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  • miavzyl

    Dankie Hannah. I have been trying to articulate what is going on in my heart and mind when I read the hateful comments on social media, and I understand that the hatred is not without merit. But after lashing out, what about wanting to listen a little bit longer, look a little bit further, search a little deeper? Maybe reserve judgement for just a moment longer and ponder / realise: thank GOODness that this man who touched us all (leaving us either more hopeful or even more hateful) was afforded the time, Wisdom and Guidance to grow beyond what he had to do for "his" South Africa into what he did for "our" South Africa? Many so-called "terrorists" never got that chance.

    • Hannah du Plessis

      Thank you lovely Mia, that shift in perspective is an amazing gift. Hm. May we all be afforded the time, wisdom and guidance to live lives that bring ourselves, our communities and countries to life.

  • Estherproject Africa Appollis

    Thank you for sharing, I am a black South African labled as Coloured, could vote for the first time at age 34. I shook Nelson Mandela;s hand, felt his energy and saw his smile, that shon as bright as the African sunset. I love the peace, and hope he brought to our Country, we no longer ask questions or have grudges we have learnt to forgive and feel sorry for those who remain in the darkness and pray that they too one day will be part of his light of love. I wrote a Poem when I heard of his death so many miles away in the US.

    Free at last !
    On February 11, 1990, Mandela walked out of prison to thunderous applause, his clenched right fist raised above his head “I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison,” he said at the time.
    Thank you Madiba, you brought us hope
    A chance for a better tomorrow
    You gave us dignity and respect
    You freed our minds from hatred and bitterness

    You gave us the freedom to choose where we want to live
    Who we want to marry
    Where we could attend school
    You took the focus away from our skin color, social status or language we spoke
    You made us think with our hearts, our hearts that is bleeding blood
    Red, green, gold, white, blue yellow and black.

    You helped us to sing a new song with love as the melody.
    “Nkosi Sikele I Africa “ Uit die blou van onse hemel” Sound the call to come together”
    You helped as a Rainbow Nation to wave our flags in unison while our nation’s children play.

    And now what is left for us is to wave your flag of love and reconciliation, of hope and peace so that Africa’s children can enjoy freedom and be educated so that they can use the weapon you used to change the world. Education.

    Rest in Peace
    Salani Kakuhle, President Nelson Mandela.

    • Hannah du Plessis

      Wow, this is such a beautiful piece, thank you so much for writing and sharing it with us.

      "You made us think with our hearts that is bleeding blood
      Red, green, gold, white, blue, yellow and black."
      I am still in awe of the miracle that took place and I'm determined to help nurture this inclusive and equal world into reality.

      Keep well and warm, my sister from S.Africa.

      May you find a warm place in the US to say goodbye - even when you're far from home.

    • Kristin Pedemonti

      Beautiful thoughtful and heart-felt poem, thank you for sharing it!

  • Kristin Pedemonti

    thank you for sharing your perspective as a white South African. Nelson Mandela is an amazing bright light and even with his passing, his light will shine on and Illuminate the way the world Can be when we see the heart of the human being in front of us. I was in college at the time of end of apartheid.and I remember we did a theatrical presentation in which half the groups was white and half was African-American; it was one of the most powerful pieces I've ever had the honor of performing in. As a Cause-Focused Storyteller I now focus on sharing stories of understanding, hope and building bridges between peoples. Our stories are a powerful way to connect to one to another across man-made boundaries. Thank you again for sharing yours!

    • Hannah du Plessis

      Love that: "Cause-Focused Storyteller". It's our stories, nor reality, that keep us small. We need to tell new stories to one another, helping us hatch into the spacious future that awaits us. Thank you!

      • Kristin Pedemonti

        agreed! Let us hatch into the spacious future that awaits with NEW Stories of Compassion & Understanding!

  • Haydee Izaguirre

    Thank you for sharing! It is so important to highlight that one person can make a difference and like you said that we all have the capacity and ability to change our surroundings, we can all be the change we want to see!

  • Spoken Media

    This is such a beautiful message. I wonder if you would be willing to be recorded speaking some of those thoughts over images.

  • Shubham Gupta

    really inspirational.
    Nelson Mandela was the man who gave all his life for the people of Africa.

