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FROM the nation newspaper-Nigeria
Crocodile tears on the grave of Mandela
Posted by: Jide Osuntokun
The death of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (1918-2013) has attracted a lot of emotions, comments and tributes from many current leaders and past leaders of several countries in the world. Some of these comments are genuine, others are insincere and amounts to crocodile tears. About 100 global political players, both current and those who have held positions of power in the world, including President Barrack Obama, current American President and three former Presidents- Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W Bush, and the heir apparent to the British throne Prince Charles as well as our own President Goodluck Jonathan and David Cameron, John Major and Gordon Brown, current and former British Prime Ministers respectively attended the official funeral ceremony held at a big stadium in Soweto South Africa. This must have been a security nightmare for the South African authorities. Mandela who initially embraced the non-violent philosophy of Mochandas Ghandhi-Ji later abandoned non-violence and was largely responsible for forming the Umkhonto we Sizwe (the Spear of the Nation), which was the armed youthful wing of the African National Congress (ANC). The young revolutionaries in South Africa by the 1960s were already getting impatient with the conservative and non-violent approach to African liberation espoused by the ANC. Members of the Pan African Congress (PAC) were already critical of the non-violent campaign of the ANC. We can therefore say Nelson Mandela reluctantly took to armed struggle because as he argued nobody can kill a wild beast with bare hands.
In the history of the liberation of South Africa some attention should be paid to the PAC and Azanian People’s Congress’ roles as alternative platforms for the liberation of South Africa. A comparable situation is what happened in the US where the existence of militant youthful groups such as Students Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) led by Stokely Carmichael and Rap Brown, as well as the Black Panther Movement of Huey Newton and Eldrige Cleaver, and the Black Muslims particularly the faction led by one of its charismatic leaders, Malcom X with their cry burn baby burn made Martin Luther King nonviolent campaign largely acceptable to the white folks. Even though the situation was not exactly the same, white folks saw Mandela as somebody they could ultimately do business with.
This does not diminish the achievements of Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela but it is important to put the two global icons within their historical context. The two share many things in common especially their ability to forgive their oppressors. Martin Luther King’s tolerance is firmly rooted in Christian religion while Mandela’s ability to forgive is rooted in political reality. He wanted to build a non-racial majoritarian democracy in South Africa and he came to the conclusion that the only way to do this was by forgiving his racist oppressors who had built in South Africa a first world infrastructure and economy albeit on the backs of the blacks. If he had adopted the Mugabe approach of land expropriation, he would have destroyed his much loved country of South Africa for which he paid huge price of 27 years imprisonment. Since 1994 when he became president and now after having been succeeded by Thabo Mbeki and the current President Jacob Zuma, the vast majority of black South Africans have remained largely poor. Of course centuries of Black marginalization cannot be removed within a few years but young black South Africans are not prepared to wait indefinitely for the fruit of majority rule. This is the challenge facing South Africa today. And some of the militant youths have been known to issue militant statements about the conniving and apologetic leadership of the ANC who are only ready to tinker with the white economic structure of South Africa without radically changing it. This is why incredibly as it may sound, Robert Mugabe is perhaps the most popular political figure in Southern Africa today. This also accounts for the tumultuous ovation he attracted when he entered the stadium during the funeral mass for Mandela.
I had the opportunity to meet Mandela in May 1990, when he came to Nigeria, and the University of Lagos conferred on him an Honorary Doctorate degree after leaving prison and before becoming president of South Africa. Professor Nurudeen Alao who was Vice Chancellor asked me and Dr. Tunji Dare to prepare a citation for the great man. We independently wrote this and after comparing notes, Dare said my citation captured totally the essence of the man, and he subsequently published his own draft, I believe in The Guardian. I remember that one of the things the great man asked us was that he wanted to learn how Nigeria has been able to create a forum like the House of Chiefs in the old regions for traditional leaders to participate in governance so that he could do the same in South Africa. I do not know what became of his interest in this regard.
After Mandela’s death, I have been thoroughly amused by the comments of our leaders. Some of these leaders have hailed him as a great man, a great African icon and a great world leader that is worthy of emulation. Yet some of these so-called African leaders held power for years without leaving any remarkable or worthwhile imprint on the society. It is surprising that those who overstayed their welcome in office are now acclaiming Mandela as their friend and as someone from whom they learnt something. One only hopes that our current leaders and those after them will learn from this great man’s example, that it is not the amount of money that one has that matters, but that it is the enduring and unforgettable legacies that one leaves behind that really matter.
