Former South African president Nelson Mandela was last seen in good health last year in August when Hilary Clinton visited him at his Qunu home. In the past few months he has been going in and out of hospital. He spent Christmas day and Good Friday in hospital, receiving treatment for pneumonia.
The presidency has been criticized for not revealing enough information about Madiba’s health condition. Even though presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj and president Jacob Zuma kept reassuring the people that this world icon was responding well to treatment, many people were not convinced. They wanted to see him for themselves before they believed he was alright. There were fears that Madiba’s health condition might be worse than the presidency was claiming.
Now that Madiba has made an appearance, people are complaining that his privacy is being invaded. They say he should be allowed to rest peacefully and not be used for political motives. It seems like we always look for an excuse to criticize. We never want to say “Thank you”. Many people were dying to see that Mandela is really well enough to sit and talk. Although he looked frail in the footage, he didn’t look like a dying man. He is 94 so we cannot expect him to be that strong. We should be grateful that he is alive and thank the SABC for allowing us to see him.
There is nothing wrong with Mandela appearing on TV. Public figures are always bothered by the media. It is not like Mandela appears on TV everyday. His pictures were last seen in August. Clearly, he is being given a chance to rest peacefully. He may have been inconvenienced a little on Monday but it was only for a few hours. Millions were relieved just to see that Mandela is able to breathe without an oxygen mask, which means his health condition is not that bad.
However, the ANC should not make all Madiba’s TV appearances about them. The person the people were interested in seeing was Mandela, not the current top ANC leaders. It is unclear what they were trying to achieve. It could be true that they are using Madiba to gain favour with the public, which is wrong. If Madiba appears on TV, he should appear alone or with his family members.