transition pays tribute to Mandela's worldly attainments and to his otherworldly sainthood. Featuring remembrances from Wole Soyinka, Xolela Mangcu, Pierre de Vos, and Adam Habib, this issue assembles Mandela's staunchest allies—for whom he approached saintliness—as well as his most entrenched critics. Other contributors consider the iconicity of Mandela—including his representations in films; the importance of boxing to his political career; his time studying with the revolutionary army in Algeria; his stance on children's rights; and even his ill-fated trip to Miami.  Whoever you think Mandela was—or wasn't—this issue is the new required reading.

Published three times per year by Indiana University Press for the Hutchins Center at Harvard University, Transition is a unique forum for the freshest, most compelling ideas from and about the black world. Since its founding in Uganda in 1961, the magazine has kept apace of the rapid transformation of the African Diaspora and has remained a leading forum of intellectual debate. Transition is edited by Alejandro de la Fuente.


1 "Of Flesh and Blood"
An introduction from Transition's new editor, Alejandro de la Fuente

3 The Dance is Not Over
Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka claims Mandela as a semi-divine avatar, but acknowledges the
attendant naïveté—particularly about the depths of human evil—that sometimes came with occupying such a lofty position

14 Saying Goodbye to a Global Icon
Adam Habib, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand, suggests that the most respectful way to honor Mandela is to not lose sight of either his political shortcomings or the most difficult demands his humanitarian message makes of us

27 A Critic, in Retrospect
Though one of Mandela's staunchest critics, Xolela Mangcu is humble enough to admit being star struck by the great man, but still insists on the importance of infusing Mandela's anti-racial politics with a politics of racial justice and black power

40 Compassion and Corruption
Constitutional law expert and public scholar Pierre de Vos recalls how his life and the lives of countless Afrikaners were transformed by Mandela's forgiveness, yet wonders whether Mandela's compassion may have ultimately set the stage for a subversion of the rule of law

51 Discovering Mandela's Children
On a fellowship in South Africa with her family in tow, Warren Binford examines post-colonial Africa's pursuit of stringent laws protecting the rights of children, while reflecting upon the ideal of unity amidst enduring post-apartheid inequities

67 "The Algerian Army Made Me a Man"
Abdeldjalil Larbi Youcef reveals startling facts about a little-known period of Mandela's life, when he was on the lam in northern Africa and received a short, yet formative, introduction to armed resistance from the Algerian revolutionary forces

80 Some Monday for Sure Fiction
We pay homage to Nobel Prize laureate, ANC activist—and Mandela's friend—Nadine Gordimer (1923–2014) with this story that she first published in 1965 in the pages of Transition 18

98 A Snub for the Ages
Immediately following his release from prison, at a time when most of the world was celebrating Mandela, Marvin Dunn tells of how the leader was rebuffed by the city of Miami, where conservative Cubans and Jews took the opportunity to air their political grievances

106 Robben Island University
Mandela was "the world's most famous (former) prisoner," and Aaron Bady explores how prison served as a necessary prerequisite for political leadership in much of post-colonial Africa, then asks us to consider in what ways Mandela may still be imprisoned

120 To Think as a Boxer
Offering multiple ways of viewing a famous sculpture depicting a boxing Mandela, Kurt Campbell explores not only what it means to imagine Mandela as a boxer, but also reveals how a youth spent boxing might have shaped Mandela's activism and political vision

128 Fists Poetry
by Paul Theroux

130 Nelson Mandela's Two Bodies
Addressing the ubiquity of images of Nelson Mandela, art historian Steven Nelson suggests that these pictures allow the viewer to enter into a space of hope and reconciliation for which Mandela has come to stand, even as they risk obscuring our view of the real Mandela

143 The Watchmen
South African artist Jane Alexander's uncanny, life-sized sculptures—despite their seeming inscrutability—have been embraced as some of the most significant and evocative anti-apartheid art;
Transition presents a photo essay of Alexander's iconic works, with an introduction by Rebecca VanDiver

148 History, Iconicity, and Love
Meghan Healy-Clancy shares an historian's review of two recent Mandela-themed films, Mandela:
Long Walk to Freedom and Winnie Mandela, in which she critiques their simplified representations of the anti-apartheid struggle and, particularly, their inept handling of the roles women played in those efforts

167 Mourning Mandela
With camera in hand, Christopher J. Lee took to the streets following the death of Mandela to experience and document the ways that South Africans were memorializing the passing of their hero away from the limelight of the official state-sanctioned, celebrity-infused funeral

172 In the Village
Returning to his natal village in the same region that Mandela called home, Hugo Canham talks with elderly residents to get their take on Mandela's legacy and to ascertain whether they see themselves as participating in his politics of hope

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Date de parution 02 février 2015
Nombre de lectures 10
EAN13 9780253018540
Langue English
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Exrait

An introduction from Transition's new editor, Alejandro de la Fuente

3 The Dance is Not Over
Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka claims Mandela as a semi-divine avatar, but acknowledges the
attendant naïveté—particularly about the depths of human evil—that sometimes came with occupying such a lofty position

14 Saying Goodbye to a Global Icon
Adam Habib, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand, suggests that the most respectful way to honor Mandela is to not lose sight of either his political shortcomings or the most difficult demands his humanitarian message makes of us

27 A Critic, in Retrospect
Though one of Mandela's staunchest critics, Xolela Mangcu is humble enough to admit being star struck by the great man, but still insists on the importance of infusing Mandela's anti-racial politics with a politics of racial justice and black power

40 Compassion and Corruption
Constitutional law expert and public scholar Pierre de Vos recalls how his life and the lives of countless Afrikaners were transformed by Mandela's forgiveness, yet wonders whether Mandela's compassion may have ultimately set the stage for a subversion of the rule of law

51 Discovering Mandela's Children
On a fellowship in South Africa with her family in tow, Warren Binford examines post-colonial Africa's pursuit of stringent laws protecting the rights of children, while reflecting upon the ideal of unity amidst enduring post-apartheid inequities

67 "The Algerian Army Made Me a Man"
Abdeldjalil Larbi Youcef reveals startling facts about a little-known period of Mandela's life, when he was on the lam in northern Africa and received a short, yet formative, introduction to armed resistance from the Algerian revolutionary forces

80 Some Monday for Sure Fiction
We pay homage to Nobel Prize laureate, ANC activist—and Mandela's friend—Nadine Gordimer (1923–2014) with this story that she first published in 1965 in the pages of Transition 18

98 A Snub for the Ages
Immediately following his release from prison, at a time when most of the world was celebrating Mandela, Marvin Dunn tells of how the leader was rebuffed by the city of Miami, where conservative Cubans and Jews took the opportunity to air their political grievances

