ZUMA, KATHRADA AND MANDELA

Leaders of society

I’ve been thinking about Zuma, Kathrada and Mandela.

I’ve been feeling a bit uncomfortable about the almost hysterical self-righteousness with which society has responded to Zuma’s machinations. I do not excuse him, but I do recognise a part myself in them.

This insight dawned as a result of a tweet from a stranger.  Here is how it happened. I was responding to a tweet from well-known author, Zakes Mda:

Now that Gordhan & Jonas have been purged (it had nothing to do with all the smoke and mirrors of cabinet reshuffle) (1) nuclear deal is on.

Replying to @ZakesMda

Nuclear deal? Oh dear. I just bought a house in Jeffrey’s Bay. Around the corner from proposed site.Media preview

ZakesMda's avatar
Give it to me, John. I’m nuclear-proof.
busani99's avatar

@johnmountford white people gloting about their wealth!!

 At first I was offended by dicolonise’s tweet, but later in the day I gained new perspective on it. I do not regard myself as wealthy, but wealth is relative, and our relative wealth is important to us all as a society.

We are an acquisitive society, from the wealthiest to the poorest. We seek security in what we own and not in who we are. We look to control and manipulate our immediate environment to maximise our wealth and security. And then we point fingers at others who do it on a bigger scale than ourselves. We are horrified that our leaders are just like us.

Society is a collection of individuals. We create society, society does not create us. Those who are the most successful in manipulating their environment for their own material security rise to the top. But we do not want our leaders to be like us. We want them to be selfless, not prone to the need for security through acquisition and control. However, that will only happen when the majority of individuals in society find security in who they are and not what they own.

Like Mandela and Kathrada.

Unlike Zuma. Unlike most of us, wherever we stand in the relative scale of wealth.

When, occasionally, a leader emerges from society who is totally unlike society, we idolize them. Understandably. They have swum against the tide, risen above the rest. We lament that all our leaders are not like them, but that will only happen when most of us become more like them.

We are society. We are the world. We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving.

You were right, dicolonise. I was ‘gloting’ (sic), but you were envious. We both have work to do.