Once I arrived home on Friday, I turned on the evening news to watch the coverage of his passing. I expected to see grief stricken people in the streets, mourning. What I saw completely surprised me.
South Africans rejoicing in the streets.
Or the world for that matter. I was fortunate enough to catch the Memorial Service live, at 1am-ish Pacific time this morning. It was amazing to see the 'who's who' of the United Nations fly in from around the world to honor him. It was even better to see the citizens of South Africa rejoicing in the rain for the great leader who'd gone home to be with the Lord.
Mr. Mandela was more than a blessing for South Africa alone, but for the international community as well. It seems as if he changed the world with a gentle admonishment and a smile, but I know this isn't the case. Leaders listened to and respected him. He didn't seem to get the push-back that some leaders experience. He had a way of talking to folks, of interacting with them. He was like a grandfather, who having raised his children in the callousness of youth, now molds his grandchildren with tenderness, love, and compassion in the twilight of his years.
OK, so I'm romanticizing him. So what? I can if I want too. But much of it is true, isn't it?
Rest, Madiba, our chief.