MyNews24 is a user-generated section of The stories here come from users.

Piet Swart
Comments: 0
Article views: 137
Latest Badges:

View all Piet Swart's badges.

Mandela soaring

10 December 2013, 15:57

I grew up in a small town in the Karoo, where we had to listen to the moon landing and Rugby matches on crackling shortwave radios.  A place with achingly beautiful sunsets.  And this whole week I have felt that I have witnessed the grandest sunset of them all. I spilled tears when Mandela was released in 1994, and it is time to spill some more.

The remarkable list of world leaders converging in South Africa for Mandela’s funeral is a fitting tribute to a man whose heart was big enough to inspire a nation and a planet. The leader of the most powerful nation on Earth will deliver a tribute, with the leaders of the world’s two most populous countries, China and India, looking on. Yes, even in death Madiba brings our nation and the world together, with foes like the US and Cuba on the same stage, all looking on in admiration and sadness.  

A few choose to still narrowly judge Madiba by the ANC’s belated embrace of violent struggle in the early 1960s.  But it seems a very harsh way to judge a man that had clearly embraced forgiveness and non-violence by the time of his release in 1990, when the ANC and its associated ideological organizations were unbanned in one breathtaking swoop by De Klerk.  If Madiba wasn’t a Ghandi when he went into prison, he certainly was when he was released. But also more than that – a secular Moses, David, Saladin, and the human side of Jesus all rolled into one.

A man that went to visit Betsie Verwoerd for a cup of tea and koeksisters in Orania, when Western heads of state and other celebrities were already clamoring to welcome him with fanfare at their tables. A man that would unexpectedly drop in on Amanda Strydom, an Afrikaner singer/songwriter, when she was going through a rough patch in her life.  And also a man that would don a Springbok jersey with all the eyes of the Rugby world on us in 1995, embracing us Afrikaners as intimately as he possibly could.

The African people was at war with the Apartheid regime, after decades of a seemingly futile non-violent approach.  After all, one of our Afrikaner folk heroes, the dashing General Christiaan de Wet, also used guerilla tactics and violent sabotage to try and bring down the enemy.  And the civilian death toll caused by the ANC pales in comparison to the thousands of civilians that died as a result of Apartheid, including the torture of individuals perceived as a threat or as “disrespectful” when confronted by the state security apparatus.

I agree that our ongoing horrible, violent crime rate and endemic corruption tarnishes the standing of the ANC, and also the silent support given to the horribly misguided and murderous policies of Mugabe in neighbouring Zimbabwe.  But it would be unfair and wrong to hang this around the neck of Madiba.  Our crime rate is significantly driven by desperate poverty.  And Mugabe totally lost the plot during Mbeki’s rule, not during Madiba’s rule.

So, like most, I grieve Mandela’s passing deeply and unreservedly.  Go well into the night, Madiba.  As the hills of Qunu beckons you back, we are letting you go, reluctantly.  Rainer Rilke’s poem encapsulates your soaring.

Ich komme aus meinen Scheingen heim

I come home from the soaring
in which I lost myself.
I was song, and the refrain which is God
is still soaring in my ears.

Now I am still
and plain:
no more words.

To the others I was like a wind:
I made them shake.
I'd gone very far, as far as the angels,
and high, where light thins into nothing.

But deep in the darkness is God.

Dr. Pieter Swart, Vancouver, Canada

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
For whom the bell tolls

While speculation is rife of the ANC's impending fall and Jacob Zuma's time that is running out, the party - and it faithful - are gathering in a laager. Read more...

5 comments 693 views
Submitted by
Wouter Willemse
The Game has changed

If you are a child from the 60's, 70's or 80's in South Africa you had a different set of rules than the NewFreeBorns. Read more...

0 comments 38 views
Submitted by
Makate Rapulana
The SABC ís the voice of governme...

The public broadcaster is unapologetically the mouthpiece of any sitting government, and the opposition should reconcile itself with the fact. Read more...

0 comments 11 views
Submitted by
Mahomed Farouk Cassim
Terror a force for good in Parly

A government that loses its moral authority ceases to govern. Instead, it will begin to rule and thus become intolerant of accountability, transparency and democratic processes.  Read more...

0 comments 98 views
Submitted by
Gideon van Zyl
I am not irrelevant - just outvot...

Well at last I am truly back home. One of the things I want to do, is to actually do something about the general feeling of being gatvol about South African politics.  Read more...

7 comments 253 views
Submitted by
The pearls of an Atheist Easter

I have an extended family that are Christian, and we are not talking the love they neighbour, forgive your mates and do the right thing, of the good old bishop Tutu kind. Read more...

163 comments 2883 views

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25



E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on your iPhone Get News24 headlines on your iPhone.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

Calais Website keywords automated by OpenCalais.

Digital Media & Marketing Association
© 2014 All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.