106 Robben Island University
Mandela was "the world's most famous (former) prisoner," and Aaron Bady explores how prison served as a necessary prerequisite for political leadership in much of post-colonial Africa, then asks us to consider in what ways Mandela may still be imprisoned

120 To Think as a Boxer
Offering multiple ways of viewing a famous sculpture depicting a boxing Mandela, Kurt Campbell explores not only what it means to imagine Mandela as a boxer, but also reveals how a youth spent boxing might have shaped Mandela's activism and political vision

128 Fists Poetry
by Paul Theroux

130 Nelson Mandela's Two Bodies
Addressing the ubiquity of images of Nelson Mandela, art historian Steven Nelson suggests that these pictures allow the viewer to enter into a space of hope and reconciliation for which Mandela has come to stand, even as they risk obscuring our view of the real Mandela

143 The Watchmen
South African artist Jane Alexander's uncanny, life-sized sculptures—despite their seeming inscrutability—have been embraced as some of the most significant and evocative anti-apartheid art;
Transition presents a photo essay of Alexander's iconic works, with an introduction by Rebecca VanDiver

148 History, Iconicity, and Love
Meghan Healy-Clancy shares an historian's review of two recent Mandela-themed films, Mandela:
Long Walk to Freedom and Winnie Mandela, in which she critiques their simplified representations of the anti-apartheid struggle and, particularly, their inept handling of the roles women played in those efforts

167 Mourning Mandela
With camera in hand, Christopher J. Lee took to the streets following the death of Mandela to experience and document the ways that South Africans were memorializing the passing of their hero away from the limelight of the official state-sanctioned, celebrity-infused funeral

172 In the Village
Returning to his natal village in the same region that Mandela called home, Hugo Canham talks with elderly residents to get their take on Mandela's legacy and to ascertain whether they see themselves as participating in his politics of hope

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TRANSITION
Transition was founded in 1961 in Uganda by the late Rajat Neogy and quickly established itself as a leading forum for intellectual debate. The first series of issues developed a reputation for tough-minded, far-reaching criticism, both cultural and political, and this series carries on the tradition .
Transition 116
AN INTERNATIONAL REVIEW
Editor
Alejandro de la Fuente
Visual Arts Editor
Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw
Managing Editor
Sara Bruya
Editorial Assistant
Adam McGee
Visual Arts Assistant
Amanda Lanham
Student Associate Editors
Laura Correa Ochoa
Amanda Fish
Mariam Goshadze
Publishers
Kwame Anthony Appiah
Henry Louis Gates, Jr .
Former Editors
Rajat Neogy, Founding Editor
Wole Soyinka
Henry Finder
Michael C. Vazquez
F. Abiola Irele
Laurie Calhoun
Tommie Shelby
Vincent Brown
Glenda Carpio
Editorial Board
Wole Soyinka, Chairman
George Reid Andrews
David Chariandy
Teju Cole
Laurent Dubois
Brent Hayes Edwards
Sujatha Fernandes
Tope Folarin
Kaiama L. Glover
Kellie Carter Jackson
Biodun Jeyifo
Carla D. Martin
Barbaro Martinez-Ruiz
Achille Mbembe
Siddhartha Mitter
Laurence Ralph
Antonio Tillis
CONTENTS
Of Flesh and Blood
An introduction from Transition s new editor , Alejandro de la Fuente
The Dance is Not Over
Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka claims Mandela as a semi-divine avatar, but acknowledges the attendant na vet -particularly about the depths of human evil-that sometimes came with occupying such a lofty position
Saying Goodbye to a Global Icon
Adam Habib , Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand, suggests that the most respectful way to honor Mandela is to not lose sight of either his political shortcomings or the most difficult demands his humanitarian message makes of us
A Critic, in Retrospect
Though one of Mandela s staunchest critics , Xolela Mangcu is humble enough to admit being star struck by the great man, but still insists on the importance of infusing Mandela s anti-racial politics with a politics of racial justice and black power
Compassion and Corruption
Constitutional law expert and public scholar Pierre de Vos recalls how his life and the lives of countless Afrikaners were transformed by Mandela s forgiveness, yet wonders whether Mandela s compassion may have ultimately set the stage for a subversion of the rule of law
Discovering Mandela s Children
On a fellowship in South Africa with her family in tow , Warren Binford examines post-colonial Africa s pursuit of stringent laws protecting the rights of children, while reflecting upon the ideal of unity amidst enduring post-apartheid inequities
The Algerian Army Made Me a Man
Abdeldjalil Larbi Youcef reveals startling facts about a little-known period of Mandela s life, when he was on the lam in northern Africa and received a short, yet formative, introduction to armed resistance from the Algerian revolutionary forces
Some Monday for Sure Fiction
We pay homage to Nobel Prize laureate, ANC activist-and Mandela s friend- Nadine Gordimer (1923-2014) with this story that she first published in 1965 in the pages of Transition 18
A Snub for the Ages
Immediately following his release from prison, at a time when most of the world was celebrating Mandela , Marvin Dunn tells of how the leader was rebuffed by the city of Miami, where conservative Cubans and Jews took the opportunity to air their political grievances
Robben Island University
Mandela was the world s most famous (former) prisoner, and Aaron Bady explores how prison served as a necessary prerequisite for political leadership in much of post-colonial Africa, then asks us to consider in what ways Mandela may still be imprisoned
To Think as a Boxer
Offering multiple ways of viewing a famous sculpture depicting a boxing Mandela , Kurt Campbell explores not only what it means to imagine Mandela as a boxer, but also reveals how a youth spent boxing might have shaped Mandela s activism and political vision
Fists Poetry
by Paul Theroux
Nelson Mandela s Two Bodies
Addressing the ubiquity of images of Nelson Mandela, art historian Steven Nelson suggests that these pictures allow the viewer to enter into a space of hope and reconciliation for which Mandela has come to stand, even as they risk obscuring our view of the real Mandela
The Watchmen
South African artist Jane Alexander s uncanny, life-sized sculptures-despite their seeming inscrutability-have been embraced as some of the most significant and evocative anti-apartheid art; Transition presents a photo essay of Alexander s iconic works, with an introduction by Rebecca VanDiver
History, Iconicity, and Love
Meghan Healy-Clancy shares an historian s review of two recent Mandela-themed films , Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and Winnie Mandela, in which she critiques their simplified representations of the anti-apartheid struggle and, particularly, their inept handling of the roles women played in those efforts
Mourning Mandela
With camera in hand , Christopher J. Lee took to the streets following the death of Mandela to experience and document the ways that South Africans were memorializing the passing of their hero away from the limelight of the official state-sanctioned, celebrity-infused funeral
In the Village
Returning to his natal village in the same region that Mandela called home , Hugo Canham talks with elderly residents to get their take on Mandela s legacy and to ascertain whether they see themselves as participating in his politics of hope
Cover: Street art near Plaza Cabestreros, Madrid, Spain (detail). June 3, 2012. The square has recently been renamed Nelson Mandela Square. Photo by r2hox. 2012 r2hox
IN MEMORIAM
F EW T RANSITION WRITERS could be said to have been more fearless, fiery, or intellectually curious than Ali Mazrui (1933-2014). A political theorist by training, Mazrui was one of Transition s most frequent contributors and one of the magazine s earliest associate editors. His contributions were always guaranteed to spark controversy. Most notably, his essay Nkrumah: The Leninist Czar, published in Transition 26 just months after Nkrumah was forced into exile, reads as a forensic report of failed leadership. It was hotly debated by political and literary luminaries in the pages of numerous Transition issues, in the days when Rajat Neogy delighted in publishing rowdy, no-holds-barred letters from readers. However, Mazrui s interest could hardly be contained by politics alone, and he wrote on topics as diverse as heart transplants, the religious dimensions of suicide, and (in one of the most vivid personal battles to ever play out in the pages of Transition ) why Wole Soyinka was wrong about nearly everything. In more recent years, in the wake of 9/11, Mazrui had risen to even greater prominence as a public intellectual who spoke eloquently in defense of Islam, against the absolutist claims of radicals on all sides. As Africa mourns the passing of a famous son, the world mourns the loss of a brave and creative mind. Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji un!
-The Editors

