At Madikizela-Mandela’s graveside
THERE is so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us. And so my mind wanders back to the graveside of Mam’Winnie MadikizelaMandela who died recently.
The close family members reverentially, solemnly and gently threw roses and soil into the grave of their mother, sister, grandmother, great-grandmother, friend of the poor, and profound leader whom South Africa has called Mother of the Nation.
We were bombarded with platitudes, praise, honour and compassion for this brave, tenacious and courageous ANC leader. Albeit bordering on irony?
Graciously and in character, President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his grief and an apology for leaving her alone for long periods to suffer the worst form of cruelty imaginable. He warned those guilty of cruelty, hate, denigration and torture that their conscience will haunt them.
Opportunistic grabbers and robbers resting on self-made platforms were felled mercilessly by Julius Malema. He cut to little pieces their mouthing of gobbledygook and smelly balderdash, many among the ANC included. Where were they? he asked. And then answered his own question — they are here. Indeed they are the ones who failed to give her roses when she was left to suffer alone, were the thoughts running through the tortured mind of the sorrowing daughter when she spoke.
And Sir, there were many whose conscience stabbed them ferociously.
Go well, Mam’Winnie. May your soul rest in peace. You have left us with memories that will sustain, strengthen and lead.
All those who loved you and even those who hated you will now “stand up and say to all the world: ‘This was a woman’,” (Shakespeare).