A few things on my mind

If it is not immoral it should at least be criminal

Posted on: December 11, 2013


Yesterday, my husband and I celebrated his birthday by sitting in the rain at FNB stadium at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service.

The atmosphere at the stadium was electric. There were blacks, whites, Indians, coloureds, South Africans and non-South Africans, young and old, paying tribute to this man. And as I was busy singing in the crowds I looked around and two rows in front of me where five girls, 16 years old at most and I thought what reference do you have of Nelson Mandela? Oh did I mention they were white?

On my way home, I remembered an incident in 1986 – I was seven years old. There were a few uprisings in my small town, like anywhere else across the country. My school was next to a high school. During these uprisings it was common for us to be let home so we primary school kids would not be caught in the cross fire.  There was one where such a warning was not received and out of the blue, the high school kids jumped over the fence into our school yard and told us to get out of class and run home. Wide eyed we ran out to be greeted by police tanks and policemen with guns pointed at us. As they started shooting, I remember my mom running past the tanks and the policemen to grab some of us. That was the country we lived in, where shooting at defenceless unarmed small children was acceptable.

And I had just come back to pay tribute to a man who not only said it was wrong but made it possible for those five girls to sit in that crowd without fear.

We all have things that we will remember Nelson Mandela for, I realised that mine is that if your moral compass falters – the legal system’s compass should be steady. This is what we are struggling with currently; we are surprised that after everything that was fought for and achieved, we find ourselves in a situation where the moral compass is again faltering. Being part of that crowd, I was again reminded that we need to protect and actively participate in those systems, because failure to do so puts us at risk of losing everything we have gained to date.

There is not much that we can do about one’s immorality; however we have legal systems that say if the oppression of defenceless is not immoral it damn is criminal.  


3 Responses to "If it is not immoral it should at least be criminal"

Again you have managed to present a different and refreshing angle. One memory I would like to share takes me back to Sebokeng in 1993, black on black violence was rife and residents were growing impatient with the ANC’s silence. Mandela gave us a surprise visit to try and calm things down. There was even a song composed for him – Nelson Mandela na wabona setjhaba sea fella – The song expressed our anger, this can be loosely translated “Mandela are you aware that the nation is perishing”.

We quickly assembled at Zone 7 stadium after the rumors about Madiba’s visit had spread across the township. When I got there Mandela was getting out of a helicopter and as soon as he touched the ground people started singing the song, Oh some of the lyrics contained words like ’give us guns so that we can protect our children’. So he walked to the podium and simply said Niga lwi (do not fight) and this was enough, of cause he gave a longer speech but those words were the only ones that people remembered.

I recall walking back home and everyone was showing peace signs, this was the first time I saw the man – it was also the first time I was introduced to his presence and influence.

Thank you for sharing, Mandela was inspirational and we should do our outmost to ensure that what he fought for is realised.

I remember very well everything that happened in those days is like they are unprinted in my mind and my mind just process the fetch mechanism voila. I remember the day when I got shot by the police, it was the same scenario as yours Thandi whereby we were told there and there to fook off and leave the class room support the toitoi. Right then riots and freedom fighting for us South African had taken a serious toll, it was bad to be a young Tebu by then.

So as I left or should I say… Ran away with my heavy school bag. Because I was so thrilled had a very bad feel that day I so wanted to go home and be safe. That’s all. I just had a bad feeling and I didn’t want to be part of anything that day, NE ke tshogile blind. As I got tired of taking a jog with that heavy bag in my back. I started walking slow to catch my breath and felt that am now close to home, one would walk like 7km in and out to and from school. I was dead sure that I was safe, I was very far from where trouble and troublemakers where. So i relaxed, i am safe… Tjo then suddenly a Koiyoko (military vehicle) just popped from nowhere It was driving very slow. Eish now am in kak. It was around 12h30 for some reason there was nobody in the street. It looked very dry like a wild coast scenic. Every went very slow motion for myself and Benju my boy. I said to him silently, mfo jwale re smokong with that slow motion baritone voice. As we were the centre of spot for the so called koiyoko. The Boers were looking on us and suddenly one started swearing at us for no reason. I realized hai khona today is my last day when they started point their rifles (pump action) towards us, they cocked, ka boom boom!!!!


We paid high prices for the freedom we this freedom.

Ntate Mandela was stolen his youth and himself for US. Imagine how hurtful that is. He never backed down . He continued to wrestle them… with reasoning. He stood tall for everything he believed. I want to thank him.

May he rest in peace he left us a weapon.

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