Nelson Mandela . . . The True Electric State (detail) . Acrylic on canvas. 4.2 4.2 meters. 2013 Paul Blomkamp
Of Flesh and Blood
Alejandro de la Fuente
I AGREE, WE are not ready to let Mandela go. Not now. Not yet. Not after Michael Brown, the teenager from Ferguson, Missouri. Not after Trayvon Martin, the teenager from Miami Gardens, Florida. Not after Eric Garner, the cigarettes guy, of Staten Island, New York. There are many more.
We desperately need that which Mandela was uniquely capable of giving: hope. Many writers here agree-even when they agree on little else-that Mandela s most important legacy was his ability to reach out across boundaries of race, culture, and class, to fabricate unusual moments of shared humanity, even in the most unlikely circumstances. Such humanity was not sustained in perfection (although it is tempting to flatten him into something devoid of life and sweat), but in the conviction that it is only through the lives, needs, and dreams of others that a person can fully be. As a dear friend of his once put it, his was a way of living for the freedom of others.
That dear friend needs no introduction. Not here, not in Transition , a magazine that published her work as early as 1965. As we prepared this special issue to honor Mandela, as we paused to reflect on his accomplishments and legacies, we learned of the death of Nadine Gordimer. The winner of the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature, Gordimer s writing captured the anxieties, conflicts, and horrors of South African society under apartheid. Even if it wasn t apartheid that made her a writer, as she once said, it is difficult to imagine her writings without apartheid. Several of her books were banned by the South African regime, which knew of her contacts with Mandela, whom she had met in 1964 during the Rivonia Trial. That s the trial that sentenced him to life imprisonment, the trial that condemned him to immortality. To have lived one s life at the same time, and in the same natal country, as Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a guidance and a privilege we South Africans shared. I also knew the privilege of becoming one of his friends, Gordimer wrote after Mandela s death. Mandela: not a figure carved in stone but a tall man, of flesh and blood, whose suffering had made him not vengeful but still more human-even toward the people who had created the prison that was apartheid.
That tall man of flesh and blood was no saint. Nor was he universally adored, as some contributions to this issue make clear. He had critics. He had failings. Some of his public actions were polemical, perhaps even condemnable. We need to retain his great gestures of conciliation and inclusion-the cup of tea with Betsie Verwoerd, the Springboks jersey-but we also need to retain other aspects of his complex life. That life was not devoid of violence, as his training with the Algerian anticolonial forces demonstrates. Nor was he above polarization, his conciliatory demeanor notwithstanding. He was a friend to Muammar Qaddafi. He was a friend to Yasser Arafat. He was a friend to Fidel Castro. These friendships were rooted in gratefulness, but each of those friends meant enemies, people who felt betrayed or, worse, disregarded by Mandela. As if their pain did not matter. As if they did not deserve their own gestures of conciliation and human touch.
Mandela was almost seventy-two by the time he walked out of prison. And yet this tall man of flesh and blood found the energy to fight racism, hatred, poverty, disease, and intolerance. He bequeathed Africa with a precious gift, the rare democratic gesture of stepping down from office after one presidential term. He lowered his salary, in a place and age where office is frequently a shortcut to enrichment. His freedom he used, and used well, to enhance the freedom of others.
So my answer to Adam Habib s question in this issue of how to say goodbye to a global icon is: we don t. We have much to do, too many freedoms to enhance. And neither that we itself-nor the tasks that await us -can be conceived without Madiba.
The Dance Is Not Over
Wole Soyinka
I NDEED, IT DOES not look like stopping soon. It does not look as if it will ever stop. Frankly I am not anxious that it should. I warned Nelson Mandela, even as I complained of being threatened by his inhuman generosity. No, not directly, but I do have it on record. Here it is, from the poem Your Logic Frightens Me.
Your bounty threatens me, Mandela, that taut Drum skin of your heart on which our millions Dance . . .
Living, the drum skin did not slacken. For twenty-seven years on Robben Island it did not, and now, migrated to the dwelling place of the ancestors, that drum skin refuses yet to sag. Will it ever? From the Arctic wastes of the Urals, to the southernmost tip of Australasia, the world beats and dances on that drumskin. So, what is it that incites and sustains this incessant evocation? We hope that the peace of the indulgent ancestors remains unbroken by this recent, irrepressible entrant to whom the entire world appears to serve as a devoted retinue, a stoic giant whose very absence threatens to redefine eternity. So be it. In this affair-and an affair it is in a very mortal sense-we mortals are not answerable to envious gods.
When he lay ill, battling mortality, his life-long friend and comrade pleaded with his countrymen, and indeed the world, saying, It is time to let him go. How wrong he was! How wrong he is. And why? Well, look around the world today and examine the pathetic contrast, the gallery of aliens who lay claim to the leadership of a continent. Given the abattoir of religious frenzy from which I have just emerged, I must be forgiven for succumbing to temptation and proposing a new word to distinguish the species of leaders with which the planet is cursed: I ll call it bleedership . That is what comes to mind when I consider the ubiquitous species whose mission on the planet is not to lead, but to bleed a continent dry of its human, material, even spiritual resources, of which-in my estimation-freedom is the most innately experienced by most. Mandela was a warrior leader, but of that breed that is averse to bleedership. He proved it, and in the process, threw a challenge to the world.

