Icon

 

 “Of sacred personage”

 

When the Egyptian State Apparatuses realized that the thousand and thousand throngs of people swelling and swirling in Tahrir Square had been incensed through the mobile phones services and various social media platforms to wage protests it sought to curtail the revolt, however it was too late. The radar had swung far too wide for their efforts to become effective.

Mobilization had long rolled out and what was being experienced there was a seismic shift of power from the totalitarian regime to the civilian. A revolution, long suppressed, was at its highest pitch. And the super eye of the tele-communication networks (see Surface) was observing the events as they happened in real time. Such was the scene that was reinforced by the hands-off Military by-standing as the events unfolded. By now the world is sated on the fact that what we have witnessed as of 25 January 2011 was the beginning of an end to a thirty year old tyranny.

Presently as the Military take its seat of control of state apparatuses politically only time will reveal the nature of their passive role in the theatre of events leading to the demise of Hosni Mubarak. Perhaps the world, specifically the Egyptians are too close to the events to appreciate the full spectrum of the successive events as those who have died for the struggle for liberation in that region are taken into account. Let it be acknowledged at all times that it was the self sacrificing of Mohamed Bouazizi that sparked the tinder of a long suppressed society to take matters in their hands and demand change, first in Tunis then Egypt dominoing (why not evolve a new word) its way to Algiers, and now as these jots carry you, the effects have spilt into Libya. It is in retrospect that we can fully appreciate past events and their contribution to the present nature of things. But for now a tremendous wave of change questioning the distribution of power continues to cast doubt in the prevalence of old regimes in Arabia.

Let us come home and by the same token may the reader allow me to take a detour…

If Hosni Mubarak is an icon of tyranny, Nelson Mandela is, par excellence, an icon of liberation. Arguably a man loved the world over.

As the civilian Egyptian celebrated their victory over the toppling of an icon of tyranny1 here at home South Africans saluted 21 years of liberation marked by the release of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela on 11 February 1990 from prison. Just as there are bound to be motivated fears in the centre of power of the dwindling regime in Egypt so must the situation have been at the heart of the apartheid regime as the seismic shift repositioned the role players and power was transferred. Fear and resentment might’ve undoubtedly been prevalent.

As this meditation carry you across one thing that we need to acknowledge here is that our icon is at the twilight of his years. Though the world takes its inspiration of love and forgiveness from his person he is not growing younger.

Given the meaning that Mandela has come to signify during incarceration and post 1990 it is doubly understandable that South African and the world were gripped by anxiety and fear when via social networking media he was declared dead. This was branded a hoax2 by the center of power. Shortly after this Mandela was hospitalized. And his significance acquired a tremendous meaning as the globe yearned to know what was going on with him as far as his health was concerned. The center of power responded, albeit too late. However a response is better than none at all, and if it is good news it is mostly welcomed and all go to their everyday business safe in the idea that all is well.

But in retrospect we see now how the slowness and the disorganization of communication at the heart of the center of power and perhaps its incompetency with emerged neo communication systems can cripple the appropriate reaction of those at the heart of a phenomenon that means the world to ordinary and the not so ordinary people.

Unfortunately that implied silence with regard to Madiba’s health persist albeit the deputy president’s quelling of the nation. In both hindsight and foresight Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela has transcended human limitation in meaning the world over.

Today it does not matter where your political loyalties lie as a South African, or whether you are located on the other side of the hemisphere, Mandela oozes with meaning far more surpassing as an icon of liberation. And history has sealed this fact. So is Mohamed Bouazizi an icon of the Arab world liberation struggle from totalitarian regimes. As it was to be for Hector Peterson – the icon of youth rebellion against the apartheid machine in ’76. History, as we observe it dizzyingly permanently etching our collective memory globally through the ever seeing eye of tele-inter-connectivity, has sealed Mohamed Bouazizi significance to the Arab World.

  

Notes

 

  1. It was interesting to see how Mubarak memorabilia in the centre of power house were removed without hesitation.
  2. It is interesting that between the ‘bogus’ message via twitter that Mandela has passed away and his hospitalization what is amiss here in our unfolding narrative is his appearance to negate his death. The world is still wanting here.

 

 

16 February

Mmutle Arthur Kgokong © 2011

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