Mandela lived a truly good life, with imperfections - Archbishop

2015-12-06 21:30
(Photo: File/AFP)

(Photo: File/AFP)

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Durban - On the second anniversary of former President Nelson Mandela’s death, Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba questioned what he would think of present day South Africa.

In an address set to be delivered at an evening prayer service at St Georges Cathedral in Cape Town on Sunday, Makgoba hailed his legacy.

"Today and for generations to come, Madiba will be revered around the world as an inspirational symbol of peace and forgiveness, but also of the justice on which they must be based. He remains a beacon of hope for all those, everywhere, who are still fighting for their freedom and justice."

He paid tribute to Madiba as the greatest statesman of his era, saying his leadership steered the country through the most difficult times without ever compromising his ideals or principles or pandering to populist demands.

"...I cannot help but ask myself: If he were alive today what would he think of South Africa? What would he - who took a 20% pay cut soon after becoming president, and who donated much of what he did receive to his children's fund - think of Nkandla?," Makgoba quizzed.

"What would he who insisted on appearing in court to face a hostile cross-examination, despite advice by his aides that as president he should not, think of a president who has done everything to avoid his day in court?" Makgoba challenged.

He said times have changed since Madiba played his extraordinary role in helping society through its transition to democracy. "Circumstances have changed, to the degree that we cannot look to what he did and emulate him in order to work through our current challenges. But we can look to the values which underpinned his life and everything he did."

Makgoba said although Madiba rarely expressed himself in religious terms, or voiced his religious beliefs, he had the privilege of praying with him regularly during the last years of his life. "From my interaction with him I have no doubt that all his life he searched not for perfection but for union - through other people - with whoever he understood God to be.

"He understood that to live a truly good life you don't have to be perfect: as he once told an American audience, in response to their adulation: 'I am an ordinary human being with weaknesses, some of them fundamental, and I have made many mistakes in my life. I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying'."

Read more on:    nelson mandela  |  thabo makgoba

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