We are now halfway through the 10 days of mourning the late former state President Nelson Mandela’s departure, and although we have come to accept this, the Free State, and indeed South Africa as a whole is still in shock that he is no more. To me, Nelson Mandela was much more than a revolutionary who fought for a united, non-racial, democratic South Africa. Because my father passed away when I was only 3 years old, Tata Mandela was like a father.
He was a selfless leader who taught us that leadership is about collective effort, and not about the individual. He taught us the true meaning of reconciliation, but most significantly, he taught us the importance of high work ethic and time-keeping. I remember, vividly, how he once called a meeting, abruptly, at 4am and all ANC leaders had to be on time.
It was indeed great to have served under him once upon a time. He was the undiminishing light that showed the way and the Baobab tree that provided shelter. Although I will miss this great Seaparankoe, I’m comforted by the unwavering belief that his spirit will live on. He now rests knowing that his great nation is left in capable hands, and although there will always be challenges along the way, we will strive to champion the ideals which he died upholding.
Today, because of the tireless efforts of Tata Mandela and those who departed before him such as Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu, we are able to live in a country that belongs to all who live in it, as emphasised in the Freedom Charter and as such, there can be no denying that although we concede that there are still many challenges, South Africa is a much better country than it was before 1994.