Funeral of two comrade youth abducted and killed in the Natal War. Mphophomeni, Howick. Photo by Cedric Nunn. 1987 Cedric Nunn
The treachery of leadership is, of course, a universal curse, more so in some places than others. Cast your glance in the direction of Syria, Somalia, Central Africa and further away, most lately, the Ukraine. How else to describe a feudal move towards territorial theft by King Putin, an anachronistic gambit against a neighbor that just happens to be smaller and weaker? Such in-your-face provocations, designed to inaugurate new zones of avoidable hemorrhage, compel one to reach for contrasts in responsible neighborliness and ethical leadership. As long as comparisons between the real and the possible-not even ideal, but simply possible-are provoked into being, it becomes clear: the world is simply not yet ready to let Mandela go.
It is why-to speak the language of my stock of unabashed mythologists-we leave him suspended across that invisible space that I once named the Transitional Abyss. It is a cosmic realm through which, in Yoruba cosmology, the soul must pass on its journey from the living into the ancestral world, or from the world of the unborn into the world of the living. That liminal space, saturated with emanations from cosmic, inhuman energies, is a way station for those we call avatars, a birthing realm for new beings, rare species of humanity. Some have chosen to name Nelson Mandela a messiah come to earth via the prison gates. I come, however, from a culture where the pantheon expands effortlessly and takes life from new encounters, where godhead energy is neither static nor unitary but multiple, replenished daily by mortal makers of new histories, bearers of new visions and new designs-that Transitional Realm which I have now renamed, in my private mythology, Mandeland, the dwelling place of avatars.
When I was called upon to add my pennyworth to the tidal waves of eulogies after his death, I had only this pronouncement to make: The soul of Africa is departed, and there is nothing left miraculous in the whole wide world. Those who recall their Antony and Cleopatra know that there was nothing original about those lines. The only arresting aspect was a personal one-perhaps the spontaneity with which my mind flew to such a passage which, in the original, reads, The crown o the earth doth melt . . . / And there is nothing left remarkable / Beneath the visiting moon. As you see, one can only try, but there is only one Shakespeare, just as there is only one Mandela!
The soul of Africa is departed, and there is nothing left miraculous in the whole wide world.
Only later, in retrospect, did that play strike me as being singularly appropriate as Source. The entire wide world has indulged in a love affair with the person called Madiba, including those who were not born at the time of the Rivonia Trials, or those who never heard of a bearded revolutionary named Fidel Castro and his equally legendary defense- La historia me absolver , History will absolve me. It is within that ancient tradition-of Martin Luther, his eponymous civil rights leader, King, and others-that Mandela s Rivonia affirmation belongs, and continues to challenge the world. Yet there is a critical difference among the followers of that path. That difference is caught, I think, in the afterthought that followed my spontaneous recourse to Cleopatra s lines. I recognize it, very simply, as the phenomenon of love. You need only compare Mandela s post-apartheid disposition with Castro s post-victory disposal of Batista s henchmen.
Antony and Cleopatra -with some competition here and there-is often referred to as the greatest love story the world has ever known. Perhaps because it is a love story with a historic sweep, a grandeur that is missing from, for instance, one of its major rivals, Romeo and Juliet . The love we are speaking of, however, is of utterly different attributes from either, or indeed from the many dramatic essays on that rapture-Love-to which humanity is so prone. Madiba s is marked by an abnormal largesse-call it universal compassion. This is what makes it possible for the world to reciprocate, find a niche within it, and remain enamored with a legend, a return that Nelson Mandela himself recognized and respected, though I remain convinced that it did eventually become a burden from which he had to be protected. For me, early and fortuitous evidence of his resignation to this life burden took place shortly after his release, when he traveled to Jamaica. So, all I have done once again is to borrow words-this time, Mandela s-from a seemingly insignificant incident that was, however, symbolic of his fate.
As the officials, security, and hosts flapped around like stranded fish, he simply gave his broad smile and said, Don t worry. It was simply excess love.
By one of those remarkable accidents of timing, I was in Jamaica at the time. Nelson Mandela arrived for a civic reception. Even the so-called dons, those murderous garrison lords of Jamaican criminal turfs, had declared a total truce, and were even reportedly present at the event, with all their lieutenants. The tumult of that afternoon can be imagined. Eventually, even Jamaica s irrepressible ardor died down. Madiba mounted the podium, looked to one side, then the other, reaching instinctively for his prepared speech. I have forgotten some of the details of that incident, Mandela s first visit to the Caribbean, but the core event was this: on this special outing, Mandela was robbed. The folder containing his speech, supposedly kept by one of his aides, had vanished. In the melee that submerged him and his guards between the car and the venue, the world s Number One ex-prisoner had been dispossessed. It all fitted in. Dispossessed of land for centuries, dispossessed of freedom for a generation, it was a fitting coda that he should be dispossessed of his words but, this time among his own people-in the diaspora-and also through, in his own submission, a crime of love.
For this was precisely Nelson Mandela s response to that act of-to you and me, perhaps-violation. Certainly, an inhospitable act. Inconsiderate, if not downright disrespectful. As the officials, security, and hosts flapped around like stranded fish, wondering what to do, he simply gave his broad smile and said, Don t worry. It was simply excess love. And he proceeded to deliver an impromptu address.
The world s love is expressed in many different ways. Purloining an essential, active souvenir -as opposed to beard shavings, for instance-may seem unkind and thoughtless but, well, love does different things to different people in different ways. Many simply love to be in love with a legend. They do not wish to be left high and dry while the rest of the world is immersed in waves of a universal love fest. Others simply wish to bask in the glow of a phenomenon, a rarity that seems unlikely to be manifested ever again in their lifetime. For a vast majority, however, the adulation goes deeper, much deeper, and-ironically-simpler. I believe that, even among those who have never undergone the condition of servitude-in whatever form-and perhaps cannot even empathize with those who have, there is an innate recognition of a basic constituent of what we call humanity. I mentioned the word earlier; it is known quite simply as Freedom. That ineradicable human right to self-volition. Suppressed, even sometimes across generations-sometimes, as we have learnt to learn, even across centuries-it remains embedded somewhere in the recesses of the human genome, dormant, obscured by the seeming acceptance of a condition of subservience. Of external imposition. One day, however, from an unrecognizable source, from a remote nowhere of circumstance, often not immediately traceable to source, it erupts.

