I was saddened by the news of Madiba’s passing that I heard on that Friday morning when I woke up, and I was also looking forward to seeing how this country was going to celebrate it’s hero and father. While there was nothing really happening in Masealama or in the areas around me like the bigger cities, I still was amazed at the doors that were opened for conversation. It gave me an opportunity to start conversations, but more importantly it provided the people of South Africa a platform to share their deep and heartfelt stories. These conversations and stories were about him, about what he did and how he directly affected each person’s life. I had these inspiring conversations with my neighbors, friends and even strangers. His death was a segway to having these important conversations that I was too afraid to have since I arrived. This discussions and shared stories have taught me more about the government, Nelson Mandela in general and the incredible change he created in South Africa. It blows my mind that all of this occurred in my lifetime.
The week after his death I basically was glued to the TV watching all the documentaries on him and interviews about him and every time I hear about his life and the extraordinary things that he has done I continue to be in awe. I was impressed and proud of this country’s tribute to their father and I pray that the country continues to remember him and make him proud as they move forward as a nation. Mandela fought hard and suffered greatly for this countries freedom and it is the people of South Africa's turn to continue the fight for equality - for everyone.
Hamba Kahle, Tata Madiba! (Go well, father Madiba)