Saturday, December 21, 2013

Ten Days Celebrating the Life of Nelson Mandela

It has indeed been a most memorable and moving ten days here in South Africa.

Memorial service in Soweto

To arrive here the day before Nelson Mandela’s death; to be here during the time of his memorial service at the FNB Stadium in Soweto (near Johannesburg) and his funeral service in Qunu, Eastern Cape Province (not far from the farmers in Cala who featured in my Growers’ Guide to Natural Farming), has been to share with South Africans of all colours and political stripes a time of mourning, but also of celebration of the life of one of the Great Ones of the past century.

Qunu, Eastern Cape

As you can imagine there has been 24/7 coverage on SABC TV (South African Broadcasting Corp), with every possible person – from fellow prisoners on Robben Island (Mac Maharaj, Ahmed Kathrada), to dignitaries from other African countries (Kenneth Kaunda, former president of Zambia; Joyce Banda, President of Malawi), to his longtime personal assistant, Zelda La Grange, to little children – all interviewed for their stories or their remembrances of Madiba. Also there have been excerpts from bio documentaries and from programs on the history of "the Struggle" against apartheid, and its larger significance in the world.

Yes, I have been watching a lot of TV!

But I’ve had some memorable “in person” moments too...