Goodbye Madiba

Today I am writing this blog in front of the TV, where Nelson Mandela’s memorial service is currently being broadcast. Lots has been said in the past couple of days about the great man’s life and his legacy. I can only add that I feel honoured to have lived in South Africa during his time.

This past weekend I had to work, but my husband took the kids to Mandela’s house in Houghton to pay their respects. Daniel made a card and picked a flower that he wanted to lay in front of the house. When they arrived, they found an amazing sight – the pavement outside the house had been turned into a shrine, with flowers, cards and candles. A crowd as diverse as South Africa can be had gathered outside, and my husband felt the same feeling that we felt in 1994 when we voted, that we felt when Madiba came out with the no. 6 Springbok jersey on – that this rainbow nation really is here, that it lives and will continue to live.

My boy knows who Nelson Mandela was: that he was our President and a good leader admired by the rest of the world. When he is older, I hope he looks at these photos and grasps the real impact of who this man was, and how he created the country Daniel lives in. What a six year old boy could understand of the situation, and what he deemed important to say in his card, just stole my heart. It reminded me that the icon, the symbol, the legend, was also just a man who was loved by someone.

His card said: “Dear Graca Machel, I am sorry that you are sad because Nelson died. Here is a card and a flower for you, I hope you feel better when you read it.”

Image credits: My husband took these with his cellphone.

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