Inkatha Freedom Party members bury their dead in the Natal War. Midlands. Photo by Cedric Nunn. 1987 Cedric Nunn
Every revolution, every human uprising, is subject to objective analysis. Even before it happens, the iniquitous material circumstances of society, disparities in material possessions, privileges, and opportunities make it possible to predict its coming eruption. Afterwards, there is the post-facto analysis. Our most recent example is the so-named Arab Spring that began in Africa s Maghreb region and swept away decades of feudal dictatorship that, to all appearances, had become enshrined as a way of life for life. But suddenly it happens. We are left to cite history, economics, statistics-these can even be transmitted in the language of quantification. There is, however, a less palpable trigger that is often understated, a subjective product of objective conditions, an enabling factor in origin or intensity, one that is often dismissed as an irrelevant factor, regarded as mushy, undialectical, almost theological (I hinted earlier at spiritual) in apprehension, much given to sloganeering. That innate particle of existence is Freedom. Undiluted. Unqualified. Freedom and the dignity that comes with it. Everyone understands what that is-its deprivation creates a tension-even within the individual, but most commonly between the individual and the external world, be that externality known as family, clan, community, state or nation, religion, creative self-expression, Freedom as sought even from the factory floor drudgery for an absentee boss. It represents one end of a historic axis, mostly an eternal one, with Bondage at one end and Freedom at the other.

Prayer service at the scene of a massacre in which twelve people were gunned down. KwaMakhuta, KwaZulu/Natal. Photo by Cedric Nunn. 1987 Cedric Nunn
On that axis-Control and Resistance-spins the history of humanity. Take the notorious instance of slavery. Economic factors are rightly cited as the basis of the slave trade, resulting in its prolonged, stubborn retention, just as that very factor also played a role in its abolition. Nonetheless, the definition of that inhuman condition called bondage or servitude is what is experienced by the victim: the absence of freedom. And that-let us be clear about this-is the ultimate factor in social revolt, the triggering mechanism that detonates the critical mass of individual or communal resentment. This, I am persuaded, is what is subconsciously absorbed into the minds and emotions of millions as they watch Nelson Mandela (turned protagonist of Universal Man), namely, a recognition that each human entity remains incomplete without the felt essence of Freedom, that one s humanity is a sham without the self-realization that Freedom confers. Thus, both through objective history and subjective temperament, Mandela stood tall as the very expression of the innermost craving of each and every one of us. Nearly three decades loss of freedom in pursuit of, and in defense of, that core of human validation. It is thus an affair of self-love that derives from inner recognition, from inner-directed empathy. It becomes infectious, communally embraced, then conferred, bestowed, projected unto a deserving protagonist for our innermost craving. This is how the figures of mythology come to exist, the figures of rebellion against supremacy, even seeming-omnipotence. The Promethean in each of us, the Ogun essence in whatever guise, Loki in defiance of Thor.
One of my favorite stories from Nigeria s struggle against dictatorship under the murderous regime of General Sani Abacha was enacted on the podium of the United Nations. I have cited it on a few occasions but that story has a very special relevance to this occasion, so forgive me if you ve heard it before. The nation s representative to the UN stood before the world to defend the indefensible, and what were the words he used? And do recall that Democracy is simply the practical politics of our concern here, which is Freedom, the outer expression of which results in a prelate of Archbishop Desmond Tutu s stature bursting into dance on the floor of that same United Nations when, for the first time in his life, he acquired the right to vote! But this is what the Nigerian diplomat had to say:
Can we eat democracy? Can we put it in a pot and cook it? Like food? The government is transforming agriculture so as to make food available for everyone. The government is even sanitizing the banking system, yet we have people shouting Democracy, Democracy! Can the people eat democracy?
Now, let me situate this story in its full contextual horror. Nigeria was on trial before the world for executing nine environmental activists, led by the writer Ken Saro-Wiwa. They were all hanged, you will recall, after a kangaroo trial, a so-called trial of such a cynical negation of just proceeding that the defense lawyers in what became known as the Ogoni Nine Trial had no choice but to withdraw. The United Nations and Heads of State from all over the world, led by Nelson Mandela, interceded and pleaded that the Nigerian government commute those death sentences. The UN sent a delegation to Nigeria; Nelson Mandela personally phoned the Nigerian dictator General Sani Abacha and obtained from him assurance that the sentence would not be carried out. Sani Abacha defied the world. In an act of unbelievable contempt for his peers who were gathered in New Zealand for a Summit of the Commonwealth Heads of State, Abacha chose that very moment of the opening of the conference to hang all nine.
Madiba struck me sometimes as na ve when it came to capturing the potential depths of human depravity and derangement.
I traveled to Auckland to take up position for the arrival of the Heads of State, so I was present when Nelson Mandela arrived for the Summit. My mission was to impress on those leaders the need to intensify the pressure on Abacha. I knew what a full-blown psychopath the world was dealing with. When Nelson Mandela landed at the airport, he was predictably bombarded by the world press, only one topic on their minds: what was going on in Nigeria? What was the likely fate of the Ogoni Nine? Was he in communication with the dictator? And so on and so on. Mandela waved them off blithely, assuring them that he had received personal assurance from the very man in whose hands lay the fate of Ken Saro-Wiwa and his comrades. He even chided the press, lightheartedly, for sensationalizing the situation. Alas, he did not know Sani Abacha. Even Nelson Mandela could not conceive of Abacha. It was clearly written on his face, transparent in his body language. Mandela s confidence only made us redouble our efforts, hounding the Foreign Ministers in their hotels and waylaying what Heads of State we could.
With only one exception or two, they all displayed the same insouciance. How, they demanded, could Sani Abacha hang those men in the midst of world intervention, and on the eve of the Commonwealth Conference, of which Nigeria was a part? One of them-I ll never forget this, certainly not the snide expression that went with his words-said to me, Mr. Soyinka, don t you think-no offence meant-but don t you think you are getting carried away by your dramatist temperament? Well, that diplomat lived to apologize to me when we met a year or so later (he had been posted to Nigeria as Ambassador or Consul-General, I forget now). The world, like him, was wrong. And it was the only time I have known Mandela to publicly blow his top. Anguish and anger are release valves for thwarted love. The statesman vanished. The disciplined revolutionary evaporated. Realpolitik was thrown overboard. There was only his naked being left, and he lashed out from the depth of anguish, from the depths of his violated love for humanity. And so we come to my favorite pronouncement of Nelson Mandela s, one that defines him for all time and-for me-offers up his inner being. It was not simply the words in themselves-I wish to stress that! It was the spontaneity, the utter sincerity of intent. No dissembling. No evasion, simply the unvarnished outburst of his violated humanity: Sani Abacha is sitting on a volcano, and I shall detonate it under him! Those words, that moment of affirmation remain my most memorable gift from Nelson Mandela. It was an annunciation of what had to be done, an exhortation to those whom this, and the humiliating condition of an ongoing enslavement, most intimately concerned.

