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You will be missed

08 December 2013, 18:55

I grew up as a young boy with my friend Christian Biko...his mum a cousin of Steven Biko. Unfortunately for him his mum and sisters they were forced to leave South Africa. However, I was lucky enough to grow up with the knowledge of the struggle and the knowledge of who Madiba was. Maisey Biko spoke so proudly of Nelson Mandela. For a boy of 8 years old to see this pride in a stoic woman still brings back so many amazing memories.

What Madiba taught me as a young boy growing up in Australia was how lucky it was to be free, to grow up with the right to be free and the right to live. Whenever I hear the South African national anthem, I still to this day cry. It brings back memories of Steve Biko, Nelson Mandela, Maisey and their fight, their struggle.

For me, Madiba taught me so much but I never met him. He taught me about forgiveness, about peace about the struggle about what it means to be a human being. Australians were one of the most politically active in supporting Mandela and the struggle against Apartheid and I'm so proud to say that in 2010, I was able to go to a free South Africa.

I went to Soweto, and the immense pride I had in knowing that it was Madiba's struggle his sacrifice for a nation allowed your nation to be born once again. For a white man to walk in a Black community with no fear no prejudice...that is Madiba's work. I look back at my pics in Soweto and it brings me such happiness...Madiba I thank you for that.

I thank you for your courage, your wisdom, your pride, your fight your struggle; I also thank you for shaping me as a man. I will always consider you a man to look up to and a man that truly inspired me.

Vale Madiba. As Desmond Tutu said its not blasphemy to consider you to be a saint. Madiba, you truly are a saint.

You will be missed.

Barry Cullen

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