Picture by James Abinini
Since waking up very early on Friday morning and learning from Matthew via Twitter in Hong Kong that Mandela had died until today still listening, reading and watching the continued tributes from all over the world, it has been a proud and emotional weekend to be a South African. There is a sadness but as when Michael's 92 year old mother died earlier this year, what do you expect? They were never going to improve and thank goodness she slipped away far quicker than what he did and without medical interference. It was time to go and they were ready to go.
We have had two lovely Malaysian visitors in Cape Town. They have loved our country, the people and the passion. They were on Robben Island on Friday and on the Grand Parade that evening. After spending the day with them yesterday and seeing our city through their eyes and listening to their experiences and enthusiasm for our country and people, I feel blessed.
Although I never met the man watching the one minute of clapping at a soccer match in the UK, listening to Maya Angelou's poem and all the other tributes and reading beautiful blog posts, seeing groups of people on the beach early this morning, with flowers and candles, spending some quiet time reflecting. I too feel that he is a part of me and my heritage. However, I have not cried. Of late, and I blame it on hormones, strange things make me cry.
Social media is amazing. I have scrolled through the many pictures and quotes of Mandela on Facebook and Twitter, I have seen the outpouring of love and some amazing photographs I have never seen before, I have also been seriously irritated and have had to stop myself from commenting on the negative statements from a few people overseas "I fear for what will happen to South Africa now" being one of them.
I have loved the personal notes and photographs - the cute 7 year old son of a friend meeting Mandela at school, 3 year old Aidan in the USA asking his mother "Did Mandela ever played tennis with my dad?" and then this one below which got a few tears rolling down my cheeks. It is a message, on Facebook, to my niece Allie from a friend in Iceland who she has not seen for many years.
The death of this icon has stirred up so many emotions in people all over the world and even one of guilt for a well-read copy of "The Long Walk to Freedom" sitting on the bookshelf of a family so far away in Iceland.