Newsflash: Mandela is going to die. One day. I hope that when that day comes, as it will to us all, he will go in peace and not suffer too much, and have all those he loves around him. The media circus that accompanied his recent sojourn in hospital for a lung infection was ghoulish.
“Fears for Mandiba’s health” the headlines screamed. Fears? The man is old. I wish him all the best but what should we fear? That he’ll die one day? Well, he will. And so will I… and you, if you’re reading this. (spoiler alert)
I wish the media and all of us would leave him alone. He’s old, he’s retired from public life and while we value his life and work we don’t own him. Time after time he’s wheeled out when public figures visit South Africa, and I’ve watched as he goes from an old man standing tall in the pictures to an older man gradually ever more stooped, leaning for support on those nearby, and finally, seated in a chair; then most recently, seated in a chair with a blanket over his knees.
He’s given so much, why don’t we let him be? Let a great man spend his remaining time in peace and quiet with his family while we relish his life and work; and when the time comes, let’s celebrate him. How about an end to the ghoulish hospital vigils and hysterical concern? Not likely.
For my part, when he passes, I’ll focus on savouring all the good that he did in his life. What a gift. What a legacy.