I’ve been watching Nelson Mandela’s memorial service today. Very moving. Almost 100 heads of state and dignitaries – some say the largest funeral in history! And it’s been pouring with rain since early morning. It’s still raining now at the end of the service – as if nature itself has been gently weeping, mirroring our mourning of Madiba, the father (‘Tata’) of our new democratic nation, South Africa. But in African (and Biblical) culture, rain is a sign of blessing, a promise of new life. May it be!
Tata Mandela will be sorely missed. We, this nation, and this world, will miss his reconciling presence, stately leadership and moral authority. God, in his sovereign design in our time of greatest historical need, raised up Madiba to bring about liberating reconciliation and justice – a shining light to all people and nations on planet earth. Extraordinary people like Mandela only come along once in a couple of centuries. Not that he was a saint; he himself freely admitted to his flaws and failures! (We must be careful of Mandela-worship as time passes) He’s known for saying “I’m a sinner. I’ve made many mistakes. I only pretend to be a saint when I’m among people!” As a South African, I feel so honoured and privileged to have lived in his life-time, to have lived through the miraculous change that we have experienced.
I never met Madiba – only saw him from a distance in a meeting – but there’s a story that lives with me, that has inspired me for years. Continue reading Tribute to Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela – A Personal Anecdote