UDF rally. Durban, KwaZulu/Natal. Photo by Cedric Nunn. 1984 Cedric Nunn
We all take our bits and pieces out of avatars, discarding the rest. Questions will always raise their heads, such as: Did this avatar ever falter? Did he ever act in contradiction of his own principles? We must be honest in our assessment. I would dare say, for instance, that Madiba struck me sometimes as na ve when it came to capturing the potential depths of human depravity and derangement. Na ve may sound an irreverent expression to apply to someone of Mandela s wisdom and stature. But he was, he was. Ask Desmond Tutu and Graca Samora-Machel about a private dinner we had one evening in Pretoria-or was it Johannesburg? I am somewhat uncertain now. It was quite soon after his release. There was just Desmond Tutu, Graca and I to begin with, then he joined us-I seem to recall-from an ANC meeting. The dinner subject had turned to the now-deceased self-styled King of Africa, the Libyan dictator, Colonel Qaddafi. Nelson Mandela had extended a firm hand of public support to him at a time when Qaddafi s sadistic rule over his own people had moved beyond excuses or denial. We were demanding a voice of denunciation. Mandela s perception was straightforward: a ruler who had given political and material support to the South African struggle could not be the monster that he was painted to be by the West.
Desmond Tutu, Graca Machel, and I were ranged against him. We pressed our argument and attacked him with his own animating credo of the basic right of the African citizen to Freedom, insisting that this must form the heartbeat of liberation without qualification. Mandela was stuck over the issue of loyalty, so each side operated from a totally different set of parameters. I had a feeling that Nelson Mandela privately acknowledged that he had been hoisted onto the horns of a dilemma. In the hour of need, at the height of the anti-apartheid struggle, Qaddafi had proved a dependable ally while the Western world dithered and compromised, applied double standards in their policies towards a conflict that was based on the democratic ethos. And so it went on that evening.
Let us recall this, however. Mandela s notion of loyalty was of a totally different quality from what I call the solidarity of the school tie that animated most members of the club of African leaders, that is, I turn a blind eye to your criminalities, you assist me in sticking to power no matter what, and vice versa . No! Mandela had no taste for personal survival, for self-perpetuation. He had no interest in power. His world was encapsulated in the holistic ethos of liberation. To all those who made that liberation a reality, his loyalty became a duty.
That evening, as he took his leave of us, it was clear-to me, at least-that it was with a heavy heart. Avatars are also human. And so, we slice them, not dismember them, not take them apart, simply slice and appropriate those parts of them that answer our multivalent challenges, knowing that the totality of a Mandela cannot be appropriated even on a holistic plane of humanistic grounding. My choice of the avatar slice is as subjective as that of the next individual s, and I freely admit it. That choice remains:
Sani Abacha is sitting on a volcano, and I shall detonate it under him.
I learnt later of the intense agony that the Abacha crime had caused him, and how additionally excruciating was the aftermath, when the protagonists of political pragmatism in his government compelled him to backpedal from whatever course of action against the Nigerian dictator he found appropriate and strongly advocated. We were saddened by the conciliatory noises that later emerged from South Africa, but it hardly mattered. Nelson Mandela should not be expected to fight all the battles of the continent, or of the world. It was sufficient that he had revealed the essence of his humanism in response to an inhuman violation. It was up to us to reciprocate the combative also within that love, stern but just, generous, expansive, and enfolding. It is precisely why, despite whatever frailties we presume to discern, despite errors of judgment we ascribe to the statesman and politician, the avatar remains intact, the dance continues, the drum skin holds firm, and not merely as wistful memory.
We all need a touchstone. Until the world of political leadership is populated-not even totally, but simply in the main-by leaders with a genuine love of humanity, demonstrable in their actions, the world cannot quite let Nelson Mandela go. The dance is anything but over.

RIP tata. Photo taken at at the Nelson Mandela memorial at FNB stadium in Soweto. Courtesy of the artist. 2013 Jonathan Wood
Saying Goodbye to a Global Icon
Adam Habib
H OW DO YOU say goodbye to a global icon?
This is the question that confronts us as a collective humanity in the year following Nelson Mandela s death. It is a year when we collectively stood aside as Israel went into Gaza, bombed it from the air and invaded it on the ground, resulting in the death of 2104 people, seventy percent civilians, including 495 children. It is the year when the geopolitical machinations of the United States, Russia, and Western Europe culminated in Russia s recolonization of the Crimea (even if with the blessing of the majority of its inhabitants), plunging the Ukraine into civil war and resulting in the downing of a Malaysian airplane by a Russian missile fired by Ukrainian separatists, killing 298 people. It is the year when the Ebola virus ran rampant across borders in West Africa, and the inequality of our world-and its racial overtones-became starkly evident, as African citizens died through the failure of their health systems while their sickened American and European counterparts, many of whom were good Samaritans, were flown back home to get world-class health care. It is the year when Ferguson, Missouri exploded because a white policeman deemed it appropriate to shoot and kill a young unarmed black teenager for no cause, making a mockery of the President s imagination of a post-racial United States. It is the year when the children of South Africa s townships-Taegrin Morris, Luke Tibbetts, Dimaksu Shabangu, and so many more-continued to be the victims of violent crime, gang warfare, and Muti (witchcraft) murders in a democratic South Africa that has as its goal the inclusion of all, including the country s most marginalized. All of this happened in a year when the world was under the political watch of Barack Obama, David Cameron, Angela Merkel, and Jacob Zuma, all of whom claim to revere Nelson Mandela and honor his memory.
Mandela, belovedly known as Madiba, led a magnificent life in the service of humanity. This is why there was such an outpouring simultaneously of grief and celebration with his passing. Houghton, the suburb in Johannesburg where he lived, was blanketed with flowers and with people from all over South Africa and the world. Madiba brought South Africa and the world together like no other. Perhaps his widow, Graca Machel, put it best when I visited their home to pay respects on Madiba s passing. She said,
This is his final gift to South Africa. He could have just passed on and we would have mourned. But he lingered on for six months and in the process got us to think about what it means to lose Madiba, what he stood for, and, most of all, how to unite across the social boundaries that separate us.
South Africa united in grief and celebration across race, class, generation, party, and ideology. The real challenge for the country is how to make it sustainable going forward?
But South Africans were not the only ones who mourned. The entire world came together at Madiba s passing. This is because he was a global icon. In part this had to do with his ability to come out of prison after twenty-seven years without any sense of rancor. In part it had to do with him having pioneered reconciliation, especially at the moment when South Africa faced its greatest threat, the 1993 assassination of Chris Hani, then the country s second-most-popular political leader after Madiba, and the general-secretary of its Communist Party. But Madiba was also a global icon because of the fact that he gave up the presidency after only one term. He could have been president for life, but he chose to walk away from hard political power. In the process, he became the personification of soft power. No president in the world had what Madiba had. He could have phoned anyone at any time of the night and they would have taken his call. He could berate anyone (as he did both Bill Clinton and George Bush, Jr. on separate occasions) and they would politely listen. He dined with kings and presidents, but walked with the common person. Madiba was one of the rare few who could claim the mantle of being a truly global icon.
In the last six months of his life, I often got asked by one or other foreign journalist about South Africa s future when Madiba passed on. Can you imagine American political analysts being asked whether the U.S. will collapse after Obama passes on?


