A video of South African leader Nelson Mandela was released this week to show that he was “in good shape.” Instead, the image of a frail and dazed Mandela garnered reactions like this one, from top comedian Trevor Noah: “Mandela survived 27 years in prison only to become a prisoner of the ANC marketing machine”
Here’s the video:
Indeed, the video from the African National Congress to assure the public Mandela was alive and well only served to achieve the opposite. It showed the ruling party as exploitative of Mandela, who in the video looks anything but “in good spirits,” as president Jacob Zuma claims.
Instead, Mandela looks vacantly ahead while those around him—mostly ANC top brass, some family members and medical staff—laugh and chat. In one shot, he blinks from the flash of a camera (it is widely known that Mandela’s eyes are sensitive to light from years working in the Robben Island’s limestone quarry). All this video has done is add to the mounting belief that those close to him are mining the Mandela name while they can, as he nears the end of his life.