I remember, in the early 60s, when I was young boy and mother kept all curtains in the house drawn. During those times elderly people spoke in whispered code. It never dawned on me that the Rivonia Treason Trial has unleashed a turbulence that was to engulf us all.
Mr. Mandela was never mentioned by name but referred to only as “Him”. “Him” is gone now, and replaced by an overwhelming emptiness that I have never felt before, even for close relatives. Memories of hopelessness flood my being replacing memories of euphoria, that this man, our Moses; this Mandela was going to deliver us from the apartheid hell.
Indeed, for a few years as our first post-apartheid president it felt was so. Then, Mr. Mandela retired. His retirement spawned new problems and revived old ones. Poverty escalated, unparalleled urbanization took root, unemployment escalated, as we entered the global village. A village that brooked no nonsense for inferior good and services, and our economy spiraled downwards. Yes the dream was over.
Today we woke up from an evaporating dream; Mr. Mandela’s dream has been hijacked and destroyed. The hope and aspiration we felt in the early 1990s is but a dream.
Hamba kahle Rolihlahla I shall forever cherish my memories of you even when I did not see you in person, because you are within me.
John B Sambo
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