Nelson Mandela’s Funeral Wasn’t African Enough!
By CAMERON DUODU
The Daily Guide December 21, 2013
K1: Koo, didn’t Nelson Mandela get a send-off to end all send-offs? I was so happy for him.
K2: It exposed our current human situation starkly for all of us to see.
- Ei, you too saw beyond the solemn pieties to the philosophical contradictions?
- Yes, of course. You tell me yours and I shall tell you mine.
- No, you go first!
- No you go first!
- Hahahahahaha! This sort of behaviour reminds me of a story I once heard – about how two ambassadors were trying to get into the lift at the old Ambassador Hotel in Accra. As they waited, they struck up a conversation; you know, very ambassadorial; all smiles, though their two countries were probably spying on each other.
- -Yes, the first duty of ambassadors is to lie on behalf of their countries!
- Well, the lift eventually arrived. But neither ambassador would get into it first. “You first, Your Excellency!” said one, bowing towards the lift and using his hand to indicate that the other should get in. “No, no, Your Excellency!” said the other. “It would give me immense pleasure if you were to go in first!” And so it went on. Meanwhile, someone had called the lift on another floor. And clang! It closed its doors and went up, leaving the two ambassadors still fawning on each other. They were both late for their appointments, of course!
What an apt parallel to draw, Koo. Can you imagine what President Raul Castro of Cuba was thinking, as he shook the hand of President Barack Obama of the United States?
Koo, something like: “You’re saying all these nice words about Mandela, but if you had been President in the 1960s and had possessed drones at the time, you would have sent one to vaporise him, instead of just betraying his whereabouts to the apartheid regime, as the CIA did at the time. Why, the US classified him as a “Communist terrorist” – just as you have classified me and Fidel!”
- Hahahahaha! Koo, you are a cynic.
- Not in the least. Only a realist. And look at President Jacob Zuma of South Africa smiling at, and embracing the President of Malawi, Mrs Joyce Banda. Do you know he insulted Malawi recently?
- You are kidding?
- No! Zuma’s Government has introduced tolls on some of the busiest roads in the Gauteng-Pretoria area, and these tolls have been extremely unpopular. Criticising those attacking toll roads, Zuma said, half-mockingly: “It’s not as if we were somewhere in Africa! This is not Malawi!”
- Yes! I believe the Malawians have asked for “clarification!” The South African Government has been waffling about what Zuma actually said, but it’s clear that Zuma has very little respect for Black Africa.
- So, he wanted to make amends by treating Joyce Banda like a film star?
- Yes. Mrs Banda was invited to speak at the ceremony. She obviously writes her own speeches, for her account of visiting Mandela at home, and being ushered by Mrs Graca Machel into the living room, and how she thought Graca would now go and bring Madiba, only for Banda to find him already seated there — and how she had wanted to withdraw, only for Mrs Machel to pull her into the room! It was pure theatre!
- Did you see Kenneth Kaunda, the former President of Zambia, run up the podium and run down again, when he’d finished his speech? How could an 89-year-old man even imagine pulling off that stunt?
- It was the “Mandela Effect!” Everyone tried to do something spectacular on that day.
- Hey – did you see the photo-shopped picture of what happened to Obama after he had posed flirtatiously for a “selfie” with the blonde beauty who happens to be the Danish Prime Minister, Ms Thorning-Schmidt? Remember Michelle Obama staring straight ahead, looking glum, while Obama and David Cameron were drooling all over said lady?
- Yes! I saw the photo-shopped account of the incident. In it, Obama is seen “the next day”, sporting a black eye! The picture resonated around the globe because, as you know, Mrs Obama is reputed to be endowed with very well-developed biceps and could very well have landed Barack a sock on the eye or two!
- But let me be serious for a minute: I honestly believe that the South Africans missed a trick at the funeral. They should have put on a great cultural shows to demonstrate to the rest of the world, what a magnificent culture the Boers tried to suppress during the years of apartheid, when African [Bantu] culture was regarded as “inferior” and relegated to the background. All those military men marching in an orderly fashion in front, of, and behind a gun-carriage– so so European! An African funeral should contain elements of deliberately-contrived chaos! They should have had a day on which the Xhosas and the Zulus would both express their love for Mandela, by parading in their millions, just as they would have done if it had been Shaka or a Sabata who had died.
Koo, I agree! The South Africans should have borrowed films of the funerals of Otumfuor Nana Sir Osei Agyemang Prempeh II and Otumfuor Opoku Ware II to see how it is done. Can you imagine representative groups of all the indigenous peoples of South African filing past, in their millions (as the Asantes do!) all clad in traditional clothes and bearing their ancestral arms? Done to tell the world that hey, though their King might be dead, his people were alive and vibrant; that remained solid and united behind whoever succeeded the dead King, ready to meet any challenges unleashed against their nation? Asante drums! Asante horns! Asante adowa dancing! Mandela was born at the wrong place, Koo!
- Koo, I am going to recommend that the African Union appoint you as its Cultural Adviser!s
- Hahahahahaha. That would be the day! African rulers don’t give a damn about culture. By the way, did you hear that Archbishop Desmond Tutu had complained – in spite of the overwhelming Christian domination prevalent in the ceremonies – that the Afrikaners had been excluded from the funeral? He would probably have condemned Asante funeral practices as “pagan” stuff that had no place at Madiba’s funeral!
By Cameron Duodu