When I heard the news of Mandela’s passing, it did not immediately resonate with me. I finally decided to head home from a long day at work, when Kendel, a night custodian at the school stopped me on my way out, and said, ” You know Mandela died today?” I stopped to looked at my watch. It was, December 5th , 2013 at 5:08 p.m. – 95 years old I thought to myself. Consequently, I will always remember where I was, the day Nelson Mandela died. It seemed instinctive, as I responded the same way when hearing about my grandmother’s passing. My father and I received the call. I looked down at my watch, it was 10:33 a.m. on September 12, 2012, she lived to be 88 years old.
It wasn’t until I logged on to facebook that evening, that I began to feel the weight of what had truly happened. Virtually everyone’s status was dedicated to Mandela. I continued to scroll down for what could have been an hour. The prayers, condolences and tributes went on and on.
He fought for freedom, equality and justice for all people. While Malcolm and Martin were fighting in America, Mandela’s fists were raised in Africa. The turbulent 1960’s snatched the lives of our great freedom fighters, however, the durable and hopeful Mandela eventually emerged as the last man standing.
After serving a 28 year prison sentence, he never gave up and become the first black president of the Republic of South Africa, as the manacles of apartheid were summarily broken. What an incredible story! It is practically biblical.
This week, world leaders from over 100 countries ascended onto the beautiful nation of South Africa to honor this great man. I only wish that I could have been there to bid him farewell.
I never met Mandela, but his story made me want to change the world. If Mandela was a 900 page book, I would be honored to be a drop of ink on a single page…not even, a word, just a drop.