Of life and legacy…

Destiny Man - - ED’S NOTE -

“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!

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