  • ClairevR

    The first democratic election in SA was the first time I, also a white Afrikaaner, was able to legally (aged 18) vote. I agree with the sense of confusion, fear, but also the elation at the prospect of change that filled that time. Like you Hanna, I am also immensely grateful about his leadership and human quality.
    It is interesting to wonder what a world, where people believe in their own and other's inherent goodness, might be like.
    See this article in Huffington Post for inspiration:

    I feel hopeful for the future of SA, in fact, I almost find it quizzical that people think there might be an up flare of unrest in South Africa due to the death of Mandela.

    Feel saddened that other great leader, the Dalai Lama, will not be granted a visa to go to the memorial service for Nelson Mandela. Shows just how many red tape ties up our good intentions...

    • Hannah du Plessis

      Hello Claire! Thank you for your thoughts and the wonderful article - I loved reading it. I believe that changing our inner stance is the first and most powerful step we can take towards a more whole world. We've learned that at Tata's feet ;-) I share your sentiment about red tape.

  • Carolyn Strauss

    I think the most powerful is to include BOTH images, side by side. Thank you for sharing this :)

  • jbefumo

    His most important lesson is that while passive resistance is preferable, when faced with an oppressor who recognizes and respects humanity, that will never worke against, say, the Nazis? Genghis Kahn? A CIA Drone attack? Even Jesus knew that there was a time to pick up the whip and drive the evildoers out of the temple. This is why liberals should support and embrace the 2nd Amendment, because it WILL come down to this, make no mistake!

  • Hannah du Plessis

    Hi Eileen, the conversation disappeared, but I received your post via email. Thanks so much for you for thoughtful reply!

  • Carolyn Strauss

    In the GOOD email that led me to this full post, the image accompanying the text was different. There, the hearts of the two individuals are visible, and the one on the left is seeing the whole person on the right. It's a beautiful image that speaks to the heart-centered-ness and higher truth that Mandela carried and advocated for. Why is the image different here?

    • Hannah du Plessis

      Ah, because of my learning curve to trust myself. The first red image came as a direct response to what I wrote. The second blue one as something neater and more blog-appropriate. Word has it that the image will change back. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • Hawaii Cupcake Factory

    As I read this post I teared up then I smiled as I too have a friend from South Africa who is white & she speaks of this time. Like you she was in that community but quoting Mandela "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." and so it was done for you and many others like you and with hope we look to the future that it continues to change. Now my girlfriend lives here in America and when ask her race she checks African-American, we both laugh every time she does this, she gets some of the weirdest looks from people and then she has to explain (hope you all enjoy the sense of humor here). Like Nelson I truly believe it is not the color of our skin that defines us, or who we become or what we achieve. Thank You for such a beautiful piece.

    • Hannah du Plessis

      Smile, yes, the things that keep us away from living connected and loving lives are so trivial! I enjoy the African-American story. Should I become a resident here, I'll do the same!

  • _BG_

    Great post, really honors and personalizes Mandela through all of the feelings that someone that rare and visionary inevitably conjures within us.

  • Casey Caplowe

    Really beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing it here.

  • Hillary Newman

    What an insightful piece, Hannah. I'd love to know more what it was like to be in South Africa when Nelson Mandela became president. Do you remember distinct moments?

    • Hannah du Plessis

      Hi Hillary, the time of his election was a blur for me. Our isolated white community was fearful and that was the dominant emotion I felt - fear and then relief. What I clearly remember was the one-year celebration after his election. I was dancing and singing (toi-toi-) with a group of mostly black students in the streets of the capital city and I could viscerally feel that our world had changed.

  • ashirbadami

    "After this life journey and long sickness, the only thing I want for him is to let go and disappear into whatever stillness and kindness the rest of the world beyond ours has to offer." Yes. Free forever, Madiba.

  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    What a wonderful way to sum up of your feelings about Nelson Mandela. Thank you for sharing this. It's nice to see the South African perspective. Wondering what the future will be like for South Africa now? Are you afraid at all?

    • Hannah du Plessis

      It depends where I look weather I feel afraid or hopeful. When I look at the incredible inequality and how, for so many people I know, that is just "the way things are" - I worry about our future. Yet, I also see pockets of unlikely collaboration giving me more hope that things will change.

      • Alessandra Rizzotti

        It's good to be hopeful vs. worrying about the future. It's now up to changemakers to take charge and keep the momentum going. Would love to know more about the unlikely collaboration you mention.

        • Hannah