As the world mourns the death of Nelson Mandela – a truly great man – perhaps we should do so with a bit less open-eyed breathy wonderment and a bit more sensibly.
He was a mortal. He should have died months earlier, but his natural span was unnaturally and cruelly prolonged by the miracles of modern medicine. Had he been our father or grandfather, he might have been allowed to die with more dignity. However, the selfishness of the world, clinging to the wreckage of that once-great man, was unwilling to let him pass.
In my opinion, religion is an irrational security blanket that many need in order to face the uncertainties of life and death. Even though there are fortunately many others who have seen through the incense, smoke and mirrors of religion, some of them still feel the need for a secular idol – some greater being or ideal external to themselves. Some choose a pop star, some an actor; the most weak-minded choose a footballer or a fashion designer – perhaps even a shoe designer. Yet others, more intellectually and politically aware, chose Nelson Mandela.
Mandela was one of the greatest figures of the late 20th century. He was a great man, a great statesman and a great father to post-apartheid
could deny that his greatest achievement was that he showed the world how a
single, dedicated man could change society. Yet at the same time what lay at
the heart of his struggle was the belief that, in essence, we are all equal. South Africa
Bearing that in mind, perhaps the exaggerated reverence in which so many have held him for so long does in fact go against the grain of his philosophy and makes a mockery of his achievements. We will have to see if, without his presence,
under the ANC will mire itself ever further in corruption and gradually return
to being a one-party State, if it hasn’t already become one. South Africa
Nelson Mandela was a man. No more, no less. Yes, a mere human being like you – like me – and as a man he surely had his faults just as the rest of us do. He might even, heaven forbid, have called his dog rude names when it did its number twos on the carpet. He was not some sort of Christ-like figure as the first reports on BBC Radio 4 would have had us believe. I cringed as various journalists gushed on about his humility, his compassion; his capacity for forgiveness. I was half-waiting for news of his resurrection on the third day. At this moment in
I am sure that, like
the Roman soldiers around the cross played dice for Christ’s robes, a rather unseemly struggle is taking place to see who can make off
with the great man’s mantle and political legacy. No doubt pretty soon the
revisionist vultures, to their credit or shame,
will also start to sink their talons into him and start to dig up the dirt. South Africa
Let us mourn then the man and his work and not the screen onto which so many politicians, artists and other trendy intellectuals, pseudo- or otherwise, have projected their own second-hand, lacklustre visions. Rest in Peace Mr. Mandela, a peace that you have done so much to promote in your own country and continent. Let’s just hope that the example that you have set your land and countrymen will not, like your own remains, crumble into dust.
 Although some people have deluded themselves into believing that he was indeed some sort of "universal" grandfather!
 Has anyone in the media said: “We shall not see his like again” yet?
 It all depends on your point of view.
 And no doubt made tidy sums on the royalites from their songs demanding or celebrating his release from prison – or indeed both.