A friend of mine recently posted ‘convenience doesn’t work in humanitarianism’. I took this to mean that being selective by what we can learn from Mandela’s life won’t bring us any closer to solving the challenges South Africa faces.
An act of humanitarianism or goodwill to humanity should be something that we walk, talk and promote in our everyday contact at home, work in the street and community that we live in. Hunger knows no date or month. Then why do we acknowledge the hungry man and woman, the downtrodden when it is Mandela’s birthday month?
It is fine to cook soup and bread for me, but don’t do it to ease your conscious for not creating an environment where we can coexist in the employment market and communal gatherings. Don’t clean my yard for the cameras to capture the untrue images of my surrounding. Don’t clothe me with white shirts and black trousers that were ironed to portray a formal image in an informal settlement.
When I reflect on what Mandela day means to me, I can’t help but think that it should a day of feedback to ourselves, looking back into what we have been doing throughout the past six months since the year has started as a way of refining our actions and revisiting those resolutions that we made when it started.
Selective application of the principle of ubuntu to appease the media is not going to do the nation any favour or for that matter create a great nation.
Mandela day should be a celebration of Nelson’s life, as a human being who lived and died for humanity and peace.
MJ Lekalakala joined the ACTIVATE! network in 2014 and he is from Dr JS Moroka Municipality.