POLITICS

Jonathan Jansen: Hope

Jansen's comment on Ahmed Kathrada's funeral on Facebook was shared thousands of times within hours. He said it all.

30/03/2017 06:57 SAST | Updated 30/03/2017 07:03 SAST
MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images
Helpers place the body of late South African anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada in the grave as South African ruling party African National Congress (ANC) leadership, political opposition leaders, dignitaries and family members attend the funeral at the Westpark Cemetery in Johannesburg, South Africa, on March 29, 2017. The funeral of celebrated South African anti-apartheid activist Kathrada was transformed into a rally against President Jacob Zuma, who did not attend after the family of the ANC stalwart, one of Nelson Mandela's closest colleagues in the struggle against white minority rule who died on March 28, 2017 aged 87, had asked Zuma to stay away.

Show me another country where the Anglican Archbishop prays at a Muslim funeral; where a white man chairs the proceedings to remember a leader from a black liberation movement; where a sitting president of a developing country is told to step down in a letter from the deceased stalwart of his own party; where the widow of the black man being buried is a white woman who gave her life to the struggle for freedom; and where Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and other faiths come together in a broad swathe of South African humanity to remember a man who fought for all of us. Where on and off the stage no one racial or ethnic or religious group dominated the event. For a moment, just a moment, it felt good to hope again.

Jonathan Jansen

Former University of the Free State vice chancellor