This photograph always affects me in one way or the other. Today would have been his 99th birthday. This date is now known as Mandela International Day and we’re prompted to give up 67 mins of our time in doing something useful for the community as a way of remembering that he spent 67 years fighting for freedom and 27 of those years in gaol, on Robben Island, off Cape Town. The link below is an interesting read. Thousands will be walking in Cape Town in solidarity led by ‘elders’ including GraΓ§a Machel his widow as representatives of Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom. The international dignitaries are note-worthy – the link will say –

Memories – they’re hard sometimes to recall – it seems so long ago that South Africa and its peoples were filled with hope. We knew that there was a long road ahead. The wounds of apartheid had to be addressed fore-mostly. Severe wounds, not just skin deep but wounds at the very core of the majority of South Africans.

Would our Madiba be proud of where South Africa is today? Not likely. None of us is proud. We make one step forward, and 3 back, slipping and sliding. Racism keeps on rearing its ugly head, fomented by the spreading of false news by Bell Pottinger, the PR firm in the UK, initiated, it is believed, by the family (resident here but come from elsewhere) who have S.A.’s president and his henchmen in their back pocket. It’s called the Gupta Capture – and our government is mired in the corruption of the capture.

This is not to say that all is gloom and doom. We are proud of innumerable constructive steps taken. On the upside, the Bell Pottinger debacle is being exposed for what it is and the Gupta family and the president will not be able to hide. Government ministers are calling for the president’s resignation as are people on the street. There is very much a determination amongst all our people to keep on walking this long road to freedom and to be free of the shackles, mostly political, that try to keep us back.

Here’s another capture – Β of the good kind. It’s an iconic photograph of that day in 1995 when Francois Pienaar the captain of the Springboks, led our team to victory against the New Zealanders at the Ellis Park Stadium. South Africa was host to this worldwide event. Mr. Mandela’s visit to Ellis Park was a surprise, known only to few. The predominantly white crowd erupted as he walked onto the field wearing the Springbok cap and jersey to wish the team good luck and erupted even more when he presented the trophy to Pienaar … Nelson! Nelson! Nelson! they screamed and shouted –Β The gardeners in the complex where I live take great care in the maintenance of them. They were pruning the roses last week in preparation for winter which is already underway. Nelson, one of the gardeners, brought me these roses … so, to another Nelson … thank you.

Thank you for reading. Happy Mandela International Day! May he continue to inspire ..

50 Comments on Remembering Mr. Nelson Mandela

  1. Lovely article, amazing man. He was our brief golden age, he inspired so much in so many. I think I’m not the only one who saw him take power with fear and misgivings, and wept when he relinquished it.

    • A brief golden age – perfect description Elizabeth thank you. Maybe that’s what we yearn for- instead of creating another one? Is it possible?

  2. Thank you, Susan, for telling us of Mandela Day and for reminding us of the brave achievements of this great man. Would that the roses — simple as it can be — would inspire the world to harmony, peace and compassion.

    • Thank you Samantha for coming by – the roses in their vase are fading but I will never forget the loveliness of them, and Nelson giving them to me, and Mr. Nelson Mandela –

  3. South Africa sometimes sounds so much like America. We have much healing to do and bridges to build. Remembering Mandela and his mission of peace.

    • Hi Mary, thanks for coming by …I see the parallels too with America and its politics with what’s happening here. It has to turn surely … which is why I think that Mandela needs to remembered and we need to be reminded that a beautiful world is possible.

  4. Hi Susan – lovely roses and oh I can smell their fragrance from here … gorgeous!

    I often remember Mandela, and think of what’s happening now … sometimes difficult to tie the two together. I’ll learn more shortly as my friend is coming over for a not-easy visit – but it’ll be good to see her, if only for a very short time, and we can make plans for a catch up later in the year or next.

    I love the idea of 67 minutes helping others – we need leaders to stand up and be counted on the peaceful, good side of life … but we can all help as you say.

    Your Nelson must be a blessing … how kind and thoughtful … bet you are too … cheers for now – Hilary

    • Hi Hilary, thanks for coming by. I think the masses are starting to wake up. As you know from your visits and stays in and to SA, we’re a friendly and hospitable people, all of us, irrespective of race.

      I hope your friend’s visit goes as well as can be.

      I saw Nelson yesterday and told him a few had commented on his roses and when I see him again I will tell him – again. Although he is not familiar with the concept of blogging, he got was I was explaining. They are starting to droop – πŸ™ Susan and I hope all is well with you.

  5. So beautiful, Susan. I loved Nelson Mandela and the powerful message he brought, too. I recently looked at a video of Desmond Tutu showing the Dalai Lama how to dance and realize that they won’t be with us long either. Such forces of good in our struggling world. Thank you and Nelson who gardens for bringing this gift to me today.

