I don’t normally write anything on this blog page that doesn’t have to do with either golf in South Africa, golfers of South Africa or travel to and in South Africa. But at this special time I want to share with you what is happening in South Africa. With the people of South Africa. Many of whom have played or never will play golf. Who may have traveled, sometimes long and far. Sometimes not of their own free will. But because the government told them to. The apartheid government, before Nelson Mandela became president.
As the Father of our nation has moved on, this is a time to reflect. To honor, to commemorate and to celebrate.
It is with great sadness that we learned of Nelson Mandela’s passing last Thursday. Rumors had been flying around the internet for quite a while already that he was being kept alive by machines only, and to be honest the timing of his passing and all consequent arrangements for remembrance services, mourning period and finally his funeral all seem too perfect to be a coincidence.
Yes, there are questions about his passing, his children fighting over his legacy. Yes, there are doubts whether Qunu has any idea what will descend upon them and whether the infrastructure is ready for all the dignitaries and heads of state to attend the funeral.
Yet the biggest emotion surfacing at the moment is one of respect. Watching the stories on tv, listening to the stories of friends, workers and people on the streets about what Mandela means to them. How his life has touched their lives. And how his life has taught this country forgiveness, reconciliation and understanding. It could have been so different…
I am almost jealous of the people who have met Mandela in person, or have been in his presence. I can’t imagine what that must feel like, what one would say. But it would be humbling, and possibly life-changing. Even being here in South Africa at this moment in time is a humbling experience, as people are gathering, remembering, singing, dancing, signing cards and laying flowers.
Every community has its own way of paying their tributes. Which is exactly what makes this country as special as it is: the variety in its people, the different backgrounds, the diverse histories. Yet, when it counts, this nation stands together.
As one nation, with only one father. Tata Madiba.
This blog first appeared on http://golfinsouthafrica.wordpress.com