The last thing I read on my Galaxy tablet last night was that one of my heroes, Nelson Mandela, had died peacefully at his home at the ripe old age of 95 :(
His demise had been expected for quite some time but, now that it has come about, one truly realises the loss of a man with a vision and who was a great statesman.
Having grown up in South Africa during the apartheid era as an English speaking white member of society, I enjoyed all the privileges and benefits that being white entitled me to. Although I realised from an early age that the system was biased and oppressive, there wasn't all that much one could do to change things as the Nationalist government had zero tolerance of any dissident ideas and being thrown in jail for expressing an opinion was not a pleasant option.
The Afrikaans and English speaking citizens didn't get along well either so we also went to separate schools which cost the tax payers alot more than was necessary!
My father was born in Matatiele in East Griqualand and after he was discharged from the army in 1944 he worked for the Chamber of Mines..first as a blaster in the gold mines and then as an interpreter as he spoke and understood 3 tribal languages ( one of them being Xhosa and he could 'click' correctly) and finally as the Compound Manager on a colliery near Witbank.
He almost lost his life there during an uprising in the compound where migrant workers lived. The uprising was due to old grievances they had had with the previous compound manager.
He worked hard to better life for the migrant workers but it took its toll on his health due to endless battles with the head office in Johannesburg for, mainly, extra money to get the job done and went on to retire at age 58. He was given a huge send off by the compound staff and workers and some even shed tears.
I often attended presentations for different competitions among the black miners and our house was just a stone's throw away from the compound so I was aften greeted by workers as they came off shift. We had a black cook and housemaid at home and they and I were good friends. Our cook, Paulus, always spoiled me with my favourite foods when I came home from boarding school. Johanna brought me up to date on the local gossip.
My schooling was, for the most part, at different catholic convents and the nuns did a lot of missionary work and teaching in the black communities. The black school children had to pay for their own books and uniforms even though they were poor and we donated books and other items to these schools. They also walked many km to and from school but they were keen to study and the distances didn't stop them.
Nelson Mandela experienced all of this injustice and rebelled against it and, even though his methods were not the wisest ones, he paid the price for wrong choices and changed his way of thinking while in prison. It seems he was always a true gentleman and always kept his dignity.
If South Africans of all colours, tribes and creeds really want the country to flourish they need to seriously work together for the common good. White people are also suffering today and are living in camps and are poverty stricken.
When I lived in South Africa tribalism was rife and I only realized how really strong it was when I asked two women of different tribes to help me clean the house we were living in before we emigrated. They agreed but both said they would not work together because of tribal differences. They came on different days.
All children need to have a good basic education and this, in turn, is an investment into the future. Without education people become slaves and this is the aim of the corrupt and greedy!
Corruption and greed hide behind all forms of extremism and corrupt religious leaders and politicians incite ignorant and uneducated persons to violence and destruction for their own devious ends.
I believe that Nelson Mandela wanted a thriving and united South Africa and if his goal is not striven after, his sacrifice will have been in vain and apartheid and slavery will rule forever!
Zahara sings to Nelson Mandela
He smiled, and I knew I would never see him again
Nelson Mandela had six names
The philosophy of 'Ubuntu'
Video: Asibonanga/Johnny Clegg
Mandela and his three wives
Mugabe did not want Mandela released