My mother-in-law met Mandela in 1998 at a school in the Eastern Cape. She posted this photo of them on Facebook today and called meeting Mandela the highlight of her career. She was privileged to be associated with him, as are most people who had the opportunity to be in his presence. I never met Mandela, but as the whole world mourns his death, I certainly feel privileged to be here in his home country of South Africa, the country that he made free, and at the same time at peace with itself. To South Africa and the world Nelson Mandela will always be a “symbol of wisdom, reconciliation and power to change.”
Currently the country is in a state of mourning and remembrance. When his passing was announced, people went out of their way to go to his home, sing songs and leave candles and messages of remembrance. Today the local television stations are filled with interviews of those remembering Madiba, quotes (he has a lot of them) and flashbacks. The funeral is set to take place Dec. 15, with ten days of national mourning.
I realize I’m not qualified to give any kind of detailed description of this man’s incredible life. Luckily the news outlets are doing it so well… here and here. Of course I didn’t live here when apartheid was in place, so I can hardly offer insight into that, but if you’re looking for an eye-opening account of a white woman through apartheid and the first democratic election, look here.
I can say that I am grateful to be connected to South Africa, and I hope to be able to show this beautiful country to my children one day. I pray that South Africa can continue to follow in the footsteps of democracy and peace that Mandela so courageously laid down.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done” – Nelson Mandela