South Africans: Mandela Media Frenzy "Un-African"

Some say poking and prodding for every detail about the aging icon is not the "African way."

Posted: 05/13/2013 03:14 PM EDT
Nelson Mandela

Since news of 94-year-old Nelson Mandela’s latest illness broke this past March, international media swarmed down to South Africa and have since been aggressively reporting every angle of any story related to the aging Nobel Prize winner.

Months later, South Africans have had their fill of the Mandela media overkill and they say it isn’t just insensitive, it’s also un-African. NPR reports:

For many South Africans, the coverage of his recent hospitalization and poor health seems like media overkill. Older South Africans stress that the African way of coping with the twilight years is culturally nuanced. It should be viewed as a final journey, and journalists should be more sensitive to these customs.

"Madiba is to us a leader, he is a father first of all. And we pray and hope for him for all the best," [churchgoer Ma Fikile Mlotshwa] said. "But at the same time, for an elderly person — according to African culture — this business of you people [journalists] coming to interview us all about this, and that is not African. It's not African, because it is interfering with the African spirit. The African way is to respect. At his age, to pray for him peacefully, so that when God does call him, he will rest in peace."

Other South Africans are repeating this sentiment: that Mandela is, indeed, a global symbol, but his time will come and we must all accept that and let him go — gently.

Read the full story here.

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(Photo: AP Photo/Lulamile Feni-Daily Dispatch)

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