Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mourning Madiba

I have never let so much time go by without a post on this blog.  And not commenting on the death of my favorite great African hero over the last week?  Insane!  The last two weeks have been a rough rough time both internet and power-wise in my city, but now we are back on track... at least, internet-wise...

It would be sacrilege to have an African blog and not mention the passing of beloved Nelson Mandela.  But I have asked myself over and over again what I could possibly add to the conversation so very thoroughly covered by networks and his loving fans.

Sigh. Such a great man was Nelson Mandela. 

So please don't take my lack of commentary as anything but an impossibility to put into words who this man was and what he represented. What I will say is that if you have not read Nelson Mandela's autobiography, you should.  Written in 1994, this hefty work of over 700 pages must be a terribly dry history lesson, right?  Not at all.  I have read the book twice and can surely say, if you want the details, go to the source.  Mandela is a wonderful story teller and will help you see twenty new shades to the apartheid struggle.

I consider it a gift to have been living in Africa when this event took place.  It has been fascinating to see how news spreads, even in a country known to have taken a very different path than South Africa. Our staff was buzzing just minutes after word broke about Mandela's passing.  Word on the streets moved like fire, scattering through an entire continent in just a few short hours I have no doubt. 

Even the African version of MTV took a strange moment to comment during Jersey Shore:


So who do we have now? I asked myself that when Mother Theresa died, and now that Mandela is gone, I find myself pondering the same thing again.  Who do we have now?  Who is our world leader of peace and reconciliation?  Bono? Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu?  My list should be getting bigger as we learn from those who have gone before us, but moments like Mandela's death make it feel smaller than ever.  My only answer is that we all must step up to the challenge. May Mandela rest in peace, but may his legacy stay active in the hearts of generations to come.