1887

n Historia - Archetypal hero or living saint? The veneration of Nelson Mandela

USD

 

Abstract

It is now a commonplace that Nelson Mandela - Madiba - has become the most venerated, iconic political figure of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. Accolades and awards have been heaped upon him. In the words of Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary-General, "To this day, Madiba remains probably the single most admired, most respected international figure in the entire world". "In these times of global warfare and strife," remarks Desmond Tutu, "... Nelson Mandela stands out as a global icon for peace, love, reconciliation and magnanimity." In the international media, Mandela has been variously described as the only living saint, and as "a moral colossus" towering over the world. Nadine Gordimer views Gandhi and Mandela as "the two indisputably magnificent great people of the last millennium." The former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, was determined, when still in office, that a statue of Mandela be built in Trafalgar Square "so Nelson on his column and Nelson Mandela on his pedestal would in a sense encapsulate the beginning and the end of the British Empire." There are actual plans afoot to construct a massive statue of Mandela, along the lines of the Statue of Liberty, overlooking the harbour in Port Elizabeth.


Hierdie artikel poog om deur middel van twee invalshoeke te verduidelik waarom dit in die onlangse dekades gebeur het dat Nelson Mandela tot so 'n mate eerbiedig en vereer word. Volgens die eerste benadering, kan Mandela beskou word as 'n argetipe held. Ongeveer sestig jaar gelede, het Joseph Campbell die tipiese verloop van die reise wat deur mitiese helde soos Odusseus en Aeneas onderneem is, omskryf. So 'n reis het 'n vaste patroon van skeiding, inisiasie en terugkeer gevolg: skeiding van die samelewing; gevolg deur 'n gevaarlike reis of vuurproef; wat kulmineer in 'n seëvierende terugkeer na die samelewing. Mandela se lewe het in baie opsigte hierdie patroon gevolg: die Rivonia-verhoor het hom uit die openbare oog verwyder; hy het die ontbering van gevangenskap verduur; en hy het na die samelewing teruggekeer as 'n tipe messiaanse figuur. Hoewel die trajek van Mandela se lewe met Campbell se model ooreenstem, en dus die eerbied en verering wat Mandela geniet mag verklaar, kan hierdie aanslag hom ook tot 'n semi-mitiese figuur reduseer. Die tweede invalshoek dra meer gewig. Dit fokus veral op Mandela se menslike hoedanighede - sy nederigheid, integriteit, groothartigheid, en wysheid. Hy het sy grootsheid, vertoon en persoonlikheidskultusse afgelê en daarna gestreef om 'n navolgenswaardige lewensstyl te handhaaf. Daar word aangevoer dat die vernaamste redes vir sy populariteit in hierdie eienskappe te vinde is.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/hist/54/2/EJC38375
2009-11-01
2016-12-04
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error