We know it is just a matter of time and apparently not very much time. We have all known it has been coming for quite awhile but are any of us prepared emotionally or intellectually for the death of Nelson Mandela.
He is a larger than life hero who was humble, he easily could have allowed his long years of imprisonment, torture and degradation impact the way he led the new South Africa but he did not. He transformed his country from a brutal police state to a democracy with little or no bloodshed and strife.
He is one of the most historically significant people of the 20th Century and his influence has lasted in to the beginning of this century.
I am not going to insult you by telling you Mr. Mandela's story. You sure as hell better know it.
After getting out of jail he divorced his wife Winnie who carried his torch during his imprisonment (His reasons are his but at least in public seem well founded) he married the eminent Graca Machel and along with Jimmy Carter and others founded The Elders, an organization of retired world leaders working to fix the messes they either made while in office or were made by their successors. (see link below)
Is the South Africa that Nelson Mandela is leaving behind perfect? No. It has many problems, it is violent, it a one party state, it's economy is under extreme pressure and the divide between it's have and have nots is astronomical but it's people are hopeful, believe in equality and are trying as hard as they can to ensure to honor Mr. Mandela's dream of a color blind South Africa.
When you think of all the post colonial national leaders of African Countries no one suffered more than Nelson Mandela and no one led his "new" nation in a more enlightened way.
I know that Mr. Mandela will be leaving us shortly and I am not prepared for it. It is difficult for me to imagine this world without him.
Today's NYT article
Wiki about Nelson Mandela
Remember this---Free Nelson Mandela
Amy Winehouse closing a Mandela tribute concert - This painful and amazing at the same time
- She is so vulnerable and awkward and yet she tries so hard. You see all the amazing talent around her (Annie Lennox) and have to wonder what could have been
Little Steven's Ain't Gonna Play Sun City