The weird thing about being so far from home when the news of Madiba's passing broke is that I probably heard about it before many of my fellow South Africans.
When I did hear, my reaction was much the same as most of yours. I cried.
My Canadian co workers can't seem to work out why I was so deeply affected by the death of an old man who I have never met, and who has been out of office for years.
The truth is, unless you are a South African, you won't truly know.
If you, like me, remember 1994, then you remember the feeling of hope that accompanied Mandela's term in office, and kept us buoyed for several years after.
I'm not going to get into current politics though. We all know what my position is.
What I do want to mention is that so many people have been calling Nelson Mandela the father of our nation.
That is, in many ways true, but it is also a reminder that we still have work to do.
Until the day that we call one another South African, and don't add the prefixes white, black, colored or Indian, we are failing Madiba.
Until the day when politics is no longer race based, we are failing the father of our nation. The symbol of our hope.
Maybe this will finally be the event that creates one cohesive society in South Africa, where the past, race and all of the other meaningless things that are being used to control our minds fall by the wayside.
I fervently hope that that is what happens.
Rest in peace Madiba. Your story represents the best we can be. May we all strive towards it.
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