Day and Night Pharmacy – Nelson Mandela R.I.P

abelnelsonimageEveryone wanted a piece of his legacy. As successive former and current leaders and heads of states of the UK, the USA and other countries streamed down to his memorial just about all of them omitted to mention that they were either implicit or complicit in perpetuating the apartheid regime that labelled Mandela and his fellow freedom fighters terrorists. How long did it take for the world leaders to form a concerted effort that eventually forced the racist South African regime into releasing Mandela and paving the way for majority rule?

Twenty-seven years of forced hard labour is a blast furnace that produces ruthless monsters unless one is a one-off great like Madiba- a man who deliberately sought to see only the good of every man and woman. Even in going through divorce with Winnie he chose to see her then young age and beauty plus the length of his incarceration as the cause of her reported infidelity.

He didn’t forget but he gave and loved. He embraced his otherwise embittered enemies and harboured no grudges unlike his power-hungry, bitter and twisted former counterpart to the north of the South African border who (after serving half the number of years in Rhodesian prisons) feigned reconciliation by day then raided and plundered white-owned farms overnight- mercilessly spilling blood and spreading misery with unbounded impunity.

Mandela’s memorial was a party for the good, the bad and the ugly. There was even a dodgy sign language interpreter whose temperament, he says, depends on what auditory or visual hallucinations he is experiencing at the time. Thank God he says he was seeing angels descend into the stadium, imagine if it were the ghost of Osama- he would have strangled Obama right in front of the world’s eyes. No Kennedy mystery. (How lax can a government’s security be? No wonder the Africanas were reluctant to relinquish power to the indigenous.)  David and Barrack would not resist a ‘selfie’ with a beauty. That caused a furore here in the west but Jay Zee (Jacob Zuma) the SA president was looking in envy- he is on wife number five and has built himself a plush house with well more than five bedrooms. Meanwhile, Mugabe and Castro could not believe their luck with one being cheered by the crowd and the other getting the improbable handshake. There was burial of the hatchets and the dishing out of love sprinkled with crisp modesty and a touch of diplomacy in true Mandela spirit.

Now I have to tread carefully. I have a confession. I thought Mandela’s delayed rest was rather painful to watch on the news. Is death of a loved one ever acceptable? What is the definition of life? What is the role of medicine? How far can we use medicine to sustain existence? Is there, if any, a separation of the body and one’s spirit? Can one exist without the other in the world that we know? Are these questions bothering me because it was not my kin and kith involved? Whatever the answers are, the pharaohs seemed to have suffered the same dilemma.

I guess I have to stick to what I really know.

I know that the care of patients who are gravitating towards the end of life with a disease which is not responsive to therapy is geared towards the control of symptoms such as pain, psychological, social and perhaps spiritual problems. In these cases drug treatment is a nightmare for all involved. The sheer number of drugs used to chase the symptoms bring with them a cluster of side effects and adverse effects due to possible undesirable interactions amongst the drugs themselves and their effects on different organs. It is especially worse in old age because the kidneys inherently fail to clear drugs quickly and similarly the liver has reduced capacity to break down medicines.

Please return any unwanted medicines to a pharmacy for safe disposal. It doesn’t have to be the pharmacy from which the medicines were dispensed. If you need help our Day& Night driver can come to collect from you. Just remember to separate out used sharps. Wherever possible ensure that the unwanted medicines are placed in transparent plastic bags so that our team can see what’s inside without having to touch. Contact the city council for disposal of used sharps, do not use your wheelie bin.

Yours Medicinally, Abel Kubare,

Superintendent Pharmacist Day & Night Pharmacy



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  1. Steven O'Keefe says:

    Well said Abel. Keep up the good work and good pharmacy.

  2. Louise Robinson says:

    It is always a pleasure to read Abel Kubare’s contributions to The East Leeds Magazine.I think it is refreshing to read about world issues from a local perspective.He writes from experience and from the heart but also with humour.I love the way he always manages to add a little medicinal advice too.

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