It is not often I am late with an editorial but the past week has seen an exception to the rule. I am pleased to announce a new Initiative called Magellan-Fifteen20 (http://magellanfifteen20.webs.com). This is the culmination of several years research and planning by my business associate Dwight D’Aguilar in getting this Project off the ground. Magellan-Fifteen20 is about turning convention on its head in terms of how things are done in the Media, Arts and Creative industries. As I have worked closely with Dwight on this over the past couple of years, I could wax lyrically about the excitement, vision and passion we both share for this Project but as it is Dwight’s Baby and I am its Creative Director, I will direct you to the Website where you can read Dwight’s actual words in his Proposal of what MF20 is all about. I hope your visit to Magellan-Fifteen20 will ignite the passion and excitement we both possess for this Initiative so much so that you will support us and enable us to really instigate change in an exciting and original way.
When someone dies or some historical event occurs, people always seem to remember where they were when the news broke. I was too young to remember the Kennedy Assassination or when The Beatles broke up. In more recent years I knew exactly where I was and the (approximate) time when the news broke that Michael Jackson had died, when Barack Obama made History in becoming the first (Black) African-American to be elected President of the United States. I even know what I was doing (working ,) on the day of his Inauguration Ceremony. So it was when the news of the death of one of the greatest Statesman of the late 20th Century and early 21st Century, Nelson Mandela died. It was the 5th December, the time was 9:45pm and I was watching ‘Mrs. Brown’s Boys’ on TV when the BBC interrupted the show for a newsflash and the current President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, announced to the World the passing of the Father of Modern South Africa – Nelson Mandela. All scheduled programming was suspended as ongoing news coverage took over. Something I will not forget for many years to come.
Nelson Mandela was proof positive that only the best steel is forged in the hottest fires. He was 45 years old when he was imprisoned by the Apartheid Government of South Africa without trial. His crime if any, was that as Leader of the African National Congress (ANC,) he was campaigning for something every human being should be entitled to. And if I have to explain what that is here, then there must be something seriously wrong with the readership and Humanity if I thought for one minute that I needed to explain what Human Rights and Dignity is.
Mandela’s imprisonment would last 27 years – during which the stripping of a lesser man’s dignity not to mention his freedom would have finished them off. A lesser man would not have lasted so many years but as History has seen, Mandela was no ordinary man and it was his ordinary nature, compassion, humility and forgiveness that made him so superhuman. In spite of his treatment, when he was finally released, he showed no bitterness, no desire for revenge. He went on to become President of the Nation that imprisoned him, herald in a new South Africa and after five years as President, he stood down and retired to large house somewhere, where he continued to be an influence and example to many up and coming statesmen and celebrities as well a mentor to those who would succeed him.
In his long extraordinary life, Nelson Mandela, set an example that none of those black – and white leaders of post-colonial Africa followed. Each man that became a Prime Minister or a President when the European Colonial rulers pulled out after those countries independence, became a dictator, a despot of unbelievable proportions. Robert Mugabe was President of Zimbabwe for more than twenty years prior to Mandela’s release and he is still President now but instead of moving Zimbabwe much further than it was as Rhodesia he has taken Zimbabwe in the opposite direction to the point where a Country that once exported half its food production cannot afford to feed its own population. Yet this was the same Country that had a big film industry – A film industry so big that many films were made there, including Richard Attenborough’s ‘Cry Freedom’ about a story set in South Africa that could not be made in South Africa because of the Regime that was in place during the mid-1980s when the film was made. How far South Africa has come as Country in the Post-Apartheid Era and how far back Zimbabwe has gone in the Post-Rhodesia Era. As The Father of Modern Zimbabwe’ Mr. Mugabe should hold his head in shame. How different he and many other Africa leaders are compared with Nelson Mandela and the example he set as a political activist, President and Statesman. His example has not only put African leaders to shame but other Western Leaders, no one more so that Margaret Thatcher. Her behaviour during the 1980s towards the growing violence against the black majority of South Africa by the