I don’t know about you but I managed to watch most of the state funeral of Ex-President Nelson Mandela known also as Mandiba over the past days. Call me an old softy but as it unfolded I felt the pain that some were obviously suffering, but also the joyful exuberancy and celebration for a much loved President, Grandfather and Father of both Family and Nation.
Already the criticism has started of the present President Jacob Zuma’s eulogy, at the final laying to rest of Madiba Nelson Mandela, cited as nothing more than a rallying call or election speech for the ANC. However, as President of South Africa and Leader of the ANC should it not feature prominently in any praise and thanks for one of its founding fathers? If you are one of those critics I ask you, ‘Where is your compassion, your understanding and where is your forgiveness?’
To me regardless of any political persuasion and aware that you cannot please all of them all of the time, Jacob was only following Madiba’s own advice to do his own thing in his own way. Not being a political animal I praise him for that!
Whatever formula was followed according to the SA Government’s wishes to honour their past President, and as some have called him the Father of the new democratic South Africa, or according to the rituals of Madiba’s own tribe it is all, after all, just ritual. Nevertheless I was impressed from start to finish.
Each Tribe, Nation or Religion has their own way of dealing with the sensitive issue of death allowing those in mourning adequate time and space to grieve and obtain closure in their own way and to their own satisfaction.
The number of family, friends, dignitaries and heads of state who attended the proceedings over many days showed the respect and admiration in which the man Nelson Mandela was held all over the world.
However over the coming days those news hounds with pneumatic diggers will begin to unearth Madiba’s human frailties I am sure but I believe:
‘There is so much bad in the best of us and so much good in the worst of us that it behoves the best of us to search for the good in the worst of us.’
Let’s face it those whom some of us revere as Saints were only human and if we had the time travelling trowels to turn back the pages and dig into their lives we would no doubt find their human sides too, but thank the Lord in most cases that is now impossible and they are revered for only the good that they did while on this Earth, despite any indiscretions they may have been tempted by.
The Lord in His infinite wisdom gave us the chance, the choice to experience life from all angles and as my good friend William remarked it does no harm to visit the basement on occasion on our journey, so long as we harm no one else. How else are we to appreciate the light if we do not know what darkness is?
Already what came out of the various speeches was a feeling of fear as to how they, the South Africans, as both individuals and as a Nation were going to be able to cope without his guiding hand now that he is no more. As his great friend and one time inmate of Robben Island Prison said the passing of Madiba, although he called him by his own private name, had left him in a void and he did not know who to turn to!
Well, I am sure that if they follow Madiba’s own words and do their own thing in their own way, trying to emulate his virtues of compassion and forgiveness they will find the strength and the courage to do the right thing for they know there is still much to do, to close the difference between rich and poor. A task that many countries still have to tackle and overcome, although not recognised or even taken advantage of by the ruling classes.
As Shakespeare said:
‘Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to duty death, out, out brief candle, life’s but a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more …’
We can already see what Madiba has left behind but what will you leave behind when you depart?
Remembering of course that we may return to strut and fret our part with a new mask and a new makeup on a possibly damaged stage which we in this life help to create! What will we witness that we left behind on our last expedition to Earth?
Wouldn’t it be great if we could find a country and a world at peace with a Planet heaving with happy people.
Be at peace my friends, be happy and make others happy too.
With Love, Hanukah