This is an important and interesting perspective! I have been part of celebrating Mandela’s legacy, and have tried to look at the current struggles in the ongoing transition in South Africa. This idea, “the banality of goodness,” is a good way to demystify the myth of Mandela, the pedestal we insist on building for him, that he and the ANC built strategically in order to build support. He came to embody that goodness for us — we are so hungry for that kind of leader. We get so frustrated with our imperfect leaders, who prove our myths of heroes and demons are media-creations supported by our inner hunger for clarity, our almost primal fear of ambiguity and paradox. Thanks for this considered post.
Simon Jenkins writes: Enough is enough. The publicity for the death and funeral of Nelson Mandela has become absurd. Mandela was an African political leader with qualities that were apt at a crucial juncture in his nation’s affairs. That was all and that was enough. Yet his reputation has fallen among thieves and cynics. Hijacked by politicians and celebrities from Barack Obama to Naomi Campbell and Sepp Blatter, he has had to be deified so as to dust others with his glory. In the process he has become dehumanised. We hear much of the banality of evil. Sometimes we should note the banality of goodness.
Part of this is due to the media’s crude mechanics. Millions of dollars have been lavished on preparing for Mandela’s death. Staff have been deployed, hotels booked, huts rented in Transkei villages. Hospitals could have been built for what must have been spent. All…
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