    • Lovely to hear from you Elaine – I was thinking of you the other day re the Dalai Lama who has three times before been invited to be here in SA (one of the times was for Desmond Tutu’s 80th birthday some years ago) and was denied a visa by the govt. on account that it would upset the Chinese investors – more recently there is news that he is coming soon to southern Africa but to Botswana which is one of our neighbouring countries. I’m sure Desmond Tutu will go there and they will dance! The Mandela jive is also something … I’m smiling as I write this πŸ™‚

      I showed Nelson the gardener the photo on my cell phone last week and when I see him again I will tell him that a few people noted them on this blog. Incidentally, he is a Zimbabwean .. also one of neighbouring countries. The roses are still looking lovely in their vase …

  6. He was truly a great man. I’m always in awe of those who are willing to put aside their own needs to improve the lot of others. Mandela was all about the greater good.

    I’m sad to hear of SA’s ongoing struggles, but like the gorgeous roses you received, there is still so much beauty there, and hope as well.

    Sending you love.

    • Thanks Holli for coming by! So much beauty in the world I agree – and in those who truly do want a better world for all. SA is a strange country – we’ve had our backs up against the wall before and were able to turn things around and I’m sure we will again … at least I’m hopeful! Thank you for sending your love, mine is on the way to you –

  7. The roses are beautiful as are your thoughts about Mandela. I don’t think that I realized that there was a day dedicated to him, but I’m glad that there is. Encouraging to know his legacy will always be remembered.

    • Thanks Ally Bean … I don’t think he will ever be forgotten. Figureheads like MLK and others of his ilk somehow stay on in our memories, thank fully πŸ™‚

  8. what an inspiring post susan, and a thoughtful tribute to a magnetic personality – Mandela, a charismatic leader an example of perseverance and commitment to justice and peace. Lovely roses and images of Nelson, happy International Mandela Day:) Susan, thank you for sharing. Love and hugs.

    • Thank you Genevive! Lovely comment. I’ve repeated your word ‘…an example of perseverance and commitment to justice and peace’ because that’s exactly what he stood for. Love to you xx

  9. He was – and still is – such an icon of peace and justice. He left his imprint, and imprints are not readily washed away … β™₯

  10. Thank you for remembering both Nelsons, each a ray of hope in his own, individual way. I spend at least 120 minutes every Sunday volunteering in our pre-school department. It’s not much but I do what I can.

    It’s inspiring to read what about the kind acts of your commenters too. Bravo and Brava!

    • What you do is a LOT Marian, Brava and Bravo to you too. That is such a lovely thing to do with the pre-schoolers on a Sunday morning – it makes me think of the giver and the receiver each enhancing the other in a meaningful way. Thank you – πŸ™‚

  11. A lovely tribute and musing Susan. And the 67-minute initiative is a wonderful way to celebrate the bright light and powerful spirit Mr. Mandela was. It always discouraging when we are witness to backsliding, and these can be discouraging times indeed. But they call to us to be even more resolute and courageous.

    Those are indeed lovely roses!

    • Thanks Deborah for coming by. You nailed it in your comment – paraphrasing you here – putting into effect with consciousness of the initiative in Mandela’s name, and as you say it helps us become more resolute and courageous. I feel more inspired this bright, sunny, cold morning! πŸ™‚

  12. Yes, Mr. Mandela was a classy gentleman. He did much to help South Africa. It is interesting that more aren’t celebrating Mandela Day. Like your country, we have fallen three or more steps back with Trump’s Presidency. I think the U.S. will celebrate when Trump is no longer in charge. Enjoy Celebrating such a wonderful man as Mr. Mandela!

    • Thank you dear Gwynn for coming by. He’s been dead for about 4 years now but our memories of this remarkable individual will always stay alive and vibrant. You’ve had wonderful leaders – I think of the Kennedys, the Carters, MLK -men of great character whose focus was social
      Justice and much more. We seem to be at a strange time worldwide this time round.

  13. I haven’t heard anything on mainstream media about Mandela Day or the situation in South Africa. They’re too concerned with endlessly expounding on nonsense with little credibility.

    Tossing It Out

    • Thanks for coming by Arlee – yes I know that so many are unaware of this ongoing initiative, which is why I always feel, every year, the need to acknowledge him …

  14. A wonderful post, Susan. Michael and I baked and iced 40 cupcakes for Mandela day. I then drove to work and distributed them to my “beggars” [I have about 6 that I try to help every week with a tin of meat] and gave some to the petrol attendants at the garage. I gave the rest to the security guards and tea ladies at work. Greg made sleeping bags for the homeless at school. There is still so much love and goodwill in this country, it is a crying shame was is happening.

    • What a lovely thing to do Robbie! So many must have been delighted! Bless you and your boys, making a difference. A few in the street stopped me when I was out walking this afternoon, with a plastic bag in hand picking up trash. Oh, for Mr Mandela? Oh, that’s good! Oh, thank you! For me it was delightful… πŸ™‚

  15. Thank you for this post, Susan. I love the idea of being encouraged to spend 67 minutes volunteering for good. Happy Mandela International Day. May his memory serve as inspiration for us all.

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