Prayers, memories and well-wishes are starting to flow via Facebook, and other online media. The general feeling throughout South Africa is one of
"We wish you well, we love you, we release you."
My Memory of Tata, Nelson Mandela:
My memory of Madiba is a silly yet awesome one, I sang at the KKNK (http://www.kknk.co.za/) in 2000, and we were present at one of Madiba's speeches. I sat in the 10th or so row and had the privilege of hearing him speak to us. He very kindly waved and said "Hello!" to me through the mic when I waved and called out to him.
I was so overwhelmed that I got out my old Nokia and recorded a portion of his speech, instantly making it my Voice-mail message (in the days before online social media how else would my friends ever 'hear' that I had met him!) Well, the awesome thing was this, When I later listened to the recording (and after a few of my friends left awe-filled voice messages on my phone)
I realised that Madiba had said these words as I recorded him:
"And so, at this time, we are not able, to answer. But, as a nation, we will! We will answer!"
I kept it as my voice-mail tone for about 3 years (until the phone died) and it will always be my special Madiba memory :) What is your memory of him?
The following is a beautiful message regarding Madiba, written by Captain Paul Watson:
"In Praise of Madiba, Nelson Mandela was a terrorist, a convict, a communist, an accused saboteur and an enemy of the State!
He was also one of them greatest heroes of the last century, He achieved in South Africa what even Mahatma Gandhi was unable to do and he did in a way that respected all of humanity.
This is a man who evolved above the pettiness of racial conflict, a man who saw with profound clarity that South Africa was not a Black nation, a Coloured nation or a White nation. He saw South Africa as a great nation with opportunities for all people no matter their colour, their tribe, their religion, or their culture...
...But finally after years of struggle and hardship, apartheid was overthrown and Nelson Mandela became the first Black President of South Africa. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. The U.S. presented him with the Medal of Freedom and the Soviet Union presented him with The Order of Lenin. Yet he still officially remained on the list of people barred from entry to the United States.
In 1969 or anytime during the Seventies, the very idea that Nelson Mandela would one day be President of South Africa was an impossible thought. No one, not even Mandela himself could imagine such a possibility. It was simply impossibility.
And yet it happened. The impossible became possible and in achieving that position, in winning the Nobel prize, Mandela gave a gift to all of us and that was the gift of hope, the realization that no matter how daunting the situation, no matter how formidable the obstacles, that passion, courage and imagination can prevail.
Madiba is now 94 years old and we may lose him soon. But what we will never lose is the legacy of this great man, the ideas that he transformed into reality, the dreams that he made real. The strength of his convictions, and the passion, and kindness of his heart.
We all die but few have lived as Nelson Mandela lived, few have achieved as much as he was able to achieve.
Even his prison number 46664 (meaning prisoner 466 incarcerated in 1964) is now the name of a humanitarian charitable organization. Mandela has been able to turn all the opposition against him in his life into tools to make this a better world.
The last one hundred years have given us very few exceptionally great inspirational and peaceful leaders. The three most influential have been Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela and only one of them was a President of a nation although I believe King would have become the greatest President of the United States if he had not been assassinated by a coward. Gandhi was also assassinated.
I am happy that Mandela was able to live a long and remarkable life.
He not only served his country with exceptional honour, he has served all of mankind with dignity and amazing grace."
Captain Paul Watson
My primary interest is in defending and protecting marine life in our oceans. It is my deepest passion and it is a fight that I have been involved in all of my life, a fight that I shall never retire from and will continue until the day I die. I am Captain and Educator, Author and Lecturer, Fund-raiser and Film-maker, Executive Director and Marine Conservationist. I am Master of the 1000 ton vessel Steve Irwin. My ship Bob Barker is crucial in blocking the slipway of the Nisshin Maru during our whale defense campaigns in the Southern Ocean. I am closely connected to the Scuba-Diving, Surfing and Vegetarian communities.
The Following is a lovely tribute page by the Mail & Guardian:
Here is a link to the Nelsonmandela.org page, explaining Madiba's names and their meanings: http://www.nelsonmandela.org/content/page/names
He has lived a long life and I wish him well, whether he will live to 120 or not.
Take care Tata.