We will miss tat' omkhulu for the laughs, mischief

By Drum Digital
15 December 2013

Madiba was a lot of fun to be around and was a great storyteller. He had a great sense of humour.

South Africa and the world will remember former President Nelson Mandela for his courage, leadership, accountability and a soft spot for children.

But to his children and grandchildren, they will miss his sense of humour, mischief and his story telling around the dinner table.

“Tat’ omkhulu (granddad) was a lot of fun to be around and was a great storyteller. He had a great sense of humour.

“During the past year, we missed hearing his voice.

“At the dinner table, he liked telling us stories about his childhood and preferred the ones where he would poke fun at himself,” Nandi said.

Nandi said this shortly after her cousin, Ndaba Mandela, read a moving obituary in tribute to his grandfather, “the world icon”.

Nandi said mischief was one of the many sides of the former statesman that many people didn’t know about.

“One story comes to mind. We were in Maputo for Josinah’s wedding. We were sitting at a patio waiting for lunch to be served. In comes a lady, one of Josinah’s friends. With a mischievous smile and a twinkle in his eyes, he asked: “So young lady, what do you think of my grandson [Ndaba]? Don’t you think he is handsome?

“She replied: ‘No papa, I think he is too young for me. In the African tradition, a man can never be seen as younger than a woman’.”

Nandi also said that while they enjoyed the “fun” side of him, Mandela was also a disciplinarian and with his strictness, prepared them for life.

When Mandela retired from the Presidency, he continued to dedicate his life to social causes, like the fight against HIV and Aids and also to launching a foundation for children, the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

She said Mandela often surprised many for his humility, and treated all with respect.

“He recognised, embraced and celebrated humanity in every single person that he encountered.

“At a formal dinner hosted by businesses, he stunned his hosts when he requested to greet the staff that prepared the food for the event.

“Everything had to stop. He was escorted to the kitchen and shook the hands of all the kitchen staff. That is the humility of the man that is lying here in front of us.”

“We shall miss you tat’omkhulu. We shall miss your voice as you told the stories of your childhood. We will miss your laughter.”

– SANews.gov.za

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