Iconic South African elder statesman is ailing
A scene from the SABC broadcast about Nelson Mandela which has provoked a controversy in South Africa.
TWENTY YEARS AGO the name “Nelson Mandela” appeared frequently on the front page of The New York Times.
The now-iconic figure had just negotiated a settlement ending the despised system of racial segregation known as Apartheid, and was on his way to becoming the first democratically elected president of South Africa. He was honored in 1993 with a Nobel Peace prize.
Today, after a long absence, the name is back on the front page of national edition of The New York Times. But this time the context is not quite so flattering.
Watch the controversial video after the jump.
The web page of the SABC with the Mandela story headlined.
The story by Lydia Polgreen is headlined online: Mandela Fades Amid Battles Over Who Will Claim Legacy.
It deals with the family squabble and public controversy over the aging leader’s fading health and legacy.
Apparently the public fracas has been raging for over two weeks.
An April 29 report on News 24 television channel in South Africa notes in a story datelined from Cape Town (my home town for 23 years):
“Social media commentators on Monday rounded on the ANC and the SABC after new footage of Nelson Mandela was released showing a clearly ailing former president, despite the party’s earlier assurances to the contrary.”
The report was referring to a television segment broadcast by the South African Broadcasting Corporation showing the ailing former-president surrounded by family members at his home.
Posted to YouTube by SABCdigitalnews on April 29, the caption to the video reads:
“Former President Nelson Mandela is doing well at his home in Houghton Johannesburg.
Madiba who was released from hospital early this month, is recovering from a recurring lung infection. President Jacob Zuma and other leaders of the ANC visited the elder statesman earlier today. The SABC has this exclusive video report.”
Watch the video below and judge for yourself.
This is an unfortunate turn of events for South Africa and it’s most prominent citizen.
The country is facing huge problems with unemployment, lack of adequate housing and providing quality education to all its citizens.
The last thing it needs is a kerfuffle like this. Let us hope it is a temporary distraction.
There really is nothing that could tarnish the legacy of a man as great as Nelson Mandela.