MANDLA LANGA: Don't let Mandela's history be rewritten by the callow Big Men
'There is a sense of something struggling to burst forth, something that will see the further fraying of the country's social-cohesion fabric'
After the death of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the question came up. Why, someone asked, did Mandela find it possible to forgive the Boers but could not forgive Winnie?
There is a tendency among Big Men - whether the patrons of apartheid plunder in Stratcom or the latter-day sponsors of the Bell Pottingers of this world - to create binaries and try to force us to become complicit in their revisionism. Or they prefer us distracted by shallow, race-based debates, a sleight-of-hand manoeuvre to blind us to their looting. Part of their strategy is to effectively set the cat among the political pigeons, ensuring that disunity prevails where a new brand of intra-black hatred in the form of narrow nationalism ferments.
Across South Africa, many are feverishly engaged with preparations for the Madiba centenary. My fellow artist and dear comrade, the formidable Pitika Ntuli, will soon unveil a black granite sculpture, weighing 18 tonnes, which is a symbolic representation of the struggles with which Madiba came to be identified. Former US president Barack Obama was in town as a guest of the Nelson Mandela Foundation to deliver the annual Nelson Mandela Lecture in Johannesburg. In their desire to pay tribute, the international community is putting the finishing touches to seminars, exhibitions, theatre performances and various manifestations designed to coincide with what would have been Madiba's centenary year.It is not just about one man, though. All this is in recognition of the struggle of the people of South Africa. For us, it is also a moment to invoke the resilient spirit of our people. There is something momentous and urgent about the preparations, which happen at a time when our society grap...