nelson-mandela-long-walk-to-freedom-800x533Isn’t it amazing how familiar we can be with a person we have never met? How deeply we can experience the loss of a person we know only as a chapter in a textbook or an image on a poster or a website. Someone who impacts our lives forever, though we never ever met.  Madiba, I remember how fondly we watched you dance your little Madiba dance, like our very own grandfather was taking Gran for a spin on the dance floor at a cousin’s wedding. I remember how your shirts became a celebrated fashion item.

When I was a little girl, they told me how bad you were. They said you blew up buildings and killed children, but that was not the man I saw walk out after his long walk, walking into our lives. You took hold of a brainwashed fearful nation, like a traumatised and afraid woman. Everybody waited with baited breath… and then you embraced us all, and taught us to embrace each other. You could have been a cruel emperor, like so many men before you who became hungry with power and then enraged. We could have been Warsaw, we could have been stripped of ourselves, and in ways we were. There were many prejudices we needed to let go of, there still are.

God has given you grace, Tata. I think you realise that.  He has given you strength, love and  favour, for without Him, no man could have ruled as you have. For you are just a man. Thank you for including us in your dream. Thank you for having faith that we could change. Today we celebrate you with tears, but we will remember you with joy.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela 1918-2013

Image sourced from: