Friday Poetry: The Rain in the Veld, by Oswald Mtshali
2013 Thanksgiving Tucson Trip Day Two 11/25/2013

RIP Nelson Mandela, Tata Madiba, 1918 - 2013

The news of Nelson Mandela's passing at the age of 95 has flooded the news outlets and social media. It brings back memories. I remember watching his release. No one knew what he would look like. We hadn't seen any recent images; all we had were images of him in his youth and prime. I remember that I was in Pretoria when I stood in line waiting to vote. What an electric time. We had no idea whether there would be violence at the polls, or whether the country would erupt into civil war. Tense times. I remember watching his inauguration. I remember feeling that I needed to escape to the streets outside. To feel the celebration, the joy. I ran out into the streets of my neighborhood in Pretoria. What a feeling! Heady times. South Africa needed a leader, needed greatness. We were lucky we got both: a leader and a great man. Without President Mandela's leadership I firmly believe that we would have had civil war. Do you remember Madiba attending the World Cup Rugby final? Do you remember feeling that this was our President! Black, white, brown, pink = President Mandela belonged to us, the people.

I am deeply saddened by news of his passing. The world seems a smaller place now that he is no longer in it. He will be deeply missed. I will never forget.

Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again. - Nelson Mandela