It hardly seems appropriate to talk about anything or anyone else tonight. Nelson Mandela had died. And so I take a moment of silence, of remembrance, and examine my own life. Mandela has been an iconic leader, a model of love, reconciliation, and forgiveness. Justice. He has been a wise one in this world. So, I will not post my usual list of interest piquing articles that I’ve read. I’ll save that for next week.
But I will post an excerpt from Bronwyn Lea’s post “Farwell Madiba.” Bronwyn is a South African who dearly loved Mandela.
“On February 1st, 1990 I slid into my seat in English class and saw something which was to mark the beginning of my political consciousness. With the sharp tip of their compass, someone had etched their pointed remark into the wooden desk: “FREE MANDELA – 2 FEB ’90″
I went home and asked my Mom about it. She filled me in: remember that time when there were election posters and we asked her who she voted for and she said she had spoiled her vote? Well, that was why. And remember how we went to a private school so there would be kids of all races in our class, and sometimes we had bomb drills and learned about hand grenades because our multi-racial school was often threatened? Well, that was why. There was a resistance to the Way Things Were, she explained, and Nelson Mandela was the head of that resistance. He had been in jail for 27 years, and there were rumors that his release was imminent.
Things were changing. The writing was on the desk, after all.
The following day I watched goggle-eyed and newly-born as FW de Klerk announced that Mandela was to be released. 9 days later we watched again as he walked out of prison: with wonder, joy and a little apprehension as to what that would mean.”
You can read the rest here.