This self-confessed sinner, who kept on trying, created modern South African through towering dignity and the use of Christ-like love in a practical way to build bridges and keep the country together after apartheid (racial segregation).
I just want to say a few words about Nelson Mandela on his passing. He was a very dignified man who forgave those who incarcerated him for 27 years and who created and maintained apartheid.
Despite his greatness he firmly remained his ordinary self. Now, that is greatness. All that he did in politics was for the people. There was nothing of the usual politician in him. Most politicians have self-interest as the primary motivator. No so for Nelson Mandela.
We could do with a bit of that today in Britain; selfless politicians whose sole concern is to serve the people. Africa could do with more leaders like him, even a fraction like him would probably be enough because he set the bar incredibly high.
Even when he was firmly out of mainstream politics and very ill, you felt his presence was still a major influence on the politics and persona of South Africa.
Nelson Mandela wisely used sport as a unification tool. He was instrumental in bringing the Rugby World Cup to South Africa and the country won the competition. We should remember that the South African rugby team was all white. He embraced their achievement with great joy.
In South Africa he is referred to as Madiba, a clan name or as Tata meaning father. President Zuma, the current president, described him as “the father of the nation”. Mandela was the first black president of the country and one of the greatest statesman of the century.
What will happen now? There is a fear that violence might erupt.
It is said that he was a combination of Churchill, Gandhi and Christ. We hope his legacy will live on. It would for the world if he had lived for ever.
- Photo (modified by me slightly) by Ben Hanbury
- I can find nothing in respect of an association between Mandela and companion animals. It seems he did not care for either a dog or cat. Perhaps his life was just unsuited to it.