December 5 marked the 10th anniversary since Nelson Mandela’s passing at the age of 95.
While this year should have been dedicated to the goodwill of Mandela’s glowing legacy across the globe, South Africans reacted with shock when Madiba’s Houghton home was reported to have been abandoned and in ruins after the family trust allegedly failed to pay for municipal services and other costs associated with the upkeep of the treasured Madiba mansion.
Many lamented this bit of sad news as this is the same home that Madiba as state president hosted the likes of Michael Jackson and many other prominent leaders of the world and spent much of his latter life with friends and family.
According to the Nelson Mandela Foundation which is the custodian of the former statesman’s legacy, this year was earmarked to celebrate and honour Madiba’s 10th year anniversary of his passing while also being an opportunity for inspection.
“This 10-year anniversary presents the world an opportunity to introspect as we evaluate the gains and losses over the last decade, and ask ourselves: what is this moment calling for? Here in South Africa, for example, Madiba’s vision for a democratic and free country where all live harmoniously and enjoy equal opportunities remains an ideal for ordinary South Africans today.
“As such, the Nelson Mandela Foundation will dedicate its activities and programmatic work for the year to reminding our nation and the world that the South Africa of our dreams is the South Africa of Madiba’s vision and values,” the foundation said in a recent statement.
However, recent developments in the country as well as in the ANC has left many to question the government of the day’s failure to heed some of the biggest values espoused by the former leader.
According to Brian Pottinger, writing for Herald.com, the South Africa of Mandela is not doing a good job of living up to Mandela’s reputation as a leader par excellence.
This according to Pottinger is seen in the failure of the country’s economy, load shedding and other challenges currently facing the country as well as challenges within the ANC as the leader of the nation.
Many polls have also put the ANC’s support at just 45% in the upcoming elections.
“The party to which Mandela belonged now faces its Venezuela moment after ignoring for decades the catastrophic impact of its administrative, ideological and race-based policies. The Government’s recent Medium Term Budget Statement (MTBPS) illustrates this in a nutshell. In the first six months of the financial year, the main budget deficit has grown by more than 50% to R53 billion (£2.2 billion). On this trajectory, South Africa will have to repay R242.5 billion (£10.2 billion) a year in finance charges,” Pottinger laments.
This week, former statistician general, Dr Pali Lehohla has likened the country’s paralysis to that of Nelson Mandela’s abandoned home.
“The idea of a national agenda of South Africa, is completely diluted. We cannot say which direction we are going, be it economically, or socially. The challenges have become so overpowering that a moment of pause is crucial. If we go ahead with the elections, we have seen what has happened with local government elections where people are exchanging favours and then it’s the exchange of mayor every day,” the former statistician told the SABC.
The symbolism of the party and the country’s paralyses is also seen in the recent ills of the ruling party.
Early this month, the ruling party almost found itself liquidated after the party failed to honour a 2019 contract with a branding and marketing company which was allegedly contracted to provide the party with 2019 election material.
This comes after the ANC last month, was slapped with a writ of execution order allowing the sheriff of the court to attach some of the party’s assets to recover the R102 million the party owes to Ezulweni Investments following a Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judgment.
The foundation which launched a series of events including podcasts, books and other activities revealed during a media briefing that it will go all out to honour the legacy of the country’s first democratically-elected president.
One of the keynote events was the 21st instalment of the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture at the Joburg Theatre.
The event was honoured by the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai who was the keynote speaker alongside other formidable women including Mandela’s life partner, Graça Machel among others.
The foundation has also decried the country’s unemployment rates and other challenges saying it is concerned that over a third of people in South Africa are unemployed.
“By reflecting on the passing of Nelson Mandela 10 years ago, this year we challenge the people of this country and the world to carry out the unfinished work of Nelson Mandela...To commemorate the 10th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s passing, if we are honest, is to acknowledge the profound woundedness of our world as well as many profound achievements in overcoming adversity and crisis,” the foundation said.