Tag Archives: mandela

Africa Emerges — but from what and into what?

A triumph of hope over experience in Robert Rotberg’s new assessment of the continent.  “Propelled to some extent by significant drivers of economic uplift such as the dramatic spread of mobile telephone capabilities and China’s pulsating appetite for African resources, sub-Saharan Africa, almost for the first time in more than 60 years, has a golden interlude in which it and its peoples can take advantage of abundant new opportunities”.

Robert Rotberg. Author of Africa Emerges Consummate Challenges, Abundant Opportunities
Robert Rotberg. Author of Africa Emerges Consummate Challenges, Abundant Opportunities

The author of this article reviews Robert Rotberg’s book, Africa Emerges Consummate Challenges, Abundant Opportunities, Cambridge, Polity, 2013.

This is a fine and lofty start to a book by an academic with an established reputation as a researcher and commentator on the continent. Components of this golden interlude, it seems, are the “startling improvements in child mortality”, the decline in dictatorships and the drop in deaths from civil conflicts, which mean that Africa is no longer the basket-case of the world. But the basket-case, dark continent approach to Africa was always questionable and selective, so from the beginning I was inclined to ask from what Africa is emerging and into what? While reviewing this book, I began to wonder if Rotberg’s Africa exists in a parallel universe where the seemingly endless war and suffering in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the swirling conflicts across Central Africa, and the continuing, crushing poverty afflicting most ordinary Africans do not exist.

Further into the book, I found sourced and well-set out accounts of many of the problems and prospects facing Africa.

The author discusses very real, positive developments and the constant striving of ordinary Africans for a better life, as well as some of the negative factors that threaten the progress of economies.
In particular, I found Rotberg’s discussion of the development of African-originated answers to the questions of how to develop strongly-rooted systems of accountable and responsive government and how to overcome Africa’s deepening dependence on exports of primary or semi-processed commodities compelling.
These parts are interesting and informative but are marred by concluding sections in most chapters that, I’m sure with the best of intentions, accentuate the positives unrealistically and gloss over the continuing, major structural problems facing African peoples.

There are rose-tinted references to the development of democracy in countries like Ghana (where the courts are deliberating on whether the last elections were a massive fraud) and Namibia (SWAPO is perhaps not the best model for democratic development).

There seems to be a naïve acceptance that holding elections once every four or five years is a measure of real accountability, and a naïve belief in the self-serving opinions of Tony Blair about Africa’s progress, the credit for which Blair rather apportions to himself on an undeserved basis.

There are too many conclusions that claim progress that remains less than certain and may, like periods of African growth in the past, be the result of temporary surges in commodity demand and prices that mean a rise in export income but no deep or lasting development of the economies as a whole.

The author’s examination of China’s role in Africa, for example, skates over the trade imbalances, the dumping of cheap manufactures that destroy local industries and the use of Chinese rather than local labour.

When lauding growth in many states’ GDPs in recent years, too little account is taken of how much of that growth is solely attributable to primary commodities and how little to domestic agricultural or industrial production, how weak the tax bases of most countries are and how a drop in prices could lead to another crash.

There is no reference to Rick Rowden’s recent work, which points out that export-led growth does not mean wider economic growth, rising employment opportunities or sustainable development.

Rotberg would have done well to reference works like this to temper the insupportable optimism that he exhibits.

Too often possibilities for development are made out to be real progress with phrases like “may be able to make major transformations” — but how and when is not then detailed or supported by credible evidence.

Hope is good but it needs to be supported by collateral.

There are also occasional flights of fancy that verge on the ridiculous and stereotypical. Africa does have wildlife that lives in such close proximity to humans that it can damage crops or threaten livestock, but Africa’s agricultural problems are not seriously worsened when “elephants trample village gardens and lions and leopards take cattle” (p.43) — these may cause localized want, but are not serious obstacles to development.

When it comes to conflict and governance, the book has a worrying tendency to reduce too much to the whims and evil agency of leaders and the failure of Africa to measure up to the demands of Eurocentric, post-Westphalian, Weberian nation-state concept.
This level of analysis is not helpful and takes little account of the interplay between structure and agency in Africa — with one channeling the other but in turn being altered by the flow of agency and events.
Instead, there is the simple answer that Africa’s problems are not to be blamed on colonial legacies, inappropriate borders, conflict between peoples, competition for resources or avarice of elites but on “the failure of the modern nation-state in Africa” (p. 70).

