‘World’s President’ unlike anyone else
THE publisher of Mandela’s Last Years, Penguin Random House SA, has finally withdrawn the book in the face of sustained pressure from some of Madiba’s family members.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 There are many, who are of the opinion that the book should not be withdrawn because Nelson Mandela is unlike anyone else in the world.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