Friday, 18 July 2008

I know someone who met Madiba. And some of my best friends are black

Happy birthday Madiba, you are looking good for your age!

I respect and admire Mandela.

I know most of what is portrayed of him is image, is a story which the world wants to believe more than it is based on truth. We have turned him into a living symbol or a saint, when he is just a man.

But I don't care, the world is a mean and nasty place most of the time, and we, I need to believe that there are people like Mandela (or our image of him) in the world. I want to believe that forgiveness is possible, that peace of mind is achievable after great hardship, that people can move on and forward with dignity. And Mandela represents all that.

Also he has such an openness of spirit, a calm manner which welcomes respect and admiration. I can't quite put my finger on it, but his smile is all part of why people love him.

It is incredible to think that he has witnessed 90 years of South African history from total oppression to the freedom that he fought for.

I realise that some black people see him a panderer to the white man, as appeasing and negotiating rather than fighting. He is seen as the white person's hero to some. But although I see where that is coming from it is sad. Mandela risked the death penalty for his fellow South Africans. And when he finally got out of prison he fought hard for the ANC against an NP that wanted power sharing rather than a democratic government. He did what the situation required of him.

In a sense he achieved the impossible, creating a country where there was not one before, out of people who were anything but united, and would not take much pushing to start an all out civil war upon each other. Then he had to make sure that somehow, this bag of wet kittens held together, depsite the ten million reasons why it could not. And it did.

Yeah he made mistakes, did wrong things, did all the things that humans do, but who cares?

We are allowed to treat him as larger than life if we wanna, and we do.

I do.

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