The night the world honoured one son of Africa and reminded us of the ignominy of another

Last night, I watched the live broadcast of the 46664 concert from Hyde Park, London; an event staged to both celebrate the forthcoming 90Th birthday of Nelson Mandela (on 18 July 2008) and to help raise funds for HIV AIDS projects. The evening was emotionally charged as artist after artist heaped well deserved praise on Madiba and the 46664 charity, and finally Madiba himself appeared on stage, supported by his wife Graca Machel to remind the world that the work he had started was not finished; he handed over responsibility to all of us with the words ” it’s in our hands” which is the slogan of the 46664 charity.

On this wonderful day which belonged to Madiba, sadly another gratuitously despicable event was playing itself out in his home continent, Africa, where an election was being shamelessly rigged and stolen. I am referring off course to Robert Mugabe, the tyrant from Zimbabwe who has gone ahead with the run-off elections, after blatantly intimidating his opposition candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai into withdrawing, using violence and other disgraceful tactics. This despotic asshole had the temerity to ignore even Madiba’s wishes, and go ahead with his lunatic scheme to cling onto power.
These two events falling on the same day, reminded me of individuals from the government in my own country who are as disgraceful as Robert Mugabe on the one hand, and in total contrast to the ambitions of Madiba, on the other. Yes, you have guessed right. Thabo Mbeki, President of South Africa, whose unforgivable lack of leadership and implicit support for Robert Mugabe has contributed immensely to the dire situation in Zimbabwe, and the Minister of Health, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, whose stance on HIV AIDS is legendary for its utter stupidity, and the number of lives it has cost.
Africa is in desperate need of leadership, even morality. Oh, Madiba how I wish you were even thirty years younger; then you could have shown these three delinquents the error of their ways…