Columns 29.7.2016 07:00 am

All share Mandela’s legacy

FILE PICTURE: Rhoda Kadalie, anti-apartheid activist, making a speech in Athlone.

FILE PICTURE: Rhoda Kadalie, anti-apartheid activist, making a speech in Athlone.

If anything, the DA not only honours, but also elevates, Madiba by making him a symbol of what they stand for.

A Cape Times headline (July 27), so reminiscent of the dark days of apartheid, “White supremacy, arrogance at core of DA abusing Mandela legacy”, nauseates.

More than being vexatious, this kind of alarmist racist language belongs in the dustbin along with the Independent Group. The headline accompanies Zizi Kodwa’s racist diatribe against the Democratic Alliance for “appropriating Madiba’s legacy”.

As much as Nelson Mandela was a political icon, he was not God. As such any organisation that honours his values and principles can claim him as a hero and his legacy if they honour the constitution, the Bill of Rights and the rule of law.

Loyal opposition is one of the pillars of democracy and any party that sees “opposition as the enemy” is not fit to rule. Any election consists of political contestation over the hearts and minds of the electorate.

Just as the world appropriates Martin Luther King, the Dalai Lama, the pope, or any honourable world icon for what they represent, so the Democratic Alliance has the right to honour Mandela’s memory, in accordance with their democratic principles.

Although Madiba was a dyed-in-the-wool ANC loyalist, there were times when the ANC broke Madiba’s heart for the way they had strayed from their core principles. If anything, the DA not only honours, but also elevates Madiba by making him a symbol of what it stands for.

Hence Kodwa’s tirade is unbecoming of Madiba and of a ruling party that should embody democracy, good governance and the rule of law. Or is it that the ANC has so tarnished its own legacy that it clingsto Madiba for dear life to salvage the little bit of credibility they still have left?

Most ludicrous, is Kodwa’s off-the-wall rant: “The DA continues what their forebears could not finish – attempting to strip Madiba and his family of their sense of dignity and abusing them to further their own political agenda.

It is insensitive to Madiba’s memory, his family, his organisation, the ANC and the millions of South Africans who suffered at the hands of the white apartheid regime for Comrade Madiba’s image to today be used as a tool to advance those who represent all he fought against – the protection of white privilege and racism.”

Allow me to jog the failing memory of the ruling party’s spokesperson, that these white people did more for democracy and freedom than Kodwa will ever know or understand. One of the DA’s most illustrious forebears was Helen Suzman who, for decades, represented Madiba’s suffering and struggles to the international community loyally and without fail.

Biography after biography of ANC, SACP and PAC prisoners sing the praises of what this feisty liberal democrat and fighter for human rights did to keep the world’s eyes on Mandela imprisoned on Robben Island and afterwards.

She moved mountains to help Winnie Mandela and until the day Suzman died, she remained friends with Winnie. If anything, the DA epitomises what the ANC should try to become. Rated as the best-governed province by government’s own audits, the Western Cape strives to implement the values Madiba stood for.

To call the DA a white supremacist party is so far out of kilter with what we see in real life – multiracial crowds marching in blue, to take over where the ANC has failed.

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