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The Great Unifier
At birth, the parents of Mr. Mandela gave him a name in the tribal language that I can neither spell nor pronounce, that translates into English as Troublemaker. An arrogant white man who had the same problem as I do, arbitrarially changed his name to Nelson Mandela. However, his parents were right, because throughout his life whenever he confronted inequality, injustice and unfairness there would be trouble.
We have now come to the end of President Mandela's life, a time for reflection to review his life that was well worth living, and to ask ourselves how did his life impact upon our own? This is truly a huge subject that can occupy volumes, but it is the classic story of good triumphs over evil. Mr. Mandela was David, and his Golith was the National Government of South Africa. They left their homes in Holland and Britain and entered the home of Mr. Mandela and poisioned South Africa and did unspeakable things to the natives.
As is widely known Mr. Mandela was sent to prison for at least 27 years of his life just because he made trouble by objecting to such treatment. However, Divine Guidence directed the hand of the judge not to put him to death because it was absolutely necessary that he be spared to rise from prisioner 46664 to become President of the country and The Great Unifier that he was.
He was born into an evil system of apartheid. So was I. We were forever told that we were worthless, and that we were unable to achieve anything of value. But Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of U.S. President Roosevelt declared that no one can make you believe that you are inferior without your personal cooperation. Mr. Mandela apparently believed that; I believe it, and obviously so does President Obama.
The world is challenged to find adequate superlatives to describe what we feel in our hearts. I think that Archbishop Desmond Tutu perhaps said it best: Nelson Mandela was like a diamond, almost flawless. Now we find ourselves treating him as delicately. He would not have wanted that. His sense of humour would have us sing and dance and celebrate the fact that we spent time together and we achieved something substantial along the way.
I personally love his humour:
Upon meeting Queen Elizabeth II, it is reported that he walked up to her and exclaimed, Ah, Elizabeth, you are looking wonderful. You've lost weight! He insisted on addressing her by her first name. His advisors suggested he should be more formal as she is a very formal person. Supposedly he replied: Why? She calls me Nelson.
In a conversation with a music producer he is reported to have said that music is so important as a way to reach young people. They listen to music. They don't listen to old men and politicians, and I am both of those things.
When he became aware of the worldwide campaign to free Nelson Mandela, he replied, but my first name is not free.
Many people now speak of the great loss of this wonderful man, and truly the world has been a better place with him within it. However, I say that so long as we live by his ideals he will live on. He, will never die!
Archbishop Tutu asked, now what will happen that our father, the father of modern day South Africa, has passed on? The sun will rise just as before, but as usual it is up to each individual to do his best to make the world a better place, day by day. And if we do that, no matter where in the world we are, we honour his life, his struggle, and all his suffering.
Mala Yousafzai, a young woman whom I believe is the new Mandala, described him as an icon of equality and love! I think she's right.
President Obama said that President Mandela now belongs to the Ages. We love him so much, but it is time to love him enough to let go.
Rest in Peace!
Copyright (c) 2013 Eugene Carmichael