JONNY STEINBERG: In Vilakazi Street, dark murmurs of a fake Madiba
It is astonishing to think how little headway populist mythology has made in SA
When Nelson Mandela returned to his home on Vilakazi Street for the first time in almost 30 years, a rumour immediately arose. It was late afternoon when he arrived and the light was fading. He spoke briefly, in English, then went inside and shut the door.
By nightfall, in a section of Vilakazi Street that had since the late 1950s been staunchly PAC, it was said that the man who had come back from prison was not Nelson Mandela. Why did he choose to arrive in the dying light, it was asked. And why did he avoid speaking Xhosa? Why did he talk so briefly before hurrying inside?..