“I’ve been singing happy birthday to Mandela for 30 years and quite frankly, I’m tired. Of course he helped a lot of people, but after that it’s all about him, him, him,” — Hugh MasekelaCity Press has reported how these utterances have shocked the nation, but I am not one of those purported to be shocked.
I acknowledge the contribution that the man himself has made to the liberation struggle, but we all know there are many who endured the same torments, persecution and imprisonment for the ideals for which they were prepared to die.
He has been hoisted to a certain saintly pedestal that is supposed to exonerate him from even justified criticism.
We have witnessed how, during the power failures, a certain newspaper published photographs of government officials who were behind the decision to ignore the recommendations to build more power stations. His photograph was conspicuously absent from those published. Surprising, as he was president of the republic at the time.
There appeared to be a deliberate move to shield him from any blame; not surprisingly, Thabo Mbeki again shouldered all the blame. Quiet some mischief at work there, may I add. We have given the man too much credit while we ignore others such as Oliver Tambo, Mbeki, Walter Sisulu and Ahmed Kathadra who equally sacrificed much in order that we are all here today.
Hugh Masekela, now that he had the courage to speak his mind, was reported to be disrespectful of the old man.
It is troubling that while we have freedom of speech enshrined in the Constitution, there are those who seek to impose their will on the rest of us to make us all sing from the same hymn book.
It appears there are those who should not be subjected to any form of criticism or any opinion expressed about their conduct. One of those people is Jacob Zuma.
You suddenly become a counter-revolutionary when you express your disgust at his conduct or views.
Masekela has every right to choose whom he wants to praise, and when. We cannot expect that because the majority holds Nelson Mandela in high regard — some naively — that everyone else should subscribe to our regard of the man.
I certainly do not recall the nation going bonkers over Govan Mbeki or Walter Sisulu’s birthday.
Masekela’s contribution to the liberation struggle is well documented; to chastise him because he had the balls to express his honest views is a bit disingenuous.