As I write this, the rain is pouring down in Johannesburg, quite relentlessly, and it is considerably cool for this time of the year, around 14 degrees Celsius. It's almost like nature mourns along with us as we say goodbye to one of the last respectable leaders of our time... an icon, and our former President, Nelson Mandela.
Over the last five days since the news broke, the media have been in a frenzy and people have sent their condolences from around the world:
The Eiffel Tower in Paris lit up in commemoration:
Town Hall in Liverpool, UK:
The Empire State Building in New York, USA
And even NASA published a satellite picture of South Africa:
It is a momentous occasion - and the largest memorial in recent history, with the number of Foreign Dignitaries at over 100; including Ban-Ki Moon, Prince Charles, Queen Rania of Jordan, Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia, Barack Obama, David Cameron, as well as former Presidents and PM's Nicolas Sarkozy, Tony Blair, Jimmy Carter, Bill & Hillary Clinton - to name just a few. Presidents and Vice-Presidents coming from as far as Mexico, China, Venezuela.... from Jamaica to Japan. Also in attendance are celebs like our first lady of acting Charlize Theron, Bono & Naomi Campbell.
And, quite amusingly, I'm sure we will never again see the likes of Obama, Castro and Mugabe on the same platform ever again.
As we say goodbye, we say Thank You to Madiba, for being God's instrument and fighting for our Freedom. He grew up in the Xhosa Royal family, and went to the best schools, so he could have quite nicely decided to live in luxury and esteem... instead, he took his knowledge and stood up for the masses, giving up many things, including his time with his own family. And after being punished mercilessly and being imprisoned for 27 years, he chose the path of forgiveness and reconciliation. We may not know what lies ahead for this country, but we are grateful for what he and his comrades have done for us.