But why did the nation-state fail?

This is not adequately addressed nor is there real attention to the importance of other, less formal models in Africa.
He lauds governance in Botswana without explaining why this has been successful. He also totally ignores important developments such as the grassroots, indigenous construction (free from most external influence) of accountable but not Western-style forms of government in Somaliland or the success of power-sharing as a means of curtailing conflict in Burundi.

The author quite reasonably holds up Nelson Mandela and Seretse Khama — both estimable men worthy of emulation — as leaders who could provide the models for future politicians. In so doing, however, he does not say how and why they were successful as icons of leadership and he ignores the sadly short-lived “rainbow nation” euphoria in South Africa and the growth of corruption during Mandela’s period in office.
While Mandela was an international statesman, apostle of reconciliation and globally admired force for unity and forgiveness, the Mbeki-run administration became more distant and unaccountable, corrupt and self-serving under his rule.

The book concludes with the bizarre thought that “It may not be fanciful to envisage schools for political leaders capable of building the kinds of capacities that are now in short supply. Successful former leaders from Botswana, say, could instruct, as could those responsible leaders who may have served in many countries as vice presidents or cabinet ministers” (p.215).
Surely, good political leaders, like Mandela and Khama, emerge not from some leader factory (and who decides on the blueprint for the ideal leader?) but from the people of the countries they govern.

Leaders do not and should not achieve office through graduation from some sort of political polytechnic. Besides, can you see Goodluck Jonathan or Salva Kiir sitting and being lectured on integrity and democracy by Festus Mogae or Gaositwe Chiepe?
This flight of fancy is redolent of a “one-size fits all” approach to Africa and it exposes the lack of detailed differentiation of the progress in some areas and the decline in others — such as the failure of Nigeria to surmount the problems of disunity, violence and corruption, the inability of Zimbabweans to rid themselves of the curse of Mugabe and the continuing decline of South Africa into corruption, incompetence and unaccountability.

Keith Somerville
Senior Research fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London; teaches in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent; and runs the Africa — News and Analysis website (www.africajournalismtheworld.com)

Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

Michelle Obama: “Believe me, the blood of Africa runs through my veins.”

Michelle Obama on Wednesday, July 30, praised the efforts that African leaders have made in improving educational opportunities for girls, but she emphasized that barriers remained and pledged American support in removing them.

“Let’s be very clear: In many countries in Africa, women have made tremendous strides,” Mrs. Obama said in addressing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders summit meeting here.
But she said that 30 million of the girls and young women in sub-Saharan Africa were not attending school, and that too many of them were forced into marriage before even hitting puberty. Genital mutilation of girls is still common in some areas, she said, and rapists and human traffickers often escape prosecution. But she highlighted some of the success stories. In Rwanda, she said, more than half of the legislators are women — “which, by the way,” she said, “is more than double the percentage of women in the U.S. Congress.”
Still, she said: “I don’t think it’s really productive to talk about issues like girls’ education unless we’re willing to have a much bigger, bolder conversation about how women are viewed and treated in the world today. And we need to be having this conversation on every continent and in every country on this planet. And that’s what I want to do today with all of you, because so many of you are already leading the charge for progress in Africa.”
The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative, and the meeting on Wednesday served as a lead-in to the president’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, which begins on Monday.
Mrs. Obama’s speech was her second foreign policy endeavor in recent months. In May, she used her Twitter account and the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls to focus attention on the kidnapping of hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls by Boko Haram terrorists.
“This conversation is deeply personal to me,” Mrs. Obama said on Wednesday. “The roots of my family tree are in Africa. As you know, my husband’s father was born and raised in Kenya, and members of our extended family still live there.”
She noted that many members of the audience — some of them half her age — had founded businesses and nongovernmental organizations to champion the cause of women and girls throughout the continent. She pointed to one effort to educate women in microcredit and accounting, and another involving a Miss Education pageant to inspire girls to pursue higher education.
“We are really focusing on education broadly in the United States and girls’ education internationally,” she said. “This isn’t just something that I care about now in my role as first lady. This is an issue that we’re going to have to continue to work on as I take my last breath.”
Mrs. Obama’s appearance onstage was greeted by cheers and high-fives, and even an “amen” or two.

Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

On July 28, 2014, in front of 500 exceptional young leaders, President Obama announced that the United States intends to double the number of annual participants in the Mandela Washington Fellowship to 1000 by the summer of 2016.

President Obama renames the Class of 2014 Washington Fellowship in honor of Mandela

Barack Obama also announced the renaming of the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders in honor of Nelson Mandela. The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and embodies President Obama’s commitment to invest in the future of Africa.  The first class of Mandela Washington Fellows arrived in June 2014 for six weeks of intensive executive leadership training, networking, and skills building, followed by a Presidential Summit in Washington, DC.  Through this initiative, young African leaders are gaining the skills and connections they need to accelerate their own career trajectories and contribute more robustly to strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security in Africa.

Selected from nearly 50,000 applications, the 500 Mandela Washington Fellows represent the extraordinary promise of an emerging generation of entrepreneurs, activists, and public officials.  Mandela Washington Fellows are between 25 and 35 years old; have proven track records of leadership in a public, private, or civic organization; and demonstrate a strong commitment to contributing their skills and talents to building and serving their communities.  The first class of Fellows represents all 49 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and includes equal numbers of men and women.  Despite their youth, more than 75 percent of Fellows already hold a mid-level or executive position, and 48 percent have a graduate degree.  Twenty-five percent of Fellows currently work in a non-governmental institution and 39 percent of them operate their own business. Nearly all Fellows are the first in their families to visit the United States.

Walking in Mandela’s Footsteps

It’s not easy walking in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela, the nation’s first democratically elected president. No one knows that better than the two men who succeeded him as president of South Africa.

A larger-than-life figure, Mandela was elected president of the formerly White minority-ruled country in 1994, an accomplishment made even more remarkable by his having served 27 years in prison for his struggle to win equal rights for the violently oppressed Black majority.
After serving one term and still at the apex of his popularity, the former lawyer decided to forgo a second 5-year term, clearing the way for his chief deputy and African National Congress (ANC) colleague Thabo Mbeki to assume the top office in 1999.

George Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine, is editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service (NNPA.) He is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach.
George Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine, is editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service (NNPA.) He is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach.

But after serving eight years in office, Mbeki was recalled by the ANC in 2007 after losing an elective conference to Jacob Zuma at a party gathering in Polokwane, Limpopo, just north of Johannesburg. He resigned in September 2008. Zuma succeeded Mbeki and there appears to be growing disenchantment with the country’s third Black president’s performance.

Zuma’s presidency has been tarnished by repeated reports of scandals, including charges that he used state funds on his private residence in Nkandla, a rural town in KwaZulu-Natal province. Improvements include the addition of a swimming pool, visitors’ center and amphitheater. The Zuma administration said the expenses, estimated at approximately $2 million (U.S.), are for security reasons.

Photographs of the sprawling home have reminded South Africans of the contrast between the lavish lifestyles enjoyed by the elites and the millions of residents mired in poverty. The allegations of corruption are taking a political toll on Zuma, who is in his second term.

Jacob Zuma's Nkandla Homestead compound in KwaZulu Natal Province
Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla Homestead compound in KwaZulu Natal Province. A $27.5 million presidential residence

According to the Sunday Times, Mbeki told a UK television network that Zuma should resign if recalled by the ANC.
“So when they look at some of the things that are happening…when they see this corruption in the country, which seems to be increasing at all levels of government, the people are aggrieved. They are saying that this is not what freedom was for.”

With nearly 100 international leaders in South Africa to memorialize the beloved Nelson Mandela, Zuma was loudly booed by some participants at the main memorial service. At a send-off from Pretoria the day before Mandela’s funeral, Zuma seemed to be answering his critics when he said, “I’ll be very happy if, as we mourn and celebrate Madiba, we do not abuse his name. Mandela never abused his membership and his leadership in the ANC. We should not think that Madiba’s passing on is a time for us to indirectly settle scores.”

