Is It REALLY Necessary?
Nelson Mandela…an incredible man, don’t you think? Spent 27 years in prison fighting injustices that faced SA pre-democracy, spent more years giving to humanity and well…did more of the ”struggle fighting” thing along with other political leaders.
So it’s only fitting that we honour the ”world’s most revered statesmen” by putting his face on South African banknotes, right? No….not right!
For the reader that is a bit confused: The South African Reserve Bank recently launched a national communications campaign around the forthcoming introduction of the country’s new series of banknotes honouring former president, Nelson Mandela.
When I first heard about this…I kept on asking WHY? Is it really necessary to redesign the notes, to make space for Madiba’s potrait? Is it worth all the costs? Speaking of costs, the communications campaign set the Reserve Bank back by R32 million. Couldn’t they have donated that Madiba-less money to the Gauteng Provincial Government to finish fixing the N12 highway instead?
However, Gill Marcus seems to think it’s worth it as she suggested that the new banknotes ”reflects South Africa’s pride as a nation and pays tribute to a much-loved world leader.” So I figure this means, having the ”Big 5” on current notes, is not enough reflection of our national heritage…so let’s rather chuck in Madiba in the mix. How’s that for undermining the value of the ”Big 5” as our national heritage.
Our president, reckons it’s a ”humble gesture” to express South Africa’s ”deep gratitude” so I guess, the Nelson Mandela Bridge, Nelson Mandela Square, his statue at Groot Drakenstein Correctional Centre are all ”humble gesture” hey. Heck…there’s even a trapdoor spider named after him, Stasimopus Mandelai.
Over and above other ‘‘humble gestures” such as Mandela Day, the statue of Mandela in Parliament Square, London, the Nelson Mandela Gardens in Leeds…can’t keep up.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Madiba stan, but I’m starting to think he’s overrated. He undoubtedly deserves all the acclaims he owns, but now where do we draw the line? Doesn’t feel like, without him, South Africa is blurred on the map? Hence, we neglect other things and people that helped and are still getting their hands dirty to shape up our country.
How about we refrain from thinking like the typical American who reckons Nelson Mandela single-handedly fought against Apartheid? Can we instead, honour Madiba by making the RIGHT CHOICE when voting? By taking issues of housing, education, transport and public healthcare seriously, instead of investing our attention to portraits of ”The Spear”. Can he be honoured by promoting democratic principles, instead of trying to censor the media? #DearGovernment.
His legacy is all about reconciliation and peace, not to be a money-maker…so lastly, let’s respect the old man by not using his name…and face, for selfish private business reasons-all in the name of ”honouring” him.
By Sefiso Hlongwane