Who are the real sell­outs?

CityPress - - Voices -

What are your thoughts about Madiba’s legacy?

Do you con­sider him to be a sell­out?

SMS your thoughts to 35697 us­ing the key­word DREAM. SMSes cost R1.50. Please in­clude

your name be­cause it threat­ens to re­write his­tory. No greater in­jus­tice can be com­mit­ted than to deny fu­ture gen­er­a­tions the right to learn about their true his­tory – a weapon needed for their own lib­er­a­tion.”

But at the heart of her ar­ti­cle, Malaika cau­tions against the cult of per­son­al­ity and de­ifi­ca­tion of lead­ers. When such de­ifi­ca­tion oc­curs, even po­lit­i­cal par­ties can de­ify their own lead­ers to the ex­tent that they ab­ro­gate their re­spon­si­bil­ity to hold those lead­ers to ac­count.

When a se­nior cit­i­zen, a leader of the stature of a head of state, is per­ceived not to abide by the re­quire­ments of state in­sti­tu­tions he is bound by law to pro­tect and ad­vance, and thus by his own ac­tions un­der­mines the Con­sti­tu­tion and the rule of law, is it Man­dela who taught him to cut the vi­tal trans­mis­sion of high value to fu­ture gen­er­a­tions?

Do such ac­tions not lead to the de­spair of the young and the dis­ap­point­ment and deep sense of be­trayal among those who have walked the dif­fi­cult jour­ney up to this point?

It needs to be stated that the Con­sti­tu­tion, re­con­struc­tive poli­cies, rad­i­cal leg­is­la­tion, and a host of in­sti­tu­tions of democ­racy dili­gently put in place in the first 10 years of our democ­racy rep­re­sent col­lec­tively a rad­i­cal ed­i­fice of hope and as­pi­ra­tion. They are not to be tri­fled with at our whims.

In­deed, it is not the in­sti­tu­tions or Madiba that have failed us, but our hu­man ca­pac­ity to achieve the solemn goals for which the in­sti­tu­tions were cre­ated, when­ever we fail to abide by legally and morally con­sti­tuted norms.

It is our reded­i­ca­tion to the solemn as­pi­ra­tions of 1994 that will help us get be­yond the in­vid­i­ous mo­ment in which all of us South Africans are still trapped – in a present with deep roots in the past, in which some of us per­ceive our­selves to be trapped in the im­per­sonal logic of what we own, de­spite our best in­ten­tions, while oth­ers are trapped in the logic of what has been kept away from them, de­spite their best as­pi­ra­tions.

If there are any “sell­outs” in South Africa and ev­ery­where in the world, they are the ones who have stopped dream­ing. Stopped work­ing. Stopped el­e­vat­ing the needs of the wretched of the earth above their own need for power, priv­i­lege and self-en­rich­ment. Stopped walk­ing the jour­ney whose his­toric prospects en­er­gise at the same time as they may seem daunt­ing.

It is about this walk that Madiba said: “The truth is that we are not yet free; we have merely achieved the free­dom to be free, the right not to be op­pressed. We have not taken the fi­nal step of our jour­ney, but the first step on a longer and even more dif­fi­cult road … The true test of our de­vo­tion to free­dom is just be­gin­ning.”

Pro­fes­sor Nde­bele is chair­man of the Nel­son Man­dela Foun­da­tion


THE MORE THINGS CHANGE... ac­tivism dur­ing the strug­gle

The re­cent stu­dent ac­tivism coun­try­wide was cited by many as be­ing rem­i­nis­cent of

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