(Please note that all information in this post is my personal opinion. While I am open to discussion, I take no responsibility for any negative connotations you may derive from the opinion I have expressed. Thank you.)
With Nelson Mandela’s recent health issues, and current hospital stay, I thought the man would be a good topic for my second blog post.
I know there are many opinions of the man, some good and some bad. Here is mine.
I was only four when Madiba (as he is affectionately known, by millions) was voted into power, and at the time I had no clue about the profound effect the man would have on my life.
As a lover of history and a student of the subject right through to matric, the apartheid era is something that has always fascinated me. I have never been able to fully grasp what could cause a government to treat a group of people so badly, over the colour of their skin. To think that they had the right to treat other human beings in such an inhumane and barbaric manner, for any reason whatsoever completely boggles my mind. It is something that genuinely upsets me, every single time I talk about it.
Madiba being voted into power in 1994 marked the true beginning of democracy for South Africa. It marked a change, the power of the people and a victory for the fight for freedom.
Our country may not be a perfect democracy and the ANC may not be a ‘government’ at all (that is a whole new post on its own), but nobody can deny the fact that Madiba forever changed the destiny of South Africa.
For millions around the world, Madiba is a sign of freedom, of change, of power, of peace or unity.
But, what does Madiba mean to me, and why do I love this man so?
I love Madiba, not only for what he did to change the wrongs of the past, but more so for what he stands for. He is a humanitarian, he believes in the good in people and the fight for freedom and equality. This resonates down to the deepest parts of who I am as a person and what I believe in. This is something I admire, so much so that it is hard to put it into words.
Although some people (and I know a few) believe that Madiba is a ‘sell out’ and that he ‘betrayed his people and handed over their power’ how could anyone deny that this man should be respected for what he did?
He wanted the best for his people, and for all the people of this land. He understood that not all white South African’s accepted apartheid, and he fought for equality and peace in the best way he knew how.
I may have been too young to understand this at the time, but 19 years later my respect and admiration for Madiba is deep and lingering, and continues to grow day by day.
The thought of Madiba’s passing is something that deeply upsets me. I know many people around the world will feel a huge loss when he is gone, because so many of us feel a connection to him. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that it is imminent, but I am thinking realistically.
It will always be a regret that I never got to meet the man.
I am wishing him a speedy recovery from his current lung infection and I only hope that when he does go, he leaves with the knowledge of the great legacy he will leave behind, in the hearts of those who love, respect and admire him.
Your fight will never be forgotten, and though I may not speak for everyone, I know I speak for many when I say Thank You Tata.