“And do you know who this is?” Mimi asked of Enzo, her daughter. Her wide, expectant eyes suggested Mimi expected her daughter to know who the smiling man in the picture was.
Enzo had got three of the five names asked of her: the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Winnie Madikizela Mandela, and Walter Sisulu. Mimi gave her a high five for each. However, for Tutu, she gave a high ten: a five for remembering who he was, another five for mentioning he was an Archbishop.
“I didn’t expect you to know these,” she had said, of the other two.
“This is Mr Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe. And this one is Mr Harry Gwala. Does that name ring a bell?”
“Ahem.” Enzo seemed to be digging deeper into her memory bank. “Isn’t a soccer place named after him?”
“Yes!” Another high five. “The Harry Gwala Stadium. Remember I told you it was named after a struggle hero?”
“Enzo is smart for her age. Five years and she can count up to fifty and write legibly.”
Mimi couldn’t help but blush to people saying that. Also, she couldn’t help adding, “She takes after her mother.”
“Nelson Mandela!” Enzo shouted out, without a whiff of doubt. Again, a high five. Less enthusiastic than the other ones but a high five nevertheless.
“Now remember,” Mimi said. She did hand gestures like she always did when making an important point. “People make the mistake of putting Mandela on top of these guys. He wasn’t. They are all heroes of our struggle. And all of them are equal. Mr Mandela was simply a leader, chosen through a democratic process. You remember what democracy is, don’t you?”
Enzo nodded affirmatively. She then raised her hand, announcing an intent to speak.
“Yes,” Mimi acknowledged her.
“We gained freedom in 1994, right?”
“Why are we still celebrating Freedom Day now?”
“That’s because we forget everything we are not reminded of, my baby. It’s like your birthday. It happened five years ago but what do we do?”
“We celebrate it every year,” Enzo answered, giggling.
Tell us: What did you learn from this story?