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    Posted December 30, 2013 by
    Port Elizabeth, South Africa

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    South Africans still mourning Mandela's death

    Port Elizabeth, South Africa - The year 2013 will be remembered as the year that a giant tree has fallen in Africa. That tree is Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. He died on December 5, 2013 after a long illnes. As we enter a new year it seems that many South Africans are still struggling to come to grips with the passing of Nelson Mandela.

    Driving around the Nelson Mandela Bay area in the Eastern Cape, one cannot help but notice the billboards and posters on street corners and major roads celebrating the life and legacy of Madiba (Mandela's clan name). As I posed next to a bill board with Mandela's smiling face, I am reminded of the apartheid years when it was a criminal offence to have in your possession any images or printed material of Nelson Mandela. Today as a South African I can proudly pose next to Mandela's picture and own his books without the fear of being arrested.

    One of the locals I spoke to at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth, where a memorial serivice was held, said that Madiba was the architect of the new South Africa. "Madiba is the boy from nowhere that became a global barrier breaker. We will carry on his legacy," he added with a proud smile.

    Nelson Mandela is also affectionately known as the father of the Rainbow Nation. The term was coined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu to describe post-apartheid South Africa. President Mandela elaborated upon the phrase when he proclaimed: "Each of us is as intimately attached to the soil of this beautiful country as are famous jacaranda trees of Pretoria and the mimosa trees of the bushveld - a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world." I wrote the following poem after the funeral of Nelson Mandela in Qunu, his birthplace:

    Poem for Madiba

    Welcome home, son of the African soil
    like the hills standing agelessly
    you too have mastered suffering
    and now stands tall like Mthatha's mountain

    Your songs and slogans of resistance are muted
    and your long walk completed
    you can now rest amongst your ancestors

    Lay down on these windswept hills
    amongst the aloes and flowers
    you so dearly longed and loved

    You, the herder boy from nowhere
    that I had to share with the world
    nestled grand children in the kindness of your lap
    but now can rest on my crumbled hills

    A great tree has fallen
    but a giant has risen

    Long live Madiba.
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