"let your boat of life be light, packed with only
what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, someone to love and someone to love you,
enough to eat and enough to wear
and a little more than enough to drink:
for thirst is a dangerous thing"

Sunday, 8 December 2013

my reflection (for what it is worth)

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. 


  • Dear Allie, I have a confession to make. After the death of Nelson Mandela I must say this. When you left Iceland, you had lended me "Long Walk to Freedom", Mandela´s autobiography. You forgot it - or more accurately I did not give it back to you in time. I have moved several times since - but always kept it close. I have read it of course - used quotations from it in my work - and this has been unbelievably inspiring. When you took care of our twin boys in Iceland so remarkably and tought them Afrikaansenglish before they could speak their mother tongue, you told me so much about your beautiful country. Not only Mandela, but also Hugh Mazekela, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and others on the music scene as well as the diversity of the nation. I will sure go to S-Africa sooner than later, it is on my list. I can send the book to you Allie, please give me your address. I have heard you are doing fine, having kids on your own and family. That made me feel good. I will order another copy for the boys - a reminder of one of the greatest person in history - and also a tribute to the wonderful girl from Cape Town who was so good to them. Best regards Allie. Hakon
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    • Nic RossleeLeila Goddard and 8 others like this.
    • Jenny Kotze Keep the book!! At an emotional time in SA this gave me goosebumps. What an awesome message and so typically Allie. Our SA diplomat in Iceland. I hope you get to come to SA with your family one day Hakon. (I will buy you a copy when you are next here Allie) xx
      17 hours ago via mobile · Like · 2
    • Allie Hare Yates Hi Hakon, thank you for your kind words. I feel quite humbled. You and BryndĂ­s were such an inspiration to me. Your passion for life and fascination and compassion for people have stayed with me always. I learned so much from both of you. I feel very blessed to have been part of your family and taking care of my little darlings was one of the most special parts of my life. Just like my aunt Jenny said, please keep the book!! I hope that when you go to South Africa we will be there as well. I'd love for you to meet my family and see my little girls. Xx
      17 hours ago via mobile · Like · 1

1 comment:

  1. That summed it up Jenny! Connections all over the world on account of one super-human Madiba.