Tomorrow, the 5th December, will mark a year since our beloved Mr. Nelson Mandela’s death. For several months prior to his death, he was elderly and frail and incommunicado. South Africa was forever holding its breath waiting to hear –
Our country and world-wide went into collective mourning – he is still mourned. Along with the mourning, is the wish that we had someone of his stature to lead our country. He stood for all that was good and true and expressed on all occasions his wish for all to live in peace and harmony. He eschewed violence and embraced peace.
The loss of our Father was deeply felt, in the gut. He really was our Father, who guided us with sternness, compassion, forgiveness. He encouraged us to work hard, get educated, be proud of our achievements, help the other, be the change we want to see …
The pain of our loss is still with us … but the pain is valuable in that we feel his absence. But another value of this pain, indirect it may be, is that the longing, the nostalgia, forces us to look at what is, what has become of his legacy. What can we salvage from the tatters and detritus and the dung that is present in our country at this time, all of us edgy, wondering if the abyss looms. And, in all gloominess, personally felt, I wonder if we, and any other country in the world, needs to fully experience the abyss in order for the gold to emerge. Get things broken down, scrambled and turned inside out, so to speak. Let the people speak. Let us talk about our pain. Let us reflect. Let us say no to all that is rotten. Pluck the nugget, from the dung, no matter how small, that emerges. Let another miracle happen – for our beloved country –
He spent 27 years on Robben Island (11km from Cape Town, almost 7 miles, photo below) before his release and thereafter becoming our President in 1994, 20 years ago, when our first democratic election was held. Those years of exile on Robben Island were invaluable to him, he said. He has stated that he saw those years of confinement as necessary for his development as an individual in that he gained a broader vision of his place in the world. He stated in his autobiography, that the only way to make an impact on society and one’s fellow man is to effect a change in one’s self. It is necessary, he said, to let your fellow man know that you pose no threat to him.
Dear God, may tomorrow be honoured, and used as a time for reflection. To bring Mandela back to us, as a light, his name a symbol of a mandala, in our remembering, re-membering. May we somehow find a way to not stop hoping that there are reasons to be hopeful. May his wisdom inspire us once again. May we once more come through this valley of darkness. Our birthing into Mr. Mandela’s dream is proving very long labour. May it not be still born.
“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for, and to see realised. But my Lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die”.
Nelson Mandela: Defence statement during the Rivonia Trail, 1964
Amandla! Mr. Mandela! Amandla!
Photo from top of Table Mountain. Robben Island off and up on right. Blouberg Strand in distance. October 2014. Taken by me with cell phone.