In the poem "Musee Des Beaux Arts", W.H Auden suggests that it is human nature, that in the face of tragedy, life simply goes on. The poem, one of my favourites, is based on the painting "The Fall of Icarus" by Breughel.
In the painting, the hapless Icarus has fallen into the sea after flying too close to the sun with his man-made wings (those are his legs you can see, flailing about on the lower right hand side of the painting) and life is indeed going on - the shepherd continues to tend his sheep, the farmer ploughs his lands and the ship sails serenely by.
On Thursday night, reggae legend, Lucky Dube was brutally murdered in Johannesburg, in front of two of his children, in a botched hijacking attempt. He leaves a wife, seven children, the youngest of whom is only three months old, and millions of devoted fans. Not only was he a wonderful musician, but by all accounts he was a humble man, who was devoted to his family and his country. I, along with the rest of South Africa, was so saddened to hear of his death and so angry at the senseless wave of violence that is tearing this country apart.
On Saturday night our rugby team won the Rugby World Cup. The undiluted joy that swept through this country was something to behold. It was an event that, for a while at least, unified the nation.
So Lucky Dube died and we mourned and by Saturday night we were celebrating again. Life moved on. Sad, but true.
I can only hope that Lucky's death is not "swept under the rug" because of the more joyous event that followed it. I hope that, seeing as yet another celebrity has been murdered, something will finally be done about the crime situation in this country.
I also hope that the unifying effects of the Rugby World Cup win will stay with us for a very, very long time.
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