As Crianças de Mandela

NAIROBI – Antes de eu saber que Nelson Mandela existia, pensava que o nosso líder, o Presidente Queniano Daniel Toroitich arap Moi, era o único estadista do mundo. Tinha cinco anos de idade, e para mim não existia mundo para além de Nairagie Enkare, a minha terra natal na Masailândia rural. Moi era uma figura mítica para mim, porque não morava em Nairagie Enkare, e no entanto estava sempre presente através da rádio, uma tecnologia demasiado complicada para uma criança como eu compreender.

Todos os boletins noticiosos da estação de rádio controlada pelo governo começavam com o que “Sua Excelência, o Santo Presidente Daniel Toroitich arap Moi” tinha dito ou feito. Visitou uma escola. Plantou uma árvore. Ajudou um grupo de mulheres. Frequentou a igreja. Disse que a agricultura era a coluna dorsal da nossa nação. Disse que éramos afortunados por viver no Quénia. Durante o dia, as ondas de rádio enchiam-se com canções repetindo a mensagem do Pai da Nação, e lembrando aos Quenianos seguir-lhe as pegadas.

Talvez porque o que saía da rádio fosse tão previsível, as pessoas procuravam notícias alternativas no Serviço Swahili da BBC. Em muitas tardes, às seis horas, os homens reuniam-se para ouvir nas casas dos poucos, como o meu pai, que tinham rádios. As notícias duravam apenas 30 minutos, e por isso toda a gente tinha que estar em silêncio absoluto. Mas, a 11 de Fevereiro de 1990, os homens começaram a dizer repetidamente, “Ele está livre! Ele está livre! Nelson Mandela está livre!”

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