Saturday, 7 December 2013

Nelson Mandela RIP

I'm surprised at being slightly more moved than I expected, given he's been busily dying for almost a year; and surprised that Barry Obama managed to sound dignified and genuinely sad. I thought everyone, but everyone, would simply explode in grief.  I'm far more worried about the future of the BBC than I am about South Africa.  The nation will survive this; I'm not so sure about the Beeb.

I think his most impressive feats were a) doing very little with the power he was given, and b) standing down after just one term. Both of which set a pretty stern precedent for South African leaders.

 He could have used the near absolute power and international impunity he was given to eradicate white South Africa.  It would have been very hard to question his moral right to do so, given the vast wealth and power that was and is still vested in largely white hands, to the detriment of the denizens of Soweto.  But he didn't.  Perhaps he could have done more; but doing exactly the right thing is far, far harder than doing too much.  And doing too little is - in this case - preferable to doing too much.

And giving up the presidency after just one term was a truly impressive move, which will make it much harder for any tinpot wannabe Mugabe to abuse the nation's democracy.  Are you listening carefully, Mr Zuma?  As long as people can point to Mandela's example of renouncing power, then anyone trying to cling on to it will look pretty damn shifty in comparison.





I suppose there is absolutely no point in looking at any news source for the next 72 hours. Or will the Guardian offer a 'No Mandela' option like it did for Royal Baby?

Prediction

There's nothing stupider on the internet than putting down your thoughts in an indisputable form.  So that, of course is what I am going...