Archive for December, 2013

Goodbye Madiba – one South African’s tribute

December 6, 2013

It could have been so different…

But for the angelic force of one individual I, and millions of other South Africans, young and old, black and white, rich and poor, will never have to imagine how it could have been.

Barack Obama could not have summed him up better “For now, let us pause and give thanks for the fact that Nelson Mandela lived.”

For if there was no Nelson Mandela – what might there have been?

I am a white South African:  too young to remember the harshness of apartheid, old enough to live through the democratic change, and astute enough to appreciate the miracle witnessed as the subsequent years unfolded. And what a miracle it was.

My voice is but one of the countless South Africans who claim to have this mystical bond with Madiba. We did not get to meet Mandela, we did not get to speak with him, but yet we all feel this incredible connection to him. So much so that we all truly believe that each and every one of us sense that he, in some paternal way, was a spiritual father and tata to us all.  Its an unexplainable sensation. One only a South African will know.Nelson+Mandela+NelsonMandela5 (1)

As one correspondent described on CNN earlier, that when he visited South Africa in its infancy years as a young democracy, he not only had he sensed the spirit of Mandela, but the unyielding spirit of the people. All of the people. And that is the greatest tribute that Mandela will leave to his children – each and every citizen of South Africa. He showed us how. And lived by example.

Having been privileged enough to live and travel outside my home country, I am constantly reminded that if ever there was a citizen of the world who evokes warmth and smiles from another (foreign) persons face it is when you answer to them when they ask you where you are from “I am South African.” I can only think that when others hear those words coming from our mouths they see a living symbol for positive change – that from the darkest days of apartheid rose a country so proud, so free and so colourful that every person around the world can, in that one moment, dare to dream that anything is possible. We are all living proof to the world that anything, ANYTHING, is possible.

It is currently a time when the patience of all South Africans is being severely tested, as we are all frustrated that the principles and values of not only Mandela, but the forefathers of the ANC, are seemingly being forgotten by our current leaders. But it is a time for our resolve and that unyielding spirit to ensure that these bumps being experienced on our young road of democracy will be overcome.

And even though, it is a sad time, a poignant time for all South Africans, it is a time to celebrate Madiba – all 95 years of him – and to remember his message of love and peace and a truly unified South Africa. Let us not forget that most important lesson.

It could have been so different.

But it was not.

And for that… Madiba… this ‘one’ South African is truly thankful.

Rest in peace.


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