S.A.: Video of Frail Mandela Causes Outrage

A 'frame grab' of a video of former South African president Nelson Mandela and current President Jacob Zuma

A ‘frame grab’ of a video of former South African president Nelson Mandela and current President Jacob Zuma

Nick Thompson and Ken Norgaard of CNN are reporting that a video making the rounds featuring a frail and disconnected former president Nelson Mandela and current President Jacob Zuma is causing an uproar as critics label the video as political exploitation by Zuma and South African Broadcasting Company (SABC).

Thompson and Norgaard write:

“In the footage released by the South African Broadcasting Corp., the 94-year-old Mandela sits in a chair at his Johannesburg home, barely moving and never smiling as leaders from the governing African National Congress arrange themselves for a photo opportunity. At one point Mandela’s grandson takes a picture with flash, causing him to close his eyes and purse his lips. The former president is sensitive to flash photography from his years laboring in quarries during his imprisonment under the country’s apartheid government.

Zuma says Mandela is in “good shape,” but the footage seems to show him looking anything but — and the stunt provoked outrage from many in South Africa who accused the ANC and SABC of parading the country’s anti-apartheid hero on television for their own benefit.”

Amid the outrage from media pundits and politicians, the ANC released a statement, “The African National Congress has noted the determined efforts by some sections of our society to degrade the visit of the National Office Bearers to Comrade Nelson Mandela,” party spokesman Jackson Mthembu said in a statement. Mthembu stated that the visit “was in line with the accepted norms of Ubuntu that we value our elderly,” and the party “stands by its statements that President Mandela is in good health and in good spirits.”

Read more at CNN.

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