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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