The former American President George W Bush also went to South Africa to pay his last tribute to Mandela; I believe his sincerity. But we should not forget that his Vice President Dick Cheney regarded Mandela as a terrorist. And according to General Colin Powel, a former American Secretary of State and his successor Condoleezza Rice both of whom are blacks claimed that they were hugely embarrassed to find Mandela’s name on America’s terrorist list. It is surprising that the Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin and the Chinese President Xi Jinping were conspicuously absent in South Africa to pay their last respects to Mandela; they will not be missed of course. And the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu found a lame reason about security and the cost of the trip not to go to South Africa. Of course, the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was there because Mandela was a supporter of the Palestinian cause and liberation. Let it be remembered that Israel and the United States under President Ronald Reagan assisted South Africa to acquire nuclear weapons in the late 1970s.
President Jonathan in some kind of homily during a funeral service for Mandela said that Nigeria is not likely to have a man of Mandela’s stature. I disagree and I say General Yakubu Gowon remains the greatest Head of State of Nigeria with high moral stature on a comparable level with Mandela. Gowon’s case is that of a prophet that is with no honour in his own country. Here was a man who governed this country for nine years and ended up not having a single house or billions of naira, and oil blocs in his name but was responsible for most of the enduring physical infrastructure in the country. Here is a war leader who fought a civil war and ended it without show trials and executions of those on the other side of the conflict. Gowon represents our own Abraham Lincoln and Nelson Mandela rolled into one. Since leaving office, he went back to the university and earned himself a doctorate degree in Political Science and has never soiled his hands with filthy lucre. He has used his moral currency and goodwill to attract funds for good cause such as guinea-worm eradication and has spent along with others, years in praying for the peace of Nigeria. When he was in power, Gowon was a pan-Africanist and extended the reach of Nigeria’s foreign policy to the black Diaspora in the Caribbean. History will be fair to Gowon, he may not have had the press and publicity and international acclaim that Mandela has but Gowon among our leaders certainly made a difference. And he deserves to be celebrated now and in the future.
December 11, 2013 by Anthony Akinola
By virtue of their exalted positions, political leaders are invariably famous! We see their faces on television and in newspapers and we also listen to their voices on radio. The notorious ones among them intimidate us with their posters or statues, palaces and the exclusive streets they name after themselves. They would rather celebrate their own lives than be patient with history!
However, these fellows in positions of power are reduced to ordinariness as soon as they are relieved of political power. The most mischievous of them (the Samuel Does, the Nicolae Ceausescus, the Saddam Husseins and the Muammar Gaddafis) get consumed by the anger of the oppressed, begging in vain for their lives to be spared!
Fame or notoriety is transient, while greatness endures. Political greatness is about doing deeds whose consequences endure in history. Great political leaders do not come in rapid succession; they come once in a while.
The magnitude of political greatness is determined by the magnitude of crises or challenges a political leader is confronted with. It is not by choice that the political leaders whose names ring through history and in our subconscious memories have been those who were great nation builders, or great managers of wars, or great heralds of economic prosperity. The great nations of the world have their Abraham Lincolns, Winston Churchills, Mao Tse-tungs, Mahatma Gandhis and Otto von Bismarks, to mention just a few. Even in death, great political leaders inspire generations of would-be leaders.
The Black world, in the modern era, has donated two great names to the world of political mythology. Both Martin Luther King Jnr and Nelson Mandela were products of similar as well as contrasting historical circumstances. They were members of multi-racial societies in which their own peoples were at the receiving end of injustice and degradation. The majority white group meted out injustice to the minority black in one instance, while the minority white also meted out injustice to the majority black in another. Both King Jnr and Mandela were historical characters in the crusade to bring sanity to what was a hopeless situation.
They were men of exceptional courage, intelligence, eloquence, vision and character. King Jnr paid the ultimate price in his crusade for racial equality and justice, while Mandela had his freedom curtailed in an incredible 27 years of imprisonment. Today, we celebrate the fact that both men and their apostles have been vindicated.
The world mourns Mandela who died on Thursday, December 5, at the ripe old age of 95. His death has captured the imagination of the entire world. Of course, the role he played in ending the obnoxious apartheid system in South Africa is monumental; what, however, the rest of the world is celebrating today is the exceptional character of one individual. One doubts if he would have been that revered if he were vengeful, or had exhibited political greed by wanting to die in office. Neither was he obsessed with personal wealth and the perquisites that appeal to ordinary human beings. In suffering and forgiving his tormentors, Mandela, according to Prof. Ladipo Adamolekun, is the nearest we have to Jesus Christ in Christian mythology.
It is noteworthy that President Goodluck Jonathan declared three days of mourning in memory of Africa’s most illustrious son. This gesture is not enough. What can we learn from Mandela in terms of personal contentment and spirit of reconciliation? What can Jonathan himself learn from this global icon as he ponders his own political future amidst fierce disagreements and possible chaos? When one’s political right conflicts with the national interest, which one should prevail over the other?
