Probably one of the most important events to ever take place in the world, the plans for the funeral of former president Nelson Mandela are underway. Likened to the epic funerals of Princess Diana, JFK and Churchhill, Madiba’s has the weight of a world united under one mans philosophies and a legacy that transcended race,religion,political allegiance, geographical locations etc.
The South African government is pressured to put into effect certain plans to ensure the smooth running of the state funeral president Jacob Zuma announced Madiba would be receiving. The government has already spent many years under scrutiny for their lack of effective service delivery. Given Nelson Mandela’s funeral is set to be in his home town of Qunu in the Eastern Cape, the KSD Municipality in Mthatha,as of today,has exactly a week to fix all roads and water systems in the area and those leading to major towns and cities like East London and Nelson Mandela Bay.
Mthatha airport will only be used for the landing of heads of state attending Madibas funeral in Qunu. Everybody else can use Port Elizabeth and East London airports.
I’ve always been fascinated in International Relations and the political minefield that is the seating chart alone would a challenge. There are impenetrable but delicate political protocols to follow-strategically in need to be matched with the state of political relations etc. 3 People are required to fully exercise vigilance in the perfect execution of this weeks events:
Pallo Jordan – a Xhosa South African politician who was Minister of Posts, Telecommunications, and Broadcasting from 1994–1996. He was also the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism from 1996–1999. From 2004 to 2009 he was Minister of Arts and Culture, and while his successor is considered worthy by the South African administration, I feel he has a specific background suited to aiding in maintaining order in the funeral proceedings. His Xhosa ancestry make shim a learned asset.
Sonwabile Mancotywa -raised in Mthatha. He was appointed Member of the Executive Council for Arts and Culture in the Eastern Cape when he was 29. He is now chief executive officer of the National Heritage Council. His projects make him worthy of aiding in the Nelson Mandela funeral and memorial preparations because his projects identified South African points of historical significance. Their ideals were to maintain the memory of national iconography. In a statement he once said: “Young South Africans must know our history….We face a battle against forgetfulness.” This week will educate the world, as much as it will celebrate and mourn Nelson Mandela’s life. Sonwabile would be a guiding hand in the information exchange amongst the organizers and the world.
Doctor Somadoda Fikeni - a political analyst, a consultant at the Human Sciences Research Council, director of the Eastern Cape Development Corporation, and chairman of the Council of the Walter Sisulu University. He is also one of three conveners of the forum of chairpersons of university councils. His expertise would round up to much in dealing with potential conflict situations on Sunday.
Beyond the roads,water and sanitation issues(The news report that Porta Potties are R10.00c per usage in the area) there is the fundamental logistics of the high profilers. More than 100 international high profilers are set to attend the funeral including 20+ presidents, 50 global celebrities, as well as activists,political constituents and the entire Madiba clan stretching to the villages. A grand stand seating 4000 has been erected but the logistics are likely to prove problematic since an estimated 100 000 people are set too attend the funeral comprised off South Africans and many other people from across the globe who have been affected by Nelson Mandela.
Once one considers the vastness of the attendees, the problem of security arises. With nearly 20 presidents and celebrities in attendance the entire South African police forces,military personnel and private security companies are to be mobilized. For any villains across the globe looking to make a dent in the political stability of the world, Mandela’s funeral would prove a veritable cornucopia as a starting point.
The Mandela family just issued a statement which can be read at: http://www.nelsonmandela.org/news/entry/family-statement-on-the-death-of-a-great-man
There are many other things to consider regarding this week, and how we pay tribute to uTata.
Here are what others are doing:
- Today’s been declared a day of Prayer & reflection in honor of Madiba here in South Africa. We have been asked to go to our places of worship.
- Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has confirmed he will attend Mandelas memorial service on Tuesday.
- UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon will leave Paris for SA to attend the Memorial Service on Tuesday for Madiba.
- President Barack Obama and First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama will be attending the funeral.
- President Jacob Zuma will attend a prayer service to remember Madiba at the Methodist Church in Bryanston.
- “His Day is Done” -A Tribute Poem by Dr Maya Angelou:
This is some of the steady stream of information coming in regarding the proceedings for this week regarding Nelson Mandela, his memorials and his funeral.
Stay tuned for more. I’ll be updating throughout the week.For diplomats or foreigners looking for the procedures for obtaining VISA’s and such under the circumstances, see:
- Give Madiba dignified send-off – Mthethwa (iol.co.za)
- Nelson Mandela’s Body Taken From Home (4umf.com)
- Nelson Mandela death: VIPs from across the globe will fly in for ten days of ceremonies (standard.co.uk)
- Mandela Funeral Plans Announced (postzambia.com)
- Czech PM ‘dreading’ Mandela funeral (heraldsun.com.au)