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Watson Mnaphi
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Mandela 'had a permanent smile'

06 December 2013, 07:58  - Watson Mnaphi

I just noted yesterday that I first saw Mandela in real life at Rhema church. He had a wonderful permanent smile all the while the choir was present on stage singing praise to God.

There was this tall president putting on a perpetual smile not a grin but a smile right through the song.His bodyguard stood facing the congregation motionless attentive and quite content to watch over the people while Mandela shared the podium with a bevy of beauties and jubilant youngmen singing praises to God.

He was here at the invitation of Pastor Ray McAuley of Rhema bible church.

Mandela's presence there was unannounced.Pastor Rick Gordon from the States was to share that evening.The man of God spoke about how his wife had been rebellious and later died in an accident.

But before he preached it was Mandela's turn to address a packed auditorium feeled with mostly white congregants.Mandela woed the crowd with his energetic dance which I watched first hand.Then premier Mathole Motshega accompanied him.

I was impressed by Mandela's simplicity amd total absence of airs.Along with that he did't have that aura of high handedness,only exuded love and seemed to relate individual even with such a crowd.He then took the stage.There are indeed so few sober minded politicians;no rhetoric just a simple address and a frank approach to the topic at hand.

He said a statement that made people reverberate with laughter.He said his nephew asked him how long he was imprisoned.To which Mandela replied 27 years.Ah she said,you are stupid!

There is many other other things and places where he addressed crowds and people

When he visited then Mafikeng.To confront Lucas Mangope shortly after taking office.He had that dignified bearing and justifiable anger but was gefinitely a panacea to many especially those who may have felt threatened by being a minority group.

I could have talked about tthe days soon after he came from prison.But the one at Rhema stands out.I was surprised that he spoke such a long time all those kids standind infront with him got tired and set down while he continued his addressed,now and the gentle lifting a glass of water and sipping it slowly as if savouring every moment it.

At one point he said the people in the rural areas have to drink water and when you look into the water there's tedpoles.

Very sensitive man.When he was done with his peech he merely disappeared with his bodyguards back stage just like we would do at school.

He also once said he did not singularly fight apartheid it's unfair on his frormer prison mates;there were people like Raymond Mhlaba as well.

There's also the time when he went for his birthday bashes abroad sitting infront of thousands of fans in London the US and so forth.

And the suspense of the 2010 world cup.

Truly there will be lots of things to reminisce of the legal of a peaceful political  landscape he has bequeathed to Africa and his work on AIDS.All major celebrities and political dignatories made it a point to visit him before they went back to their countries.

Coming out of prison with Winnie waving the power salute in 1990.The ticker tape parade in the states.Narrowly escaping assassination on his inauguration.His wedding to Graca with Mbeki as a best man?Donning a rugby jersey

Addressing a packed stadium in Harare Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwean government declared Mandela day to be a holiday in that country.

Today on 6 December flags fly half mast in South Africa and London maybe many more countries.

I may not know but soon he is going to be buried.South Africa's forst president who led by example and united this beautiful country.

However oneday I was house sitting a house near his home in Houghton when an elderly white Afrikaaner man came riding in front of the gate he stopped breathless and said show me Mandela's house.I froze.It was in 1998.I said why?He said how can they let a criminal rule this country he must go back to jail.

This was not to be.

I remember hearing his Rivonia speech.

I have fought against white domination,I have fought against black domination;it is an ideal for which if need be I'm prepared to die.

And je died for it.He reportedly contractd the lung infection during his incarceration ion Roben island.

The black pimpernel.

On inauguration day his speech at inauguration.Never again shall one people oppress another in this way.The sun shall not set on so great a glorious day.

Madiba's passing will live many sorrowing.So much tears will flow.

My bible says in Ecclesiastes,wise people go to the house of morning fools go to places of entertainment.
Ecclesisates 7.

Go people to his funeral learn and be wise.Ther is a beginning then there is an end.Will you make heaven.Do you know Jesus?

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