Sunday World

It can only be our beloved Madiba

- Phumla Mkize

Halala to the man who gave us the Randelas, the Dibas, the clapback long before it became a thing on black Twitter, the Madiba shirt and dance.

All hail the statesman who enjoyed thousands of exclusive live shows of Kids Say the Darndest Things, long before the first episode aired in January 1998.

He could tell who would have made it to the Mzansi Magic show Marry Me Now SA.

Let’s raise our teacups to our beloved man of a royal bloodline, who did not take any prisoners from other fellow royals.

Today our beloved Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela turns 103. Internatio­nal Nelson Mandela Day celebrates its 11th anniversar­y.

We now have emojis, emoticons, memes but they do not compare to the memorable interchang­es that have earned Mandela a special place in our hearts for good.

Who can forget the verbal sparring between our Madiba and another beloved world-famous Nobel Peace Prize honouree Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who have made sure that Vilakazi Street in Soweto made it into the Guinness World Records?

In the only way two neighbours can face-off but still be able to live peacefully in the same street, the Honourable Arch condemned Madiba’s dress code, advising him that it was time for him to dress like the statesman that he was.

Tutu did not particular­ly like the wild print shirts, saying they were not presidenti­al enough.

Madiba threw the Arch with a jab he did not expect by quipping: “And this coming from a man who’s been wearing a dress all his life.”

And he didn’t mind repeating jokes, icebreaker­s and clapbacks that proved effective. Why fix it if is not broken, right? Our dear Madiba, it is said, when he met a married couple, he would ask the woman: “When did you propose?”

One of his favourite anecdotes, which he often told in public, was of a conversati­on he had with a fouryear-old girl. The girl asked: “How old are you? He said: “I can’t remember, but I was born long, long ago.”

She asked: “Why did you go to jail?” He said: “I didn’t go there because I liked it. Some people sent me there.”

She asked: “How long were you in jail?” He said: “I can’t remember, but it was a long, long time.”

The girl concluded: “You are a stupid old man, aren’t you?”

And those in the know say he called the Queen of England by her birthname, Elizabeth. Why? Because she also called him Nelson. He also had royal blood running in his veins after all.

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