Today our nation lost a father.
I may not be black, or speak the language of the people, but my heart mourns.
I may not have struggled for freedom in Apartheid, because I happened to be born to a white family, but my blood runs African and today it has flowed sluggish in my veins, saddened by the fact that he is forever gone.
But amidst the sorrow, with my people, I celebrate.
As I reflect on the life this great man, this tata, this leader, lived.... as I look upon a life that spanned many decades of want and sorrow and hardship and fight... as I see the greatness of a nation brought forth through his hands, I celebrate.
Celebrate the man that was.
Celebrate the wars he won.
Celebrate that the soil he walked, I walk.
Celebrate that I was able to see the difference one man can make... The difference a wise man can make... The difference a wise man can make when he refuses to stand for injustice... when he looks upon those who hurt him with grace and mercy instead of anger and revenge. When he learns the language and customs of his 'enemies' so as best to understand them. And when he makes those enemies his friends...
When I reflect upon the life he lived and the changes he wrought, I feel empowered.
I feel empowered to make a difference in MY community. I may not change the world, but I can change those around me through doing as he did, and loving them. Through forgiveness, mercy and grace.
This man was a great man. And his legacy has the potential to change the world in an even greater way than it already has. If we only see that his words have power. If we only see that his wisdom was pure and right. If we only forget the pain and anger and bitterness and move forward. If we remember... and celebrate... together.
Hamba gahle tata Madiba. Rest well. May we, your children, make you proud.