When I was a small boy of about 6, Mr. Mandela visited our town. We live next to the sport grounds and I observed how they were preparing everything for his arrival as I rode my bicycle through the area a day before. Against my parents' warnings to stay away, I went to the fence of the sporting grounds on the day Mr. Mandela was to arrive. I climbed a tree to get a better look. The man I heard and had a glimpse of, was not the man I was warned against. He was a warm, friendly, open man. I can still remember his voice echoing, even though I was just a little boy.
Today, after listening to Barack Obama's profound speech at the National Memorial Service for Madiba, I was so proud to have grown up in the dawning years of the new South Africa. By Madiba's philosophy, we should not let tyrants steal from us what we have gained through many years of struggling. Makes me wonder what will happen next year during elections - because now, more than ever, I am determined to go to that polling station and make sure that I contribute to a better, safer - and just - South Africa.
I want to say the following in my mother tongue:
Jy was dalk nie perfek nie, Madiba. Jy het dalk nie al die regte besluite gemaak in jou lewe nie, maar jy het die integriteit gehad om foute te erken, positief te reageer op kritiek en almal te verwelkom - veral die kinders van ons land. Selfs in jou dood maak jy my TROTS om 'n Suid-Afrikaner te wees. Dankie vir jou vergewensgesindheid, jou passie vir vrede en jou glimlag wat die hele land meegevoer het uit die put van hopeloosheid, na die berg van hoop.
Ja, ek is 'n Afrikaner, maar ek is eerste 'n Suid-Afrikaner. Ons vir jou, Suid-Afrika, altyd.
Madiba, jou dood het my net weer herinner, nadat ek al oorweeg het om te immigreer, dat al gaan dit soms sleg, die gees van waarheid, liefde en wedersydse respek altyd - maar altyd - sal seëvier. As volgende jaar kom, sal ons die ideale wat jy ons van geleer het eerste in ag neem voor ons ons kruisies trek.
Hamba kahle, tata Madiba. Mooi loop, oupa. Ons sal jou mis.
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.