Can it be that Madiba might actually be holding on because he is simply too distressed to let go? Could inner peace be eluding him because the world he would be leaving behind, seems not to have become a better place after all…? Is his spirit weeping for the beloved country?
In recent times – even before falling seriously ill – his eyes had looked sad. He had appeared mostly tense, almost distant. If he had experienced and displayed happiness, it must have been in the most intimate seclusion of his closest family circle. The famous sparkle-in-the-eye smile that had conquered the world and had occurred so frequently after his long walk to freedom had seemed absent during occasional public appearances or when cameras had been nearby.
He had been exceptionally quiet for a long time, not only due to his withdrawal from public life. His body language had not been only that of an old man who moves with difficulty and would rather be left in peace. Yes it had always spoken of pride and dignity; but in latter times also of loneliness and – ironically, paradoxically – of abandonment.
I have no doubt that his wife and family had always and increasingly filled his life to the brim with a deep and gratifying joy that only the love of kinsfolk can bring. He is adored by millions. Why then would there be anything but contentment and peace in his 95 year old heart?
Could it be that he has been troubled and saddened, that he has had painful reservations about the apparent convictions, orientations and tendencies of the following he so tenaciously led to freedom and victory? Would he maybe have been disillusioned by the notion that his Dream for South Africa had faded and receded somewhat at the hands of too many egos, too many power-hungry individuals, too much greed? By the realization that after all there was just far too little regard and effort for the millions who were still waiting and hoping for a better life…
A man of deep integrity, he would undoubtedly remain loyal throughout. To the very end. But for the very same reason he would also not be blind to the creeping perils of corruption, carelessness, disregard, division, prejudice and indifference to the values that had driven and sustained him and that had laid the table for the long awaited process of making this country a better place. For all.
Was much of his life of sacrifice in vain after all?
How infinitely tragic that would be…