Lesley Perkes
Lesley Perkes

Keep your elections to yourself

Who cares about the rights of Mr Mandela and Mrs Suzman?

It’s all about the rights of politicians to brand themselves to death.

Let me say this loud and clear. I am sorry in advance for having so little respect for politicians everywhere. Mostly, I am sorry because we are landed with them, these public-relations consultants for the filthy lucre, under whose occupation we live, under siege.

Here is Mr Nelson Mandela, a beautiful old man, coming in for 95 years old and frail as only precious can be, whom everyone says they love. Who everyone screams and shouts for — while waiting for the-nothing-like-a-good-disaster, obituaries poised.

And over here, buried beneath the sacred earth at West Park Cemetery in Johannesburg, is Mrs Helen Suzman, who has died some years before him after living a big life until 91 — which she said herself was never boring.

Is this not enough? To be born and live and make it to a grand old age? Is it not enough to be dead? Oh, Of course not. You must live. Well, they sure are. Well they sure did. No doubt they made catastrophic mistakes. No doubt they made strides, and no doubt when we think of them we think of courage and character, and, hopefully, our own purpose. Although lately I am beginning to wonder about this: seems even the nearest and dearest think of little else but what’s in it for them.

Who decides to take a photograph of these two, a vulnerable moment, a personal affection, certainly not a soft and quiet hug for each other’s organisations, and use it to sell fast-moving consumer politics (FMCP)?

Who gave permission? Or not? Who claims damages? Or not? Who holds these rights?

Who is the photographer and has she / he had a say?

Of course I am also interested in the artist you know me.

Are moral rights infringed? Mutilated? I think so. My own moral rights appear enraged. I tried an allergex but nothing works. It’s a rash I tell you, hot with raised angry bumps, and spreading.

I have no interest in the special education being afforded the nation by any political party or business in the guise of branding and electioneering, or in what the DA and the ANC have to say in the current provoked debate about who owns history and what it is going to be. Indeed the fracas gives grist to my mill: that the best politician is one working themselves out of a job and to the rest I say I have been following the money and I know who you are. It feels like we live on a runaway train.

I want to know: Why are Mr Mandela and Mrs Suzman’s rights not being put first?

It’s a matter of common decency.

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  • The weakness of the ANC
  • Part 6 of 6: Speeches
  • Part 5 of 6: Plenary
  • Part 4 of 6: Caucus
    • Enough Said

      Interesting perspective. I do believe there are a few really good genuine sincere politicians out there, but they will probably always be on the backbenches. Government is a reflection of the collective consciousness of the nation.

      I agree, the media are dogs when it comes to common decency. We need an aggressive and free press but we also need common decency.

    • Momma Cyndi

      I speak under correction but I think it was the great Alf Kumalo that took that picture. He was a good friend of Madiba.

      Your ire is misplaced but your opinion of politicians is pretty much spot on.

    • http://none Lyndall Beddy

      Are you certain the photo was of a private occassion, not a public one, with many photographers there? If this photo was by a press journalist would the media not own the rights?

    • Jan Ciechanowski

      Thank you, nothing to add as all has already been expressed.

    • So Bored

      What are you saying …that the only good politician is a dead politician?

      That’s the only message I get from your little opinion piece.

    • The Critical Cynic

      If you are looking for examples of rights abuse and lack of common decency there are much better examples than this out there…

    • http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/lesleyperkes Lesley Perkes

      @ Enough Said – tks for feedback. tho the piece is not about media at all. common decency in this instance missing from the OK Bazaars. I mean the DA

      @ Momma Cyndi – following that up tx

      the day is is lined with an invisible light

    • Enough Said

      Sorry Lesley. I was trying to be complimentary about a pretty confusing piece of writing. I am sure you can improve on it next time.

    • http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/lesleyperkes Lesley Perkes

      @Enogh Said – no apology necessary. Actually getting any feedback for a first time post on TL is encouraging. I will focus on being less confusing I promise. Or I will post poems. :-)

    • Enough Said

      Good one for a first post. Look forward to your future posts. Engaging people via the media is very important in shaping our future. Keep going.

    • DA Supporter

      Why compare the DA with OK Bazaars? If you do not like us then don’t vote DA. You deserve the ANC that is stealing this lovely country of ours blind. You deserve the poor service delivery. You deserve the corruption. You do not deserve the diffrence the DA can make in your life!!! Helen Suzman was a great politician and so is Nelson Mandela. If you live in the Western Cape please move and experience the ANC firsthand. As a matter of cause-the photo was authorised for use by the Helen Suzman Foundation. It is in public domain. Do not judge all politicians the same. We are not all bad, just because the ANC Politcians are corrupt it does not mean that all Politicians are. Don’t generalise please. If you know what Politicians do and the long hours we work for the good of all residents then don’t make comments. I dare you to become a poltician and see that it is not all that glamorous.

    • http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/lesleyperkes Lesley Perkes

      @DA Supporter please read my piece again. What is it about do you think?

      As for the Ok Bazaars comment, I *was* being rude about the FMCP style of the design work on the brochure. I confess. I confess. But my own rights to an aesthetically pleasing planet were also deeply offended.

      If you decide you ever want to have a mutually useful conversation with me please lose your aggression. Thanks.
      P.S. I know you are not all bad.

    • Joe Soap

      @DA Supporter

      Why did the DA assist in the legalisation of genetically modified (GM) crops in South Africa that are harmful to both human health and the environment?

      Have the DA vociferously called for the phasing out of fossil fuels and nuclear energy, both harful to human health and the environment? – No

      Many in the DA supported fracking in the Karoo. They have since withdrawn a resolution in support of fracking, but the DA is full of corporate patsies.

      With a few exceptions the DA are just patsies for big corporate business.

      Time to clean the DA act up before they point fingers at the ANC. The DA are just peas in the same pod as the ANC.


    • Momma Cyndi

      DA Supporter

      Just love the way you demand the end of generalisations straight after making some huge, sweeping generalisations of your own.

      Truly a politician, as only a politician can so smoothly talk from both sides of their face at the same time

    • bernpm

      I felt a little confused about “the message” in your article.
      Was it about “decency” in general or solely related to publishing a picture of a historical moment of respect between two important politicians in SA politics or was it about decency or lack thereof of today’s politicians.

      As a keen photographer, I would like to maintain that anything happening in public can be regarded as being in the public domain and can be published with or without permission. It could be considered decent if permission has been obtained but not a necessity for publication. Maybe you should check some of the “juris prudentia” on the subject and related court cases.

      However a decency ground rule for publication of photographic images is that they have not been manipulated or substantially altered. Another ground rule is that the pictures have not been obtained by “special equipment” into what can be considered a private domain.

    • http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/lesleyperkes Lesley Perkes

      Hi Bernpm#
      When Mr Mandela was filmed/photographed at the World Cup Rugby and then that visual reference was used by South African Breweries in a teaser short before matches, he objected and the campaign was withdrawn … he didn’t want himself associated with alcohol.
      I doubt that either he or Mrs Suzman would have wanted this (I think personal) image of them together to be used to promote the DA. Moral rights are the issue here … i.e. when an image is used out of original context without, as far as we know, permission from the rights holders.

      I do think it is a matter of decency but I also think there are legal rights that have likely been infringed. I am not sure that the image qualifies as being in the public domain. For our projects, when we take pictures of people intended for publication or sale, we endeavour to ensure we have the permission of the people in the photographs … and of course the photographer.

      I am checking on the legal issues and will let you know if I find anything that confirms (or not) my opinion. Thanks for your interest.