Of life and legacy…
“THE WAY WE MADE PEOPLE FEEL IS HIGHLY SUBJECTIVE – AND NOTORIOUSLY CHANGEABLE – AND NO AMOUNT OF PROPAGANDA CAN PERSUADE OR DISSUADE OTHERS TO VIEW US IN A PARTICULAR WAY.”
Following the sad passing of uMam’uWinnie Madikizela-Mandela at the beginning of April, much was said about the legacy she leaves behind. The word “complex” was used repeatedly to describe her, supposedly to stress that hers was a multi-layered story. I personally found it irritating: after all, whose life isn’t complex, multi-layered, nuanced and occasionally contradictory? We also all have aspects of our pasts we’d rather not parade in public – so it’s curious that people feel the need to punctuate descriptions of eminent individuals’ lives with the complexity caveat.
In my experience, history is ultimately the most accurate judge of one’s legacy. I recently attended a funeral where the programme didn’t include an obituary. Most people noticed the omission, but assumed it was some kind of mistake. Later, however, the deceased’s son explained that his father had categorically stated that he didn’t want an obituary. His life’s work would speak for itself, he declared.
For me, that was a profound truth. We have minimal control over how people regard us or our actions. All we can control is the way we choose to live, hoping that the body of work we leave behind will be our strongest memorial. The way we made people feel is highly subjective – and notoriously changeable – and no amount of propaganda can persuade or dissuade others to view us in a particular way.
As we prepare to commemorate National Youth
Day, DM celebrates a young South African who’s not only building a remarkable career, but also crafting his own legacy. I’ve long been a fan of Trevor Noah and his comedic genius. However, following my interview with him, I have new-found respect for the man, who’s discovering his passion for effecting change and making a difference. He’s a highly driven, perceptive individual who – by his own admission – is always pushing boundaries. See p24 to read about the way he’s propping up ladders so that young South Africans can climb to the top.
If you’re a football fanatic like me, then you’re probably counting down to the start of the greatest sporting event on earth. The world’s finest footballers will be gathering in Russia for the Fifa World Cup, starting on 14 June. We’ve compiled a great preview for you on p114, including some of the African stars to look out for.
But before you go splashing out on goodies to get your man-cave ready for the event, don’t forget Mother’s Day.
Have a great month and keep warm!