Living in the moment for the first time

2013-12-07 00:00

SOME of us never really took part in the apartheid era. I was only three years old when Mandela was released from prison and only seven when he became president, so I don’t have many memories of him. But today I have seen the hero’s legacy, the hero who was celebrated, loved and respected by the nation while I was growing up.

I vaguely remember the funeral of Chris Hani two decades ago. The whole nation was weeping, but it did not make any sense to me then. I just remember the song that was repeatedly sung on that day … Hamba Kahle Mkhonto, Mkhonto Wesizwe. It’s only now that I realise how it felt to those who were weeping, they had lost a hero of that time.

Today in my history, I am proud to have lived to see this day. Being woken up at midnight by the deputy editor to give us duties for the preparation of the day after Mandela’s death made me realise how lucky we have been.

I turned on the television and the whole nation was alive and overwhelmed by the sudden loss. Social networks were buzzing with activity; the focus solely on one of the greatest men to have lived during our time.

When I got to the Witness office and saw the history of the mighty Mandela detailed in the paper, it really made me proud to be a part of the moment.

It is a sad day for all, but realistically, he was not immortal and death is the end of every man’s chapter, so today the long walk has ended and we are left with a rich history.

Now the baton is in our hands and we must run with it. Our future leaders need to be as proud of the Madiba’s legacy as we are of him today.

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