Saturday, December 7, 2013

RIP Nelson Mandela (Madiba)

It was with some sadness I heard of Nelson Mandela's death. At 95, he had lived a long life, but he had 27 years stolen off him while imprisoned on Robben Island.

Although it is tempting to elevate him to demi-god status, I'm sure he recoiled from any attempts to lionise him, because I believe, at heart, he was a genuinely humble man.

Many years ago I read his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, and what always impressed me was his determination not to hate and avenge, but to build a better South Africa, free of that appalling stain on morality, apartheid.

Men like him are unique. Only a few come along in this world with any generation. They make us look inside ourselves and question: are we being the best human beings we can be?

Nelson Mandela would be the first to admit he was a flawed human being like the rest of us, but he strived to be his best, to be noble and courageous and generous and forgiving.

God bless you, Madiba. If there is a heaven, then you are free to run through its veldts like you did as a happy, carefree child in Qunu, the village of your birth. God Speed. We will not see your like again.

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