I was watching a documentary last night that re-opens the investigation into Samora Machel's plane crash, 22 years ago. I remember when it happened. How we had a day off school, for national mourning in Malawi. I remember knowing it was Very Bad. I remember feeling the swell of sadness all around me as people grieved and mourned, not only the death of a great man, but someone who represented so much hope for the sub-continent, so much boldness. I remember knowing, just knowing on some collective unconscious level, that it was no accident.
At the end of the documentary, there was a shot of Madiba with his lovely Graca, saying that it was so important to re-open the investigation and get to the bottom of what really happened when that plane came down. I remarked to Bernd that she sure has good taste in men. And then we smiled at the thought of her one day, having outlived both her extraordinary husbands, having to put an ad in the lonely hearts column:
"Activist Widow seeks principled companion with struggle credentials, preferably from struggle royalty, to share stories, meals with plus/minus 100 000 adopted children. Serious commitment to principles essential. Latter day heros that have lapsed into self-enrichment and power-seeking need not apply."
But seriously, so many great leaders on this continent have been wiped out. It enrages me when I hear people catalogue the list of evil dictators in Africa as if it was somehow an intrinsic problem, without remembering that more often than not the good ones were erased by those who had 'interests' in chaos and disruption. Imagine if the Limumbas, the Saro-Wiwas the Bikos, the Hanis could live to be as old as Madiba?
Who on earth could be elegible for someone like Graca in this day and age?
By the way, since this has had a somewhat political slant, read this fantastic article on US 21st century democracy and 'mad dog Palin'. its a good one.