Yes, he was just a man, and should never be seen than anything more than that [and just like all of us he was flawed and would be the first to admit it] but having said that he demonstrated with his life so much more than most men do and so he was a very special man and it is fitting that we take some time to celebrate and mourn and remember the legacy that MUST cause us to examine ourselves and see where each of us can live better.
Some images of some of the different aspects of Nelson Mandela’s life to remind us of his smile, his charisma, his life and humility…
Followed by some testimony from U2 lead singer Bono who in this article gives tribute to Nelson Mandela, specifically to his focus on poverty:
Mandela saw extreme poverty as a manifestation of the same struggle. “Millions of people … are trapped in the prison of poverty. It is time to set them free,” he said in 2005. “Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome … Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that great generation.” It certainly fell to Mandela to be great. His role in the movement against extreme poverty was critical. He worked for a deeper debt cancellation, for a doubling of international assistance across sub-Saharan Africa, for trade and private investment and transparency to fight corruption. Without his leadership, would the world over the past decade have increased the number of people on AIDS medication to 9.7 million and decreased child deaths by 2.7 million a year? Without Mandela, would Africa be experiencing its best decade of growth and poverty reduction? His indispensability can’t be proved with math and metrics, but I know what I believe …
Reminding us of his humour and humility:
He had humor and humility in his bearing, and he was smarter and funnier than the parade of world leaders who flocked to see him. He would bait his guests: “What would a powerful man like you want with an old revolutionary like me?”
He finishes off the article by explaining why Nelson Mandela was the man who could not cry:
Laughter, not tears, was Madiba’s preferred way—-except on one occasion when I saw him almost choke up. It was on Robben Island, in the courtyard outside the cell in which he had spent 18 of his 27 years in prison. He was explaining why he’d decided to use his inmate’s number, 46664, to rally a response to the AIDS pandemic claiming so many African lives. One of his cellmates told me that the price Mandela paid for working in the limestone mine was not bitterness or even the blindness that can result from being around the bright white reflection day after day. Mandela could still see, but the dust damage to his tear ducts had left him unable to cry. For all this man’s farsightedness and vision, he could not produce tears in a moment of self-doubt or grief.
He had surgery in 1994 to put this right. Now, he could cry.
Today, we can.
I want to close this post with a tribute sung by Johnny Clegg and Peter Gabriel at the 46664 concert and one of my favourite African songs: Asimbonanga