Our beloved Madiba passed away on 5 December, peacefully at his Houghton Home. In an interview for the documentary Mandela (1994) ironically, he said the following: “Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity.”
One of his key ministers put it like this. “You brought us back into the family of nations. Having been isolated because of the policies of our past, the presence of world leaders will bear testament to the manner in which you have helped us find our place in the community of nations. Indeed, when you stated on 10 May 1994 that ‘Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world,’ you were ushering us into an equal footing with the nations of the world. More than any other leader, you stand majestically as the rightful claimant to the title of Father of the Nation”. David Cameron’s remarks were just as solid. He talked about the grace with which Mandela won’ and declared that ‘eradicating poverty and conflict in Africa’ would be a fitting legacy to him.
Mandela himself summarised it beautifully: “We enter into a covenant that we shall build a society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without and fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity – a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world."
Madiba. We salute you.