Hamba Kahle Mandela (goodbye Mandela). Photo taken at at the Nelson Mandela memorial at FNB stadium in Soweto. Courtesy of the artist. 2013 Jonathan Wood
Again, then, how do we say goodbye to a global icon?
The answer must be: with dignity and by being true to the values that she or he fought for . By these standards, we all have done Nelson Mandela a disservice. The international press corps covered his drawn-out illness because the world cared about his passing. But all too often, their coverage of South Africa and its future would have dismayed Madiba. In the last six months of his life, and in the year or two preceding his death, I often got asked by one or other foreign journalist about South Africa s future when Madiba passed on. Implicit in this question was the very answer they hoped for. Can you imagine American political analysts being asked whether the U.S. will collapse after Obama passes on? Or would journalists have had the temerity to ask whether the United Kingdom would collapse with the passing of Margaret Thatcher?
Why then did these journalists think it was appropriate for the same question to be posed about South Africa? After all, Mandela had not been politically active for fourteen years, and had retired from public life for almost a decade before his death. At its best interpretation, the question can be said to have been borne of ignorance. At worse, it was a product of racial prejudice. Do not mistake me: South Africa has serious problems-economic inequality, poverty, chronic unemployment, political polarization, violent crime, women and child abuse, and the list goes on. But none of these problems, or the stability or challenges in South Africa s future, had anything to do with the presence or absence of Madiba. He had made his unique contribution. Now South Africa s future-both its positive and negative elements-lies in the hands, and was the responsibility of, its contemporary leaders and citizens.
Mandela s family had also let him down in the last days of his life. The public squabbles between members of the family; his daughters taking his long-time friend and executor of his will, George Bizos, to court; the legal scandal over the exhumation of his deceased children s remains and their reburial in another village by his grandson Mandla; the shenanigans of his granddaughters in a reality TV show on one of the Fox stations in the United States; and finally, the disrespect exhibited by some of the family to his caregiver Zelda Le Grange and to his wife Graca Machel, graphically depicted in the former s biography, Good Morning, Mr Mandela -all left a sour taste in one s mouth. Perhaps the aura of indignity that surrounded Madiba in his last days was most symbolically captured by the outrageous behavior of his daughter Makaziwe, when she accused the international press of racism simply because they were camped outside the hospital where her father lay.
The South African government and the leadership of the ANC also did not cover themselves with glory in this regard. The erosion of their legitimacy with regards to providing honest reports of Madiba s health resulted from shambolic communications and even outright lies, especially in the case of the then Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, who suggested in a press conference outside a hospital that she had just visited Mandela when subsequent reports proved that he had not even been there. But perhaps the indignity with which Madiba was treated in his last days was best symbolized by three separate events. The first was when the ambulance transporting Mandela to the hospital broke down, and he was stranded on the national highway between Johannesburg and Pretoria for forty minutes before another could reach him. The second was when ANC leaders subjected a tired and visibly ill Mandela to photo opportunities a few months before his death. Finally, at the memorial service of the global icon at the FNB stadium in Johannesburg, South Africans and the world were witness to the spectacle of a fraudster pretending to translate the proceedings into sign language. South Africans seethed at this most of all, not only because it presented the country in the worst possible light, but also since it undermined the dignity of the very occasion when the country mourned and celebrated its most beloved and famous son. Yet, these indignities perhaps represented Madiba s final sacrifice for South Africans, by symbolically and graphically capturing the suffering of the country s poor, who are daily subjected to the travesties inflicted upon them by an unaccountable political elite and an inefficient public service.

Umkhonto we Sizwe. Photo taken at at the Nelson Mandela memorial at FNB stadium in Soweto. Courtesy of the artist. 2013 Jonathan Wood
The passing of an elderly global statesman is a poignant moment for the world. It should be a moment of dignity and subdued celebration of a life well lived. It should be an occasion when all those involved behave in a way which speaks to the very values of the life that was lived. Yet, in Madiba s last days, many-family, government, and the global press corps-collectively failed to provide a dignified send-off to someone whom we all professed to have cared about, and who was perhaps one of the greatest icons of the twentieth century.

