What would Madiba have said and done about the Anti-homosexuality Bills in Uganda and Liberia?
Melanie Nathan , February 25, 2012
While Liberia and Uganda are forging their anti-homosexuality agendas, former South African President Nelson Mandela, 93, who has not been available for some time to advise on ANC policy, was rushed to hospital with abdominal pains. In a statement released Saturday, South Africa President Jacob Zuma said:
“I wish to advise that former President Nelson Mandela was admitted to hospital today, the 25 February 2012. Madiba has had a long-standing abdominal complaint and doctors feel it needs proper specialist medical attention.”
Since his admittance it has been found that the aging legend and icon for equality has a hernia requiring immediate surgery.
Zuma said the country wishes him a speedy recovery and assure him of the love and good wishes of all South Africans and people throughout the world.
“We request that all respect the privacy of Madiba and that of his family during this period.”
When I was in South Africa last year, at this time, invited to keynote the Cape Town LGBTI Pride events, I wanted to reach Madiba to ask him what he thought of the Anti-homosexuality Bill in Uganda, hoping to get a statement that would endorse my thoughts from the freedom and equality hero, who, upon his release as a political prisoner of the Apartheid regime presided over a new Constitution that ensured full equality for each and every single South African.
It was under the leadership of President Nelson Mandela that LGBTI people in South Africa attained full equality under the South African law, when the ANC administration ensured that “never again” would a minority be discriminated against in South Africa.
I was told at the time from sources close to President Mandela that “Madiba had lost much of his communicative faculties” and that he was no longer able to provide interviews. I was saddened for many reasons; primarily that a man of his vocally heroic stature should be ending his days unable to speak his resounding commitment to equality and justice, that he is no longer able to influence the ANC with overt attention to matters that remain of great importance.
I truly believe that if Madiba were able and protocol permitted, he would find a way to pronounce over the rights of LGBT people in Africa.
The recall of Jon Qwelane, as South African Ambassador to Uganda, would have happened before it started, and he would be imploring the Liberian, Ugandan, Nigerian and other African nations to quell their persecution of gays, lesbians, transgender and gender-free people, urging them to refrain from enacting laws that smell like apartheid.
That was the vision of Madiba; to have a South Africa that would be one for all and all for one, to set the tone for Africa and the World at large!
But alas, Africa now shrouds itself in myth and misnomer and all we have of Madiba is the promise and the dream. Homosexuals and lesbians are persecuted in Africa and homophobia is ripe in the current South African administration.
Is there none other on that entire Continent who can do what Madiba did or do what he would do?