Blah, blah, blah, Mandela, blah, blah, blah, world mourning, blah blah blah. Yes, we’ve all heard about it by now so there’s no need to recap any of the finer details, but hell, what a show we gave the world to send off our ‘old man’. Bob Mugabe and Tony Blair in the same stadium, America and Cuba reconciling 50 years after the Bay of Pigs fiasco, some imaginative sign language from a dude in a snappy suit, and a self-confessed porn addict (or so the doctor says, and we always know to trust the doctor) to sing in Obama (there’s some lovely joke in there somewhere but I’ll have to mull it over). But I think my favourite part of the entire Mandela Memorial was Uncle Cyril stepping up to that mic, interrupting the Indian prime minister and telling the people of South Africa to behave. And as with any small child with a dodgy uncle, most of the crowd fled the scene. The more rebellious however, stayed.
We (yes, I’m laying claim to being the voice of all South Africans) wish they hadn’t. As if it wasn’t mortifying enough being told off in Zulu for being horrible little skebengas in front of the world, we were told off again by Pappy Tutu, who, by the end of it, was so outraged that he went off on a rant in Afrikaans. Oh what lovely irony. A boisterous crowd of mostly black South Africans told off in the language of their white oppressor at the memorial of Nelson Mandela. Seriously?! Really?! Verwoerd couldn’t have written a better script himself.
Well done South Africa, well done.
PS You think next time someone important in South Africa dies (no doctor, Rattray wasn’t important) could we please do without the stadium thing, and rather let the crowds be crowds on the street and the dignitaries be obnoxious in a private room with cameras judging them, rather than them judging us as a nation? Imagine how much more fun and self-righteous we could’ve been about Obama’s selfie if we hadn’t stuffed up so many other things? OMG! I just realised. We didn’t stuff up anything. It was all a cover-up to make the American president look less like an angry teenager who forgot to get out of bed on time… We really are a giving nation.