The first time I became aware of this great personality, was when FW de Klerk announced to free Mr Mandela after a 27 year imprisonment.
I did not know or understand the importance of this man to his people even though I was already 20 years old.
I have lived a carefree life without any understanding of what the struggle was all about and how fortunate I have been.
On February 11th, 1990 I turned 21 years of age, but somehow the focus that day was very much on the release of this man whom I did not know, but I sat in front of the TV in awe of this father figure to the people and how he was to change the future of our country in years to come.
Over the years following that day, I came to learn and understand why this was such a big deal for the people and for us as a country and I myself became very proud to say that Tata Madiba was an important figure to me as a South African.
Now, 19 years later, we are faced with having to say good-bye to this Tata and thank him for his contribution in bringing about Democracy to South Africa.
The sacrifices he had to make after being released from prison, when he could have just as well chosen to enjoy his golden years with his family. Instead he was an example of how we should live life in such a way that it makes a difference to another.
I truly believe that every person in this country’s life is better for having walked the earth at the same time as him.
Thank you Tata, we salute you on your final journey home !!!
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” Nelson Nelson Mandela
Elmarie Van Niekerk Engela
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