Friday, December 6, 2013

Hamba Kahle, Tata

I haven’t written here in a long while. Nevermind as to why… today I am moved by the passing of Tata Madiba.

Madiba was George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. all in one. He was part of a group of people that chose the path and defined what South Africa wants to be, is trying to be and hopefully will become. He is the backbone of roadmap to get there… both it and him not perfect, but aiming to be more perfect. He himself said he was “not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”

The world loved Madiba and rightly so. He stands a fleeting symbol of struggle, of sacrifice, of belief, of hope. We see fewer and fewer icons of this magnitude today- perhaps it is the relentless news cycle that casts a pallor on every possible successor’s imperfections. Can the world ever have another Madiba?

We can only hope.
The first treason trial in 1958. (Jurgen Schadenberg, AP)

People ask how will this impact South Africa? The reality is that Madiba has been and will continue to live in people’s hearts, minds and souls… just as he
has been since he mostly left public life 10+ years ago. In terms of politics, the political party that Nelson Madela belonged to most of his life is vastly different than the one that rules South Africa today. If only the party could remember what Nelson Mandela, OR Tambo, John Dube, Chris Hani and Sol Plaatje were all about.

We woke up this morning crying. My husband cried inconsolably when Madiba was in critical condition earlier this year but today he was more subdued – as if he had already said goodbye. We held each other and saw the start of a beautiful day in the most beautiful place on earth, Cape Town.  I could only think that instead of being sad today about the loss of a great human being, I am thankful that we could ever know of him and be touched by his intentions for the world. I remain hopeful for South Africa and the world that the spirit of Madiba will remain alive in all of us.

Hamba Kahle, Tata.

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