Niagara Gazette

Columns

December 20, 2013

HAMILTON: Obama, Mandela and Martin: icons or ideals?

Niagara Gazette — Aside from the relatively few European and Asian dignitaries that assembled for Mandela’s memorial services at the FNB soccer stadium in his traditional Soweto home township in Johannesburg, Africa’s fourth largest and its richest city, where were the white and Asian working class people of the Union of South Africa (the other USA) that should have been there mourning Mandela’s passing?

A great deal of thought ought to be given to the following important and eye-opening observation. It may be of the utmost importance to the future of the USA — both USAs! According to media cameras and my friend, white, and expatriate South African Tracy McLaverty, “... they were not there!”

When I asked McLaverty ‘why not’, he tersely said, “Because, Ken; they were scared to be there. It is still dangerous for them to mix amongst the races.”

McLaverty went on to praise what Mandela had started, and his hopes are that one day it can be brought to perfection.

Now that the icon of a united South Africa has passed away, has the idea of one also gone with him?

Are the people of the Union of South Africa loving the icon of Mandela, but not loving his racial harmony idea?

As most of you know, after a 27-year jail term in the once apartheid-torn country of the Union of South Africa, freedom fighter Mandela was freed and eventually became that nation’s president. One of his iconic ideals was to successfully bring his 80 percent black, 9 percent white, 9 percent mixed-race and 2.5 percent Asian and racially-torn nation together to heal it.

While at the presidential cabinet level, Mandela was somewhat successful; but one has to question his success at so doing among the democratic and diverse society that is supposedly responsible to elect a government that will reflect their goals and values; a government that is looking out for the success, safety and future prosperity of them all.

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