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Currently watching live footage on Sky News. The people of South Africa are treating it as a celebration of his life rather than mourning his passing. Very touching.
It's looking like we'll see the biggest funeral that world has ever seen.
Not just in SA, but from Harlem to Brixton, and from Birmingham to Birmingham Alabama.
As with Wee Eddie, there have been two extraordinary men in my lifetime, and I am glad to have been on earth at the same time as them.
And as I check the cricket score, I'm reminded that the sports boycott with SA was instrumental in the abolition of apartheid. Only when that bit home, did ordinary white South Africans asked themselves 'why doesn't the rest of world like us?'
Living in Zambia in the '70s we all knew that when apartheid in South Africa ended there would be the biggest bloodbath imaginable.
We didn't recognise the force that was Mandela.
As a rule, I'm very cynical about politicians and 'statesmen' but Mandela was someone very special, a true great statesman, and the world (let alone South Africa) was very lucky that, at that time and place, he was there.
After all the difficulties of the last few months of his illness, I'm truly glad that he has now been able to 'go home and rest'
Is it just me, or does anybody else think we are witnessing a massive explosion of overkill in respect of the reporting of the death of Mandela?
I was watching a documentary last night about the submarine service during the cold war and towards the end a news flash was superimposed over the lower half of the screen, saying "Breaking news on BBC!" Oh dear, I thought the flooding in East Anglia must be very bad!
But no, on finishing watching a very interesting program I turned over for news at ten to find that instead of news of an important event in this country, all channels were dominated by the death of a ninety five year old man who has been on life support for the last six months!
Now I know for the people of South Africa this is a momentous event and I can see the interest in his death to a wider audience as well, but to remove the rest of the evenings programming and replace it with an undisguised hagiography of Mandela seems to me to be excessive and unnecessary.
The great and the good were wheeled out to eulogise and canonise the old boy, there was so much cant and hypocrisy flowing over the airwaves it was positively nauseating! People like David Cameron who went on a sanctions busting visit to SA during Mrs Thatchers term as PM, mouthed his platitudes, Boris Johnson who referred to Mandelas South Africa as a "tyranny of black majority rule.” now eats his words and attempts to ingratiate himself like the rest of the worlds media in who can be the most obsequious in deifying the old boys memory.
Mandelas death is an important event in the life of South Africa, and also deserved to be a feature of world news, but he was just a man who played an important part in the life of his country. But in my opinion he does not deserve sainthood, and we do not need to spend hours of television and acres of newsprint turning him in to some sort of latter day Joan of Arc.
Whilst I wouldn't go as far as Flak999 I did and do find there is too much about this one subject.
The world can do with a few more men like him. He was not a politician, but an ordinary man who loved his country and all people irrespective of colour and creed.
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