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July 28, 2008 | by  | in Opinion |
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Ain’t No Party Like Nelson’s Party

Nelson Mandela’s birthday celebrations have been the cause of some serious behind-your-back talking (and by behindyour- back I mean very publically discussed in international news) of the beloved peace veteran. South African residents were rather miffed that they were left out of the celebrations as a celebrity-filled concert was held for him all the way in London. Their bitchings centered on cries of the irrelevance of it all – that Mandela belongs to the ordinary people, not this fancy pancy high-roller group in a foreign land.

How insulting! I know if I had achieved some of the world’s most amazing humanitarian feats, striving for people to see through clouds of racism and bigotry; I would be quite hurt that people still didn’t think I was good enough and still hadn’t got it. Mandela’s motto is that all people are equal and that life should be something to smile about, and his efforts to promote this are tireless. His A-list birthday invite list was clearly an attempt to show that ordinary people, like himself, have every right to hang with celebrities, and that celebrities are real people too and are entertaining. And instead he has been accused of trying to be an elitist and losing sight of his message – his critics obviously don’t understand what his message is.

And the celebrity guests were anything but irrelevant. Amy Winehouse totally deserved the honour of singing to the man that helped end apartheid. Provided she isn’t hitting up the crack I hear she hasn’t got a racist bone in her body…

But really, the South African people are being a tad too demanding. Hasn’t Mandela done more than his fair share for them? Apparently chilling in prison for 18 years and being their first black president isn’t good enough. They can’t expect to hold the man’s sole attention forever. The man suffered more than any of us could boast about. If he would prefer to have a party in style he deserves it.

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