Mandela was not a saint, of course. Like all human beings, he had his failings. He was not renowned as a political administrator, although he was an outstanding leader. For much of his tenure as president, the administration of the state was in the hands of his deputy, Thabo Mbeki. But he did indeed have that special gift of leadership, the ability to mobilize people across divides and establish, even if for a moment, the possibility of a common humanity. Who can forget his donning of the Springboks jersey in 1995 at the Rugby World Cup Final, or his taking tea with Betsie Verwoerd, widow of apartheid s architect, Hendrik Verwoerd? In these acts, and countless others, he wormed his way into the hearts of all citizens, black and white, established his legacy as their collective leader, and thereby cemented the foundation of a democratic South Africa.
There were failures, as well. Mandela himself acknowledged that the conservative economic policy program-the Growth, Employment and Redistribution Strategy (GEAR)-which Thabo Mbeki pioneered in his administration polarized political opinion, not only in the ANC and the Tripartite Alliance, but in the country as a whole. It also accelerated economic inequality in every one of the twenty years of democratic South Africa, so much so that the country overtook Brasil to win the ignominious title of being the most unequal society on the planet. Mandela also acknowledged his own failure to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Indeed, he saw it as a blight on his presidential tenure, and tried to make up for it in his retirement when he came out against AIDS denialism, even though it fractured his relationship with the Thabo Mbeki administration.
Mandela himself acknowledged that the conservative economic policy program which Thabo Mbeki pioneered in his administration accelerated economic inequality so much that the country overtook Brasil to win the ignominious title of being the most unequal society on the planet.
Finally, Mandela was criticized, both within and outside the ANC, for emphasizing reconciliation at the expense of transformation in his presidential tenure. To many, it seemed as if his policy of reconciliation in practice required continued sacrifices from the very victims of apartheid, while its perpetrators reaped the rewards of a rehabilitated democratic citizenry. Indeed, his successor Thabo Mbeki s almost sole focus on transformation and historical redress was in part driven by an implicit critique of Mandela s reconciliation agenda. While there is an element of truth in the criticism that Mandela emphasized reconciliation to the exclusion of redress and transformation, it must be remembered that, had he not done so, South Africa may not have had the breathing space to root its democratic institutions and consolidate its peaceful transition. The importance of the democratic institutions-the independent press, the public protector, and the courts-is particularly evident now, as they have risen to the challenge of holding accountable those in power who have succumbed to corruption and maladministration. The political value of Mandela s reconciliation should also not be underestimated as we witness the alternative political imaginary of failed peace transitions in parts of the Middle East, and especially in Israel and Palestine.
There is also much political significance in the fact that Madiba s was a one-term presidency. Mandela could easily have had a second term. But he voluntarily relinquished political power after his first five-year term. This was an important precedent in a continent where so many have tried to remain in power long beyond their constitutional term limits. Ironically, by giving up political power, Mandela became even more powerful, earning himself legitimacy across the globe as he transitioned from a national leader to a global icon. He joined the ranks of Ghandi, Mother Teresa, and Martin Luther King, Jr., none of whom ever held formal state power. As a result, Mandela became an exemplar for soft power, emphasizing persuasion and having an appeal across racial, ethnic, and religious boundaries. He became the face of South Africa s democratic transition, one that defied the expectations of the world, eschewing racial war in favor of political reconciliation, democracy, and equality. He represented hope in a world fractured by war, economic inequality, and terrorism.
As the country normalizes, its leaders succumb to corruption, and its economy remains mired in inequalities, South Africa loses its shine. Madiba was that last vestige of a more hopeful era.
With his passing, South Africa has lost the last vestiges of what made it special in this world. Since 1994, this country has had a special space in the imagination of the globe. Its peaceful transition was seen to have defied expectations, as it became a shining example of what other fractured societies could aspire to be. But as the country normalizes, its leaders succumb to corruption, and its economy remains mired in inequalities, South Africa loses its shine. Madiba was that last vestige of a more hopeful era. With his passing, South Africa s specialness also passed on. From now on, South Africa will need to earn its own stripes if it wants to receive the accolades of the world.
But Madiba sacrificed much to get South Africa to where it is. He made enormous personal sacrifices, served as the face of South Africa s transition, and inspired its citizens to act against their own immediate instincts and in their long-term interests. He was, of course, South African, but having become a global icon, his country can no longer lay sole claim to him. Mandela and his legacy belong to the entire of humanity. South Africans need to remember this and be proud that he was one of their own. But they must also release his legacy so that it belongs to the world.

Born Free. Photo taken at at the Nelson Mandela memorial at FNB stadium in Soweto. Courtesy of the artist. 2013 Jonathan Wood

But what is this legacy? Even in the midst of mourning this great human being and leader, this icon of our age, an intellectual battle was underway to define his legacy, his message to future generations. In the days following his death, the global and national press continuously trumpeted his message of reconciliation. This was important-even essential-to his political character, but Madiba had also stood for more than simply reconciliation. Business Day , South Africa s largest business newspaper and one read by almost the entire national political elite, valorized Madiba for his pragmatism. Madiba was pragmatic, but he had also stood for more than just pragmatism. Madiba stood for non-racialism. He was an advocate for democracy and political participation. And he was a fighter for economic inclusion. He abhorred not only poverty, but also inequality. And he truly believed that before you ask poor people to make sacrifices, rich people must do the same. How else do you explain why he took a cut in salary as he ascended to the South African Presidency?
To truly honor Madiba, one must respect him enough not to caricature him and what he stood for. One must be responsive to his entire political message and legacy, not only to the aspects that one finds convenient. World leaders-including Barack Obama-who want to honor Madiba can only do so if they respect the rule of law and do not engage in extrajudicial action, against either their own citizens or foreign nationals. Madiba was intractably opposed to political assassinations of opponents, to armed invasions and attempts at regime change. Honoring him means respecting his views in this regard and not ignoring them or making light of them. Moreover, it requires one to stand firm against pressures to go to war and to assassinate political opponents, even when it may seem so much simpler to do so.
This is what Barack Obama should remember. He spoke eloquently at Madiba s memorial, far better than Jacob Zuma from Madiba s own party, the ANC. Obama spoke of the dangers of economic inequality and berated world leaders, including those on the continent, for monopolizing the riches of, and presiding over massive increases in inequality within, their own societies. Yet while this message was admirable, Obama conveniently ignored his own hypocrisies with regards to Madiba s message. Obama has sanctioned extrajudicial political assassinations in parts of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. He has actively colluded in regime change in Libya, and looked the other way in a military coup in Egypt. His administration has refused to condemn the armed invasion of Gaza, and has even provided some of the military equipment to enable this to happen. He presided over a massive increase in the surveillance of American citizens and foreigners, including allied leaders. But perhaps most of all, and unlike Madiba, he has been found wanting in Ferguson, when citizens rose against the unjust murder of Michael Brown by a policeman. In every one of these events, he betrayed the legacy of Madiba, even though he spoke so eloquently of wanting to honor him.
To truly honor Madiba, one must respect him enough not to caricature him and what he stood for. One must be responsive to his entire political message and legacy, not only to the aspects that one finds convenient.
But Obama was not the only one. Many of South Africa s leaders who claim to have honored him need to remember that he stood against corruption, and stood for service delivery and economic inclusion. These must become priorities in the struggle for a new South Africa. But this would require action to be taken against the corrupt, even when they are close to political power. It requires prioritizing the struggle against inequality as much as it does acting against poverty. And it requires that delivery to citizens be prioritized, even when it means acting against errant and lazy party cadres.
In all of these areas, South Africa s leaders and Madiba s comrades have been found lacking. Jacob Zuma, supported by the ANC, continues his struggle to avoid being held accountable for corruption in the arms deal and for Nkandla, his lavish personal

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