For our nation, one urges that we reflect on the struggles of our racial compatriots in the United States of America and South Africa. They had more vicious experiences to contend with than many of us could imagine. With purposeful leadership, we should prevail and ours be counted among the most important nations of the world. Great leaders like Mandela and King Jnr re-write history because their dreams transcend big mansions and private jets! Great leaders live their lives for the sake of others.
– Akinola wrote in from Oxford, United Kingdom.
Monday, March 9, 2009
Physical Virginity Tests in Africa!!!!!!
To all Ladies out there – anyone of you dare to take this tests ??????????
Thousands of girls in South Africa are queuing up each month to prove that they are virgins, reviving an African tradition seen by many as the answer to the scourge of AIDS.
Bare-breasted teenagers wearing nothing but strings of beads and colourful loincloths regularly submit to the ordeal of having a stranger check if their hymens are intact, leaping for joy when the test confirms that they are still virgins.
(After the tests are done – these girls who passed are given certificates!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Advocates say the revival of the rite, which had died out in all but a few rural areas late in the 20th century, is the most effective way to stop the spread of teenage pregnancies and the deadly HIV virus, believed to affect one in 10 South Africans.
Opponents argue that the practice is unconstitutional, unhygienic and violates the human rights of those being tested.
“Those who are behind the comeback…say that if we test young girls to see if they are virgins they will be fearful and will not engage in sexual activity,” said Phumelele Ntombela-Nzinande, former deputy head of the Commission for Gender Equality.
“We are arguing that this practice undermines the principles of equality, freedom and human dignity. It is difficult to tell whether or not a girl has had intercourse and after touching about 600 girls you can easily transfer infections.”
Girls between the age of seven and 26 lie on a mat in front of the woman doing the test, which only takes a few seconds. It is often carried out with bare hands and the tester seldom washes them.
Girls who pass get white stars pasted on their foreheads and a certificate confirming their virginity.
“We have come here to celebrate and keep our culture going,” 16- year-old Brenda Mkhize told Reuters television after her test.
“It’s better to be a virgin than to have AIDS and have a baby at the age of 16…we don’t see any reason to sleep with a guy, and I think I will stay like this until I get married.”
Mkhize was one of hundreds of girls attending a virginity celebration at a sports stadium near Durban in December.
Afterwards, the girls sang and danced in traditional Zulu fashion.
“We are here because we are proud of ourselves, because we are virgins,” another girl said.
Any volunteers from Asia for this tests??????
Well physical virginity tests were also reported in India as shown in the video above dated August 3rd, 2009. That so called tests received widespread condemnations by leaders and elders.
Posted by bebek at 4:07 AM
Labels: africa, tests, virginity
Checking it out, this news seems to back from 2000 or 2001.
But the thing that amazes me most is: why is the testing done in full glare of the general public??
March 9, 2009 9:21 AM
i dont know…… and it was done in south africa……. a well developed country…. and not in guinea buisseau or new caledonia or papua new guinea or congo!!!!!
March 9, 2009 11:03 AM
Very funny test system..
Canno be ..like this
Why they din’t use any room or clinic. Too privacy.
January 22, 2010 8:34 PM
Yes LanaBulu.. it’s really funny indeed!!!
March 7, 2010 12:15 AM
some low class family in iran do the test too. they do it before marriage and it is done by a gynacologist.there are many doctors who has made a futune out of fix the virginty!!!
October 15, 2010 5:55 AM
to mr or mrs. shame
Don’t bring your country down.cause it seems you should be iranian.it is never have been like that in iran.just if any future husband asks for the test!and it’s just 1 in 10.000 .wich may happen in any other asian or middle eastern country.any ways i agree with the fact that this test is very ugly and against women rights.
October 15, 2010 9:13 AM
Damn. Damn. Damn this horrible culture. As well as the cruel nature that inflicted all these injustice to women. Why don’t these ignorant women stand up to all this crap? Why?
October 15, 2010 3:00 PM
such a shameful test, not because it is taken in public, but, because it is a real violation of women rights.
To mr or mrs Anonymous 1! : I haven’t heard of such a test in iran either. But, you know it is still of high importance among many iranian families, causing a lot of women not to have sex before marriage.
