Nelson Mandela said the following, in his defense, at the Rivonia trial in April 1964:
“It is a struggle of the African people, inspired by their own suffering and their own experience. It is a struggle for the right to live. During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
Thank you, Madiba. Mbo na ye. Mbo na edwuma.
Since hearing of Mandela’s passing, I’ve been thinking of my family’s time in Harare in the 1980s, where news of the African struggle for freedom in South Africa would come draped in blood and tears.
What does one say to Madiba’s family and numerous other families for absences endured and sacrifices borne? And for bearing the greatest burden for a people’s freedom.
As always, Desmond Tutu says it best:
Condolences: To uTata Mandela’s beloved wife, Graca Machel, his former wife, Winnie Madikizela, the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren – and to all the Madibas – we express our deepest and most heartfelt sympathy on the loss of your paterfamilias, your patriarch. Although we collectively claim him as the father of our nation, and the pain we feel is similar to that of losing a close relative, he was your husband, your father and your grandfather. We pray that God will dry your tears and renew your strength. We thank you for sharing uTata with us. And we thank God for him. We are relieved that his suffering is over, but our relief is drowned by our grief. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.
People cared about Nelson Mandela, loved him, because of his courage, convictions and care of others’. He set aside the bitterness of enduring 27 years in apartheid prisons – and the weight of centuries of colonial division, subjugation and repression – to personify the spirit and practice of Ubuntu. He perfectly understood that people are dependent on other people in order for individuals and society to prosper.
He transcended race and class in his personal actions, through his warmth and through his willingness to listen and to emphasise with others. And he restored others’ faith in Africa and Africans.” – Desmond Tutu’s Statement on the Passing of Nelson Mandela
Damrifa due, Madiba. Rest in perfect peace.
A luta continua!