Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Sunset of Many Part 1

It was two days before we were to leave our magnificent environment in Mauritius that I was gifted by the sight of a sunset, this sunset. It became more and more beautiful as the molten globe of fire slowly descended from its perch in the sky, finally meeting with the sea. 

I began to think about, well, everything; what had ended, what had sprouted into growth, what had screeched to a halt, what had been made or muddied up; within my own spirit, my own habitat of home, and then the sometimes-chaotic culmination of the rest of the world -what had happened in such a short space of time, and what I had taken from it all. 

I've decided I shall start from the most recent sunset, as all my South African comrades, our fellow citizens of the rest of the world, and then also me, still hold their hearts aglow with the memory of Nelson Mandela and the legacy of compassion and humanity that has been so poignantly put into focus since his passing. 

Madiba's funeral procession went forth on Sunday 15th December, and the next day my dad and I decided we were going to go to the street of Mandela's house where people had gathered to lay flowers, candles, pictures and drawings and give their thanks and silent (or not so silent) message to Mandela. We went to see these tributes, but also to express our own honouring of the awe-inspiring human being that he was. 

The bundles of flowers, candles and childrens' drawings garnishing the street was overwhelmingly beautiful and heart-warming to see.

South Africans in Joburg flocked to the street of Mandela's house, carrying SA flags, or wearing Mandela tshirts or pins. What I found so wonderful was that that culmination was the epitome of our country's 'Rainbow Nation" and what Mandela had aimed to create; a joining of South Africans regardless of race, religion, gender, age, etc. Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, whites, blacks, indians, gays, students, couples, babies, old people, just people, businessmen/women, hordes of journalists and photographers, and friends all gathered in that place of union in our honouring of Tata Madiba.

I found it so touching to see a group of Jewish men standing together, reading from the Torah and then giving a few words for Mandela. Their humility and authenticity gathered a small crowd of others, interested in what they had to say. What I loved was at one point a man from Nigeria came up to them with a Bible and introduced himself and he and the one Jewish man then read from the Torah and the Bible, alternating.

A chapter has closed in our magnificent country, but we will not be plunged into darkness with the setting of this sun. Our nation is strong and our people are determined. There will be more suns, and we are ready for the new day; one where government works in servitude for the people and the people unite to build a better land. The time has come for change, great change, in South Africa. I can not say what will happen in this transitional period, but I have faith that we will all be the better for it in the end.

We have been so far.