I remember when I heard on the radio something that sounded like, #Eeeeeeeeee eeeeeeee ee ee ee ee ee.#
The tune sounded good, but I couldn’t hear the words, so I said to my younger Brother Andrew, “What are they saying?” He replied, “Free Nelson Mandela” I said, “Who?” I really thought he was going to have a heart attack!!! He said, “You’ve never heard of Nelson Mandela!?” I said, “No, who is he?” Then he went on to tell me about a, man a million miles away who was in jail.......
Then gradually not just me, but others around the world heard about him and then before I knew it, it was the day when he was going to be released, I remember I was just about to go and have a bath, but after hearing that he was coming out of jail, we sat and waited, wondering what he would look like now. We had all seen the now famous picture of him when he was younger before he went to Robben Island. I remembered we waited and waited and then he was seen by the world, at last. It was a fantastic moment.
I remember the day his country was going to vote, I and many others wanted him to win to become President! I was working away from home and I wanted to buy a South African badge or brooch, on that day just to show that I wanted him to win. I went into lots of craft shops and asked if they had a South African badge, but none of them did, some thought it was strange me asking for an African bridge when I wasn’t in Africa. Then he became the President. We all wondered what would happen. He was for me a man with a rare and unique heart, for he wanted forgiveness and reconciliation! For people in his Country to forgive and forget! I’d grown up watching some of the horrors on my TV that happened in Africa and that seem to me, SO unfair for all those millions who have suffered much injustice and loss, not just of their country, but of death, imprisonment and blatant racism. If I had been in prison, like Nelson Mandela had, I was would have been bitter and angry in prison and would have come out ANGRY! And boy, would everyone know it! I really wasn’t for the, putting-the- past-behind-them and having a day when that would happen, but millions turned out and did just that, in South Africa.
So this lovely man reminded me of another, and for me he (Nelson) was the equivalent of a Modern Day Joseph in the Old Testament. He was sold as a slave by his Brothers and sent to another country, he had been the favourite of his dad’s. Then in the new Country and home he was lied about by his Masters Wife and thrown in jail, he was totally innocent and spent years in prison. When Joseph eventually came out of jail and became the second most important person in the land, he was not bitter against his Brothers he could have had them all killed, but he didn’t, he showed them mercy and kindness.
The ‘natural’ me is not like these two Men, I used to be full of hate! I didn’t forgive or forget! When I was younger I wanted revenge and justice!!! It consumed me and was close to eating me up, I think the anger that I felt, brought me close (I will never know how close) to the edge of insanity!!!!!
Many people have prayed for me and I have had lots of years of counselling, (at one point I had three different Professional Counsellors) so to this day I Stand, I didn’t ‘fall’ or fall of the edge......... I love that song, "I’m Still Standing!”
Our World if full of hate, revenge, anger, unforgivenness, violence......
Nelson Mandela wasn’t perfect, I am not implying that, but he brought alot of people together, he was respected while he was alive by all races in his country and the World. A truly ‘great’ man, I knew he couldn’t live forever.
Rest In Peace.