Mbeki is not the only Mandela loyalist to believe that Zuma is not the leader the nation needs at this time.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

In an interview earlier this year with the Mail & Guardian, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said: “I have over the years voted for the ANC, but I would very sadly not be able to vote for them after the way things have gone.” Tutu explained, “We really need a change. The ANC was very good at leading us in the struggle to be free from oppression. They were a good freedom-fighting unit. But it doesn’t seem to me now that a freedom-fighting unit can easily make the transition to becoming a political party.”

Last week, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, the country’s largest trade union and a traditional ally of the ANC, called for Zuma to resign and announced that it will not support the ruling ANC in next year’s election.
The pressure for Zuma’s resignation continues to build.
According to a poll released Dec. 15 by the Sunday Times, slightly more than half (51 percent) of registered ANC members believe Zuma should resign from office as a result of a scandal involving his home in Nkandla.
Zuma’s critics acknowledge that the dissatisfaction with the president has as much to do with disappointment at the slow rate of progress over nearly 20 years of freedom, including the Mandela years, than Zuma individually.

A report last year by Statistics South Africa showed that over the past decade, annual earnings of Black households increased by 169 percent to 60,613 rand (approximately U.S. $6,644) while White household earnings over that same period rose by 88 percent to 365,134 rand (about U.S. $40,927).

Official unemployment is nearly 25 percent. If you add discouraged workers no longer actively seeking work, the figure is 33 percent.
The Economist noted, “… the gap between rich and poor is now wider than under apartheid.

South Africa is learning the lesson that other countries around the world, including the U.S., are being forced to accept. It’s one thing to criticize government as an outsider, It’s quite another to assume power and make fundamental changes.

George E. Curry
Atlanta Daily World

Obama, Africa and Guinea

My comments on Robert Maginnis article about Obama, Africa and Guinea

Robert Maginnis
Robert Maginnis

Given Robert Magannis credentials and professional affiliation, this article logically reflects the views of the conservative Republican side of American politics. In it, the author seeks to expose further the $25 million Paladino loan. By the same token, the paper reiterates opposition to President Obama’s Democratic Administration policies or projects, domestically and abroad.
Mr. Magannis claims that Obama Administration’s Guinea Mining Deal Hurts American Businesses.
To be sure, in spite of his partisan approach, Mr. Maginnis has a few facts correct. Thus, he states that, under President Alpha Condé, Guinea goes on with business as usual, specifically in the following areas:

  • Security force abuses, including killings
  • Concentration of power in the executive and rule by decree
  • Weak implementation of the rule of law
  • Rising ethnic tensions
  • Heightening regional insecurity as a hub for transnational narcotics trade

Unfortunately, the rest of the article fires indiscriminately at the Democratic administration. In so doing, it strings together unrelated or contradictory points. As a result, the author’s arguments lack cohesion. I would like to highlight some of those mistakes here.

  1. The article compares the former (Mahmoud Thiam) and current (Mohamed Fofana) ministers of mining, at the expense of the latter on accounts of deceit and corruption. Actually, the Guinean media have leveled embezzlement charges against Mr. Thiam, who was appointed Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara and confirmed by Gen. Sekouba Konaté.
  2. Robert Maginnis quotes minister Thiam as saying that Alpha Condé’s on, Mohamed, is actively engaged in the kickback and bribery schemes of his father. That’s not surprising at all. But the question is: What did Mr. Thiam do in the wake of the September 28, 2009 massacre ? He stayed put and left the government only when Alpha Condé didn’t reappoint him. Bottom line: ministers Thiam and Fofana are just specimen of the same breed of techno-bureaucrats predators of the Guinean economy.
  3. Restoration of the privileged U.S. trade partner status, to Guinea, under African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), is a debatable decision. For thecountrycannotmeetAGOA’s production quality standards. Furthermore,thatdecisionwas based on three criteria that US officials, arbitrarily and erroneously, deemed Guinea has met:
    1. Hosting free and fair elections
    2. Establishment of the rule of law
    3. Combating corruption. I note that Robert Maginnis seems to accept the inclusion of Guinea in the AGOA program, even though he denounces that Conakry has failed to satisfy those conditions.
  4. Mr. Maginnis asserts that “Guinea’s 2010 election was largely free and fair…”
    Wrong, the 2010 presidential election in Guinea was neither free nor fair. It was violent —more women rapes occurred— and rigged through and through. The inauguration of the so-called “Professor” Alpha Condé ushered in a usurper and a perjurer.
    In his campaign speeches he demagogically portrayed himself as a combination of Mandela and Obama. Nothing could be further from the truth. For since taking office, Mr. Condé has thrown dozens of citizens (civilians and military) in jail, where the suspects were tortured. When he visited President Obama at the White House in August last year, he got an earful from his host. He certainly didn’t like to be reminded that “Africa does not need strong men; instead, Africa needs strong institutions.” Indeed.
  5. Like most foreign journalists, Mr. Maginnis sees Africa as a primary sector economy providing raw extractive products in mining, forestry and industrial crops. The local production of food and energy, the management of water and public health, the building of modern communications networks and transportation systems have low or no priority. That’s plain wrong.
  6. Last but not the least, when the Guinea junta committed the September 2009 massacre, President Obama and Secretary Clinton reacted swiftly and appropriately. Horrified by the crimes, and taking off temporarily the diplomatic gloves, Hillary Clinton vowed that the US would take action against the military thugs. And Barack Obama denounced Guinea’s rampant corruption in his 2011 State of the Union speech.
    Such actions speak louder than words. In my view , they stand as proactive diplomacy and constructive engagement.

