Independent Online

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

Praise mothers who gifted us our icons

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

Published Nov 26, 2015


Sandile Dikeni

This is not political. Only social. There is an initial intention to be humorous but it is not wise to boast an intention to a highly conscious readers. The danger is that the joke might get lost in the deep levels of cynicism. But it is necessary to be raised, methinks.

Story continues below Advertisement

Okay, let’s say we know Madiba. I mean our icon of peace and reconciliation who spent an endless period on Robben Island. Between me and you his island venture was not really a holiday. Actually, it was the opposite of a holiday.

We know that Nelson Mandela was, is, a beautiful icon for, let us say humanity.

Let’s add that his father was a notable in the Thembu royalty. It is also general knowledge that many in the Thembu thinking would not be viciously opposed to his gracing the clan royalty.

Story continues below Advertisement

I might be exaggerating, but I vaguely remember talks offering him the Thembu royalty but he modestly turned it down. I do not know if my memory can be relied on here, but yeah, okay. His endless narratives in world sociologies on race and human rights are sometimes regarded as cliché, if not epic.

I also remember, vaguely, references to his dad in the Thembu aristocracy but forgive me, my memory is not capable of capturing the old man’s name or rank in the Thembu game of things.

But I remember many references made about him. I also remember the tremendous references about Winnie Madikizela Mandela, his ex-wife. It is also not possible to forget his widow who was also the widow of Samora Machel, the Mozambican icon who married sister Graca.

Story continues below Advertisement

However, it is bothersome to me that we do not carry memories of that glorious woman who carried him for nine months and gave birth to an international legend. It is not possible for me to remember if she was mentioned in his autobiography.

If she was, let me be quick to note that I do not remember. I also do not remember my comrades mentioning it. I honestly don’t remember that. I also do not recall a moment in struggle rhetoric where verbal acrobatics reminded us and the world to remember the humilities of this woman.

A recent mention of her reminded me that Mandela’s mother was from the Jali clan. My initial response was to remind the person that I do not really appreciate his joke of turning Jail to Jali. “Yes, okay,” I was quick to say, “bra Nelson was in a jail on Robben Island. The world knows that.” But I was told in a tone of nearly mock urgency that Nelson Mandela’s mother’s clan was Jali.

Story continues below Advertisement

She was from the Jali tribe. Needless to say ‘Yours Truly’ was not impressed that he did not know such an obvious piece of anthropology. I was embarrassed. More, I was humiliated to discover that I was not the only one who lacked this knowledge. This is not general knowledge in the ANC. Something in my humility is demanding that it should be.

I think that we deserve to know the woman who gave birth to this icon. How come we know Mary, the mother of Jesus?

I can not recall any Women’s Day activity that was dedicated to his, Steve Biko, or Robert Sobukwe’s mothers. There are moments I recall when the names of icons Lillian Ngoyi and Helen Joseph decorated the verbal concerts of struggle orations.

I do even remember the ugly, let me say uncomfortable, gossip about Mamphele Ramphele and Bantu Biko. I, however, can not recall one moment where their wives or mothers were lauded for their gifts to humanity in this country and the the universal world.

We need to remind ourselves that these women deserve to be honoured, not necessarily for their roles in struggle, but for giving us and the world these noble children.

We do not need to wait for parliament to guide us to this very obvious moment. We need the soul of civil consciousness to walk us to the sensitive and sensible social destination that must reminds us that these people, who are treated with so much malice, deserve recognition that will help the world wake up to a beautiful reality called life.

I am ashamed that I, as a journalist, can’t claim to have asked about Madiba’s mom. It is scandalous. It is common knowledge that a journalist who had taken his or her time to find the home of Nelson Mandela’s mother would be honoured by this country and the world for the elegance and glory of such an act.

The attempt here is not to be super political. It is also not to be super party political. It is merely to say humility demands that we view these human beings called women different from what the past centuries said to us as human beings of the world.

It is my contention that the world consciousness need to be awoken sensitively to the obviousness of this narration. It is for me a bit disgusting that, I, in the year 2015, have to make these utterance. It is disgusting but also humbling to note that the people of our country, so famous for their love and humility, have been unable to see this.

The big challenge now is for South Africa to learn to understand that non-sexism or anti-sexism is not merely politically correct slogans to be uttered in events clambering for clichéd political power. I feel that these phrases and understandings have been underutilised even by the social moments of current philosophical tendencies.

The plea here is not for something beyond the ordinary. It is for the ordinary. It is necessary that we walk back towards the ordinary characteristics of what life is supposed to be. This demands that we develop and spread human progressive tendencies beyond the narrow channels that life has taught us.

Sexism is disgusting. But how sexist is the tendency to pretend to understand a discourse in sexual liberation when one actually refuses it. I imagine it is not only a painful existence but a sorrowful reality.

It is not easy to understand why South Africa has not achieved what the world has tried to hide from us.

Call me arrogant, but racism and sexism are two of the world evils that have no hiding place in this country. Imagine then my disgust in discovering that even I am a culprit in this game.

Related Topics: