Today the world turned to watch the memorial of former president “Tata” Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela was a freedom fighter whose life’s devotion to seek the freedom of his people made him loved by the world over. He was a pivotal martyr for the people of South Africa who, at the time, were oppressed under the apartheid regime. His political presence began in 1951 and worked relentlessly for 43 years before his dream was achieved. He will always be remembered as the person who shaped history and changed the future of millions of people in generations past, present and to come.
Over 100 delegates from 90 countries flew from around the world to celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela. Speakers included presidents, religious leaders and influencers in the world. The most notable speech however was not made by South Africa’s own president but the president of the United States, Barack Obama. His kind and intelligent words, allowed listeners to adorn and appreciate the life Mandela lived for this country. He spoke of the hardships and triumphs Mandela was faced with and the ripples his life leaves to those left behind. It was an amazing part of this momentous occasion. One aspect of the memorial which shocked many was the “boo’s” of the people each time current president Jacob Zuma was on the big screens within the stadium. The lack of respect he received throughout his speech was ever present and the unease at which his speech was read (emphasis on read) was evident that the country no longer sees him as the leader of our nation.
One may ask why this is so. For many South Africans facing a life of poverty, our president continuously preached of unfailing sacrifice for his country. He would rally people with the hope that the lives of the poor are bright and every penny shall be spent on creating a brighter future for them. Unfortunately for Zuma, an enquiry as to where R300 million was raised to upgrade his personal homestead has revealed an alleged misuse of state funds. It has become so publicised that the nation want answers and judgement should he be guilty. This is not the first enquiry, as Jacob Zuma was in the middle of a court hearing where he was accused of corruption when inaugurated as president. This case is still pending an outcome and will continue after his presidential tenure is over.
International investment is vital for growth of the country. Today the spotlight pointed heavily on South Africa and no doubt the reaction of the citizens towards their president will spell mistrust and further degrade the intensity of foreign investment into South Africa. The country publically humiliated its president in front of the world, proving that the leadership in South Africa is not one that is respected and trusted, it marks the turning point of a country towards radical action. Many countries have seen similar displays of belittlement of its leadership, and often this has lead to action out of desperation. It will be interesting to see if South Africa objectively seek to fulfil what Nelson Mandela strove for, or if the leadership of the country will continue to use their influence for personal gain. If you wish to hear more on the Nkandla saga that has caused such speculation of Jacob Zuma’s credibility, post on our Facebook page and I will see that it is addressed.