- Posted December 30, 2013 by
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
South Africans still mourning Mandela's death
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.