For years now people have wondered what will happen if Nelson Mandela had to die. Many hoped that they would never have to see the day and that Madiba will live forever. But he was just a man after all. Not an ordinary man though. A very special man. Many white (sic) people saw him as a terrorist as he fought for the freedom of this country. I say this country because although the fight against Apartheid was seen by many as the fight of the black people, it was a fight to free all people. In his defence statement during the Rivonia Trail in 1964 (also repeated during the closing of his speech delivered in Cape Town on the day he was released from prison 27 years later, on 11 February 1990) Mandela said, "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 will live together in harmony with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for, and to see realised. But my Lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die." That said it all, but he continued that ideal and led South Africa peacefully into democracy. Face it, he could have been bitter about spending 27 years in jail and the whole thing could have turned very ugly if it wasn't for this man. Clearly he wasn't a terrorist but a freedom fighter. One who preached peace over violence. That is what made him so special in the eyes of the world.
So here we are this morning, waking up to the news of the passing of this great man. Life goes on, but with something missing. I should actually say someone, because the ideals of Madiba should never dissapear. It is something this country should build on. I salute you Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. Our beloved Madiba. Born, 18 July 1918. Died, 5 December 2013. Rest in peace Madiba. I salute you.
The picture is the fist of the Madiba figure on the Donkin Reserve in Port Elizabeth, triumphantly punching in the air. A salute of honour on this day.