I figli di Mandela

NAIROBI – Prima di sapere dell’esistenza di Nelson Mandela, pensavo che il nostro leader di allora, il presidente keniota Daniel Toroitich arap Moi, fosse l’unico uomo di stato del mondo, avevo cinque anni e non esisteva altro mondo al di fuori di Nairagie Enkare, il mio paese natale nella rurale Maasailand. Moi è stata una figura mitica per me, perché non viveva a Nairagie Enkare, eppure era sempre presente via radio, una tecnologia troppo complicata da capire per una bambina come me.

Ogni notiziario proveniente dalla stazione radio controllata dal governo iniziava così: “Sua Eccellenza, il Santo Presidente Daniel Toroitich arap Moi” aveva detto o fatto. Visitava una scuola. Piantava un albero. Aiutava un gruppo di donne. Andava in chiesa. Diceva che l’agricoltura era l’ossatura della nostra nazione. Diceva che eravamo fortunati a vivere in Kenya. Nel corso della giornata le onde radio trasmettevano canzoni che ripetevano il messaggio del Padre della Nazione e che ricordavano ai kenioti di seguire le sue orme.

Forse perché ciò che proveniva dalla radio era così prevedibile, le persone cercavano notizie alternative dalla BBC Swahili Service. Molte sere, alle sei, gli uomini si riunivano per ascoltare la radio nelle case di quelli come mio padre che ce l’avevano. Le notizie duravano solo 30 minuti e nessuno poteva fiatare. L’11 febbraio 1990, però, gli uomini iniziarono a ripetere “È libero! È libero! Nelson Mandela è libero!”

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