Tierno S. Bah

Bob Maginnis serves as the Senior Fellow for National Security at Family Research Council (FRC). He also served with FRC from 1993 to 2002, rising from analyst to the Vice President for Policy. Mr. Maginnis is a retired Army lieutenant colonel, a national security and foreign affairs analyst for radio and television, a columnist for Human Events and a senior strategist with the U.S. Army. He testified before the Pentagon’s 1993 Military Working Group that worked on the homosexual issue, provided considerable background material at the group’s request, and served as a personal advisor to the group’s senior member, Army Lt. Gen. John Otjen. Simultaneously, he served on the Army Chief of Staff’s study group considering the homosexual issue.

Adieu, Miriam

Miram Makeba (1932-2008)
Miram Makeba (1932-2008)

Comparant sa voix au doux son d’un rossignol, ses parents et amis encouragèrent Miriam Makeba à chanter. Elle s’y mit de tout coeur et connut rapidement un succès local. “Son style distinct, qui enchanta le monde entre les 1960-70, combinait les mélodies traditionnelles africaines, le jazz et la musique folklorique, moulés dans les rythmes uniques et vibrants des bidonvilles d’Afrique du Sud.”

La carrière internationale de Miriam Makeba débuta à Londres vers 1959. Elle prit de l’envol à son arrivée à New York  en 1960. Cette même année, le gouvernement d’Afrique du Sud la bannit de son pays natal. Elle ne le reverra que 31 ans plus tard, en 1990, après la libération de Nelson Mandela. A New York, Miriam se produisit au Village Vanguard et dans d’autres haut-lieux du show business métropolitain. Mais sa notoriété augmenta largement grâce à son inoubliable duo avec Harry Belafonte, militant actif et soutien financier généreux du Révérend Martin Luther, Jr. dans la lutte pour l’émancipation des Noirs américains.
En 1962, Miriam chanta avec Marilyn Monroe pour l’anniversaire du président John  Kennedy à Madison Square Garden. Elle multiplia les tournées en Europe et aux Etats-Unis.
En même temps, toujours sensible au sort de son pays, elle redoubla ses attaques et se tailla un rôle à part dans la lutte contre l’apartheid.
En 1968, elle épousa en secondes noces Stokely Carmichael alias Kwame Touré. L’union avec le dirigeant du Black Panther Party lui valut d’être fichée par le FBI. Tous ses engagements de concerts et ses contracts d’enregistrements aux USA furent annulés.
Elle décida de s’établir en Guinée. Quel destin étrange et paradoxal pour cette admirable militante anti-apartheid. Elle acceptait ainsi un autre apartheid —la dictature de Sékou Touré— comme terre d’exil. Et, que l’étoile du régime pâlissait au quotidien, elle en devint un porte-parole sur la scène internationale. En plus de la nationalité guinéenne, les autorités lui accordèrent un terrain à Dalaba, au sud du Fuuta-Jalon. Elle y construisit une case de repos aujourd’hui abandonnée.

