There was a time when people spoke a lot about the importance of having heroes and iconic figures in their lives. As a young adult, many Africans I came into contact with were effusive in their praise of Kwame Nkrumah, for example. This was due to Nkrumah’s role in spreading the word about Pan-African ideology– a way of thinking that seems to have lost its attractiveness in recent times. Other figures took on this type of status during the Anti-Apartheid struggle, and even the Western World produced some global icons in the not too distant past.
In these times of “fake news” and social media, the heroes and heroines don’t seem to have the same potency or influence as they used to have. Is this because there is more public scrutiny than before? Or is it possible that people are beginning to understand that none of us can really be regarded as perfect?
Hardly any political figures of recent times inspire the sort of fawning adoration that was given to some of the past leaders. The folks at the top of the tree look insecure and inadequate in many ways. Is this healthy? What impact could this state of affairs have on the collective future of the human race?
I am inclined to believe that the level of scrutiny that public figures have to put up with nowadays is bound to expose them as merely human, like all of us.
Positive character traits, talents and skills should be upheld and praised in societies, to give communities a focused sense of values and the things that matter. But each person might have something unique to offer everyone else, and the sooner we can arrive at the realisation that nobody is more special than the rest of us, the better.