minority Apartheid Regime was nothing short of disgusting for someone holding the office of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. She was seriously out of step with public opinion in her own Country regarding the situation in South Africa, as was her Government and watching archive news footage of the things she said and did during her Premiership, does not put her in a good light. Again Nelson Mandela’s time as a President, a Statesman and a Leader put her and many of her ilk in the shade. Unlike Mandela, Margaret Thatcher didn’t unite a Nation, she divided it much further than it had been divided before and those divisions she helped to further create exist in British Society today. South Africa despites its problems is a far more cohesive Society in the Post-Apartheid/Mandela Era that Britain is in the Post-Thatcher Era. That in itself should demonstrate that good leadership brings people from all sections of Society together – Rich or Poor. Bad leadership does the complete opposite, creating further, deeper divisions. When I see and hear Jacob Zuma speak as President of South Africa, I know lessons continue to be learnt. When I hear David Cameron speak, see Boris Johnson as Mayor of London, travelling to China to convince wealthy Chinese to come and buy expensive luxury apartments in London because his Administration and Government don’t believe in building affordable homes for British or EU Nationals to buy or rent in London that really need them, that tells me all I need to know about leadership in Britain as opposed to the one in South Africa that talks about a ‘Rainbow Nation’. It may rain a great deal in Britain but the only ‘Rainbows’ I see are the ones Nature creates, rather than a Socio-Political one that brings people together. A Country that would rather build luxury homes that only wealthy Chinese can be afford, shows that there is something seriously wrong. How long will we have to wait to have a Leader of the calibre of Nelson Mandela? One who believes in Social Cohesion, rather than ‘the rich get richer, the poor get poor’ mentality that seems to pervade the very fibre of British Society.
While South Africa has put the Apartheid – Racial Apartheid I should add – behind them. Britain or rather its elected representatives at both Local and National level, seem hell bent on creating another kind of Apartheid – One based on Social Engineering, Economic and Cultural Division. How odd that sounds like Apartheid to me regardless.
I for one miss Nelson Mandela for all he represents. His life, like that of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X was extraordinary for being just that. Extraordinary. All three men rose to whatever challenges that faced them with a perseverance, dignity, principle and humility that is a quality not found in many of our leaders. Barack Obama and Angela Merkel may be notable exceptions who fall into the above category. But those qualities are few and far between in those hold power and positions of great influence. But then the voter gets the representation they deserve. This is what laziness, ignorance and indifference results in. You get the leadership you deserve.
Much has been made of the continued slaughter of African Elephants for their Ivory that is destined for the Chinese market place. It never fails to surprise me how quickly conflicts can flair up in the African Continent over tribal differences or natural resources that are used to buy arms to continue pointless wars but when it comes to protecting their environment and wildlife, they (Africans,) seem incapable, even incompetent at protecting both. I am at a loss as to why this is. No doubt African Elephants will continue to be slaughtered into extinction, the Chinese will continue to buy Ivory products regardless but then the Chinese don’t have Elephants in China so why should they care what happens in Africa and to the Elephant population there?
One of the qualities of good leadership is knowing when to set an example. The news that Members of the UK Parliament (MPs) will be getting an eleven percent pay rise, will do little in generating any kind of warmth toward them in this the ‘Season of Good Will’ when many people will have to decide whether to heat their home or roast a turkey this Christmas. This coupled with a report by The Roundtree Foundation that many people who actually go out and work are now classed as being in Poverty. There is no competition among companies and employers for people so many jobs are part-time, on ‘Zero Hour Contract’ or a combination of both. A Government and Politicians who care more about stuffing their pockets than caring for the welfare of the Nation are a Political Class that needs replacing with one that actually does things in the interest of those that elect them. This is the end result of laziness, ignorance and indifference to the political process. That said:-
There is plenty more to see, read, and watch domestically and internationally throughout this edition of Digital World Wired.
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