En 1967, elève au lycée de Labé, je la revois encore voluptueusement enlacée dans les bras de Sékou Touré, tiré à quatre épingles, à un bal au Palais de La Kolima, hâtivement construit en 1965 par le gouverneur de région, Emile Condé. Elle et son présidentiel cavalier ouvrirent la soirée dansante en exécutant un boléro sensuel. Le couple s’éclipsa peu après pour l’intimité de la Villa Silly, dans le quartier de Tata, aux abords de l’aéroport de Tyogge.
A Conakry, les orchestres nationaux Balla et Keletigui reçurent l’ordre de l’accompagner. Elle sortit un ou deux albums avec Balla, en compagnie du brillant Dr. Sékou Diabaté (guitare solo, et cousin aîné de Sékou Diabaté Bembeya alias Diamond Finger), Nestor (vocaliste), etc.
En 1969, étudiant à l’IPGAN, je la rencontrai personnellement Conakry à l’accueillant domicile de Dr. et Madame Sultan à Landréah. Je sollicitai et obtint gracieusement sa photo dédicacée.
Par la suite, le standing international et le répertoire musical de Miriam accusèrent le coup de son relatif isolement guinéen. Par exemple, elle fut contrainte de remodeler son  répertoire au détriment de la kwela populaire et de la vitalité des ghettos sud-africains. Elle adopta graduellement la sonorité afro-cubaine des musiciens guinéens.
Après l’attaque du 22 novembre, Miriam monta au créneau. Elle créa Jiginnira et d’autres chansons tristes qui reflétaient l’atmosphère politique macabre du pays.
Au milieu des années 1970, en vraie artiste non-conformiste, elle se maria avec Bah Ibrahima ‘Bajo‘, de loin son cadet et mon promotionnaire du lycée de Labé.
Peu après elle fit inscrire des étudiants sud-africains à l’Institut Polytechnique G.A. Nasser de Conakry. Après deux années de calvaire, tous demandèrent  à être transférés en Tanzanie ou en Zambie.

A la fin des années 1980, la tragédie familiale frappa Miriam par la mort “insensée” de son unique fille. Elle raconte dans son livre autobiographique le violent choc culturel qu’elle ressentit à l’heure de l’enterrement.  Les officiels et les prélats lui signifièrent que conformément à la tradition musulmane, elle ne pouvait accompagner Bongii à sa dernière demeure au cimetière de Camayenne.

Miriam Makeba, portant le jubaade, la coiffure des femmes Fulbe du Fuuta-Jalon
Miriam Makeba, portant le jubaade, la coiffure des femmes Fulbe du Fuuta-Jalon

En 1985 Miriam s’installa en Belgique. L’abolition du régime de l’Apartheid lui permit de rentrer au bercail en 1990. L’ex-président Thabo Mbeki la nomma par la suite Ambassadrice spéciale de l’Afrique du Sud. Apparemment non repentante, elle effectua une visite à Conakry en 2003. Au cours d’une rencontre télévisée avec des anciennes militantes du PDG, elle entonna une des ballades des années 1970. Prise de nostalgie, l’audience reprit en chœur et en larmes. Ensemble, les participantes de la réunion manifestèrent leur regret d’une période —partiellement révolue et sombre— de l’histoire de la Guinée.
L’instant résumait visuellement le destin contradictoire de Miriam Makéba, fait de hauts et de bas. En effet, réfléchissant sur la complexité de sa vie, elle confia à un journaliste de Salon en 2000 : “Ma vie a été comme un jeu de yo-yo. Aujourd’hui, je suis en dîner avec des présidents et des empereurs,  et demain, je me retrouve en train de faire de l’auto-stop. J’accepte mon sort en me disant, tiens, peut-être que c’est prédestiné, qu’il doit en être ainsi.  Et que c’est ma raison d’être ici-bas.”

L’aéronef transportant le cercueil de Mama Africa atterrira demain mercredi 12 novembre 2008 à Johannesburg. Mandela et ses compatriotes, l’Afrique et le monde tout entier lui diront adieu, en peine pour la perte physique, mais reconnaissants pour l’admirable oeuvre qu’elle nous lègue.

Tierno S. Bah