October 15, 2010 8:35 PM
Thanks for the comment Sara, Anonymous and others… will appreciate if you all can tell me wether this practise is still being done in other parts of the world… Thanks very much
October 15, 2010 10:10 PM
آخه سی ساله که تخم اسراييل رو نتونستن بخورن. همه اش شعار مفته . فقط ملت ايران رو غارت کردن. کس اول آخر محمد و موسي.oder
October 15, 2010 10:20 PM
what kind of test you are talking about I had been in Iran for 34 years and I have never ever eared something about what you said. I agree that somebody are reluctant to marry with the girls who had sex before but never such a test have been conducted
October 15, 2010 11:58 PM
So at the end they have certificate,shows that they are VIRGIN, how great!
i’m 100% agree with shame, it is the bitter fact in iran. please notice before respond comment; he/she said :some low class family in iran… and unfortunately it is a hot business for some doctors.
October 16, 2010 2:18 AM
I am Iranian Lady and i never heared about a similar test in iran. i will be thank full if shame let us now where he/she live. in which city of iran you live? and why you try to change the reality?
October 16, 2010 3:21 AM
I don’t know why some guy deny this fact in Iran?
I am not from Iran but I have live in Iran,Isfahan city,for 5 years as Afghanistani illegal refugee. When I was in Iran,I saw many similarity between my country and Iranian culture. one of this similarity was virginity test that are done by groom’s mother in zafaf(first night of marriage ) and if bride was not virgin,as a result, marriage is canceled and this act is considered ignominy and dishonor for that girl and her family and even familiars.
this tradition stay alive in Afghanistan and Iran and many of neighbor countries.even in urban areas like capital city Tehran, Recreating virginity with surgery is widespread.
now I question from those guys who deny this fact why you deny?
in addition to this tradition there is another shameful and horrible tradition that only carry out between Kurds in middle east. I haven’t seen that in another place even my country and that practice is Female Circumcision. in the Kurdish areas of Iran and Iraq, supporters of the practice say it controls women’s sexual desires and makes them “clean.” Food prepared by uncircumcised women, for example, can be considered unacceptable.
I think we shouldn’t deny this fact and we should seek how solve this problems.
October 16, 2010 3:41 AM
Community Member said…
This shameful act has no place in Iran. Iranian society is developed and civilized enough not to let anyone to carry such barbaric act on its girls.
October 16, 2010 4:18 AM
It’s biggest lie that I heard…
it’s impossible to get this test in Iran, because its so rude for Iranian people to do this, whether in their religion or in their culture.
nobody cant stand this test in Iran…
October 16, 2010 7:36 AM
Excuse me last Anon, in the English language two negatives do not make a negative, but rather a positive. So saying that “nobody can’t stand” means “everybody can stand”. This is not the case in the Persian language though.
October 16, 2010 12:16 PM
This such tests have never taken a place in Iran! Of course some families are still concerned about virginity but they never have this kind of test!
The guy or girl from Afghanistan: Please never ever compare your culture with Persians! Everyone knows what’s going on in Afghanistan in terms of women’s right! You might have been a construction worker there and probably the people you used to socialize with, were at the level of those families who are concerned about virginity but I bet non of them have that kind of virginity test! If you want to talk a bout history and hundreds years ago, then we can bring up all the world including Europe that virginy was one of the most important issues among high class families! (i.e. Victorian era in England)while now its matter of low class familes. Iran already has passed its “Victorian” era but Afghanistan for sure has a long way to go!!
October 16, 2010 11:27 PM
Shame and Me: It’s a bitter fact that some people still care about virginity as so many families in Canada or Australia! But here we’re talking about “virginity test” not the importance of virginity! I am not Iranian but have lived in Iran for several years and never heard of such tests! Besides (no offense to Iranian girls) never seen a virgin as well :)) Which is a great proof that they (Iraninans) do not care about virginity at all!!
October 16, 2010 11:35 PM
Thank you very much to all of you who dropped by and took your time to read this blog.. I really appreciate it. But seriously, i dont think this virginity tests are being done in any part of Iran or other Asian countries. The photographic proof showed that this obnly happens n Africa – not all parts of Africa but certain parts.. Happy reading everybody.. Women, Men, Boys and Girls…
October 18, 2010 12:54 AM
yes. it is true 3o years ago, when i was in Iran, every girl before marriage ( aghd } accompanied with girl’s mom and one member of the groom family would go to a doctor to be exam for virginity. i don’t know about now these days. All respectable family did this. whoever disagree with this custom either they are very young or don’t know what they are taking about, even shah’s wife Farah have gone Thur this. this was done to stop any false TOHMAT accusation. but what is happening in Africa it is unbelievable, they didn’t do this way in Iran, always girl was exam by a doctor I am a Iranian girl, and I am from very educated and well off family.
December 6, 2010 7:38 PM
Thanks for the comment Anonymous… i am sure the Iranian government will do its best to protect the well beings, sanity & honour of all Iranian women.. Thanks for reading..
December 7, 2010 10:03 PM