There haven't been too many statesmen in my lifetime that came out of seeming nowhere. Mandela was one of those. During the whole time I was a kid and into my adulthood, he was in jail, but discussions of South Africa inevitably brought up his name.
I remember when the "ain't gonna play Sun City" furor started when Little Steven and the Artists against apartheid did all that back in the 80s, we heard of this guy who had been a political prisoner for ages. Mandela.
That's probably the first time I ever heard of him. He was like 66. I was 27. Turns out he'd been in prison since I was 5.
It still amazes me what he, pretty much single-handedly, did to help bring the RSA out of the past and into the future.
We'll be back right after order has been restored here in the Omni Center.
That the universe was formed by a fortuitous concourse of atoms, I will no more believe than that the accidental jumbling of the alphabet would fall into a most ingenious treatise of philosophy - Swift
My parents were "coloureds" under the Apartheid law, and with more balls than I can imagine, moved to Canada with no contacts and no money in the late 60s so they wouldn't raise a family under that system.
As a child, I thought of Nelson Mandela as some sort of mythical superhero based on what my parents told me. There were only some books out there about him and not much in current (for then) media.
A lot of consciousness came to the fore in the 80s with movies and songs (such as Sun City which AWArulz refers to). I wrote a naive mini-biography about Mandela for my high school newspaper.
It was an amazing Sunday in 1990 when I looked at the paper on the front porch with a NEW picture of Mandela. My parents were amazed as well.
And it wasn't enough that he was free to go. He worked, in his 70s, to rebuild and lead South Africa.
Like most, I've been expecting his passing for some time now. Certainly the media was ready with pre-packaged tributes. Still, it's hard not to feel sad.
What's nice is seeing such overwhelming tributes online and on social media. People from all walks of life (Hurricane Helms!) commenting on how Mandela inspired them. Amazing.
23 years after being freed from prison, Nelson Mandela has been freed again; this time finding the ultimate freedom with Jesus.
Mandela was one of the greatest heroes of the 20th century. After so many years of unjust imprisonment, he could have retired to a life of seclusion and no one would have blamed him. He could have let hate and bitterness consume him, and though many people wouldn't have liked it, they'd at least have *understood* it.
Instead he chose to continue changing South Africa for the better, and in so doing, changing the world. He can quite rightly be called the Father of the Modern South Africa.
He was adored by all who knew him, and admired from afar by those who didn't have that pleasure. And he will never be forgotten.
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South Africa still has a long way to go, but Nelson Mandela did as much as one man could ever do to save his country and improve its future. If those who lead it in the future follow his example, things will get better. He was an amazing man and I'm glad he lived to not only see freedom, but retirement.