‘World’s Pres­i­dent’ un­like any­one else

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS - Abe Mokoena

THE pub­lisher of Man­dela’s Last Years, Pen­guin Ran­dom House SA, has fi­nally with­drawn the book in the face of sus­tained pres­sure from some of Madiba’s fam­ily mem­bers. They site “se­ri­ous vi­o­la­tions of doc­tor-pa­tient priv­i­lege” as their rea­son.

The Nel­son Man­dela Foun­da­tion has also come out strongly against the re­lease of the book. Their ground of con­test is that the book con­tains “fac­tual in­ac­cu­ra­cies”.

The pro­nounce­ment of the book’s with­drawal by the pub­lisher ig­nited na­tional cu­rios­ity, re­sult­ing in peo­ple flood­ing to book stores to buy a copy.

Maybe they are right to say the contents of the book are not for pub­lic con­sump­tion as there may be things that hap­pened be­hind the scenes which the fam­ily or even the state do not want ex­posed.

We live in a multi-vo­cal democ­racy – a sys­tem where ev­ery opin­ion has the right to be heard. There are many, who are of the opin­ion that the book should not be with­drawn be­cause Nel­son Man­dela is un­like any­one else in the world.

They de­scribe him as one of the most fa­mous men of the mod­ern era and a man of ex­em­plary courage and hu­man dis­tinc­tion. As he be­longed to the world, the world de­serves to know ev­ery­thing about him.

We will re­call that dur­ing his last mo­ments, it was the whole world that waited with baited breath for his lat­est med­i­cal bulletin. In the words of Pro­fes­sor Ade­bayo Wil­liams, “Man­dela was no longer per­ceived as a politi­cian but as a global pop idol.

“The en­tire hu­man race had set aside the pas­sions of race, creed and re­li­gion to hon­our an ex­cep­tional in­di­vid­ual; a hu­man avatar. And in death, he be­came a sym­bol of hope and rich per­mu­ta­tions for a di­vided and bit­terly po­larised hu­man­ity”.

When Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma an­nounced Madiba’s death on De­cem­ber 5, 2013, one Bri­tish news­pa­per called him “Pres­i­dent of the World”.

In his tribute dur­ing the me­mo­rial ser­vice for Madiba, Cuban Pres­i­dent Raul Cas­tro eu­lo­gised Man­dela as “the ul­ti­mate sym­bol of dig­nity and the rev­o­lu­tion­ary strug­gle”.

Ban Ki-moon, rep­re­sent­ing the UN, de­scribed the me­mo­rial as “one of sor­row for a mighty loss and cel­e­bra­tion of a mighty life”. He said Man­dela united peo­ple in death, just as he did in life.

US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama de­scribed Man­dela as a gi­ant of his­tory and the last great lib­er­a­tor of the 20th cen­tury.

Obama said: “We will never see the likes of Nel­son Man­dela again. While I will al­ways fall short of Madiba, he makes me want to be a bet­ter man.” Polok­wane

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