Nelson Mandela, or Madiba, to use his clan name, passed away today at the age of 95. If you have been living under a rock and don’t know his history, try Wikipedia.
The point of this post is to acknowledge how this man has influenced my life. Whilst I was at school, there was a song: “Free Nelson Mandela” – and, like most things at school, meant nothing to me. (Now I look back on it, my school needed its arse kicked up hill and down dale for not getting world current affairs into the curriculum.)
I came to know, with a certain amount of horror, what Apartheid meant and, when it finally ended, it seemed so fitting that the man who had struggled and suffered for so long should come to lead the country.
Mandela was active before I was born. His influence has been there through my entire life. In his passing, I feel the loss of (yet another) father, the father of a New World Order, or an example of it, at the very least.
I have spent most of the day close to tears, and am not ashamed to admit it. Vale, Madiba – I can only hope that, to some degree, I can live up to at least some of the standard that you set.