Many were surprised to find themselves there. She had rehearsed this moment since the day she was born at least that is exactly what it looked like the moment she stood there. There on that world stage. It is as though everyone came to this important funeral feeling like stars for having made the list as one of the finest people in the world. All the world leaders present were still awestruck by the Madiba magic even in his coffin. They were mere shadows before the figure of the man and they were not going to pretend that they did not think it to be true. This is despite Mandela’s challenge to us South Africans as he was inaugurated. “Who are you not to be brilliant? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.” Mandela charged South Africans in 1994. They were after all at the funeral of the greatest figure to have ever walked the planet possibly since the Lord Jesus was born as a man.
Who could compare to this present day Joseph-Moses-Elijah man? Look at his signs and wonders? See how he led a nation to freedom and refused to make a god of himself though the world regarded him as such. Everyone was still watching in wonder at the new revelations of Mandela’s wonders. The ancient King Joash of Israel had rushed to Elisha’s death bed begging the prophet for just one last miracle for his nation. Perhaps many of those world leaders were hoping for some of that after all the last miracle Elisha performed was at his grave. A dead man was dropped on Elisha’s grave, as the corpse landed on Elisha’s grave it bounced back to life. Perhaps these leaders were aware of what powers may have been present at such a gathering of such a man. They counted themselves blessed to be at his funeral.
Mandela’s funeral, his final stage set in a remote South African village of Qunu, in the Eastern Cape where the world would be glued to every second. After all the drama that occurred in the Mandela memorial what else did South Africa have in store to entertain the world?
It would be the stage that would be provided for Afrika. Afrikan pride would be heard through a Chief purposely making his address in pure isiXhosa without using a single English word. The Chief is an educated man but he would use his education to advance African culture and language on that historic day. He would speak to the hearts of the people who had lost their Mandela, their hero, their father. The tone of this dignified event was clearly one to restore Afrikan dignity and royalty as all the customs would be observed, even the customs long buried would be resurrected. On this day Afrika would dust herself from the ashes of the past and sit enthroned. Afrika would present herself to the world afresh. She would not be spoken for, she would speak for herself in her own language and she would be heard. Today the world would hear Mandela’s mother tongue.
In came Malawian President, Joyce Banda. She stood at the centre of the world where she would be heard. She opened her mouth and the world sat up and listened, applauded and understood something different about Afrika. The Queen of Afrika used no borrowed quotes but from today she would be quoted the world over. She came to shake off the sorry image of the Afrikan woman who is in shackles. She came to say, “see she rules. See, she is free”. When Joyce Banda was done she was quoted the world over. Now the world knows that Afrikan leadership is not in jeopardy. Afrikan leadership has a bright future and it has a new face. Her name ruled social networks.
I felt every Afrikan girl screaming with confidence saying: “Yes, I am president.” I am president of the world. I have no shackles. Joyce Banda did not arrive on that funeral stage as a star struck Mandela follower. Joyce Banda came as a true daughter who walks in Tata Mandela’s shoes with confidence. She came to say to the world that she has arrived. She came to say that Afrikan women are leaders now. She came to say to the world, come and rediscover Afrika the way we Afrikans see it. Afrika is not just a warzone. We forgive those who wrong us. We are not just star struck at Mandela but we are his daughters and sons because we live out what Tata taught us. Since that day, the old image of the broken, helpless, hopeless Africa the world has said we are has been officially shattered. They saw Mandela, they saw our people, they heard Joyce, they have to change the old image, it is no longer relevant.
After this those who would belittle our Afrika would answer difficult questions. Ask Donald Trump and Justine Sacco. Afrika is taking control of her destiny and no longer content to leave it in the hands of those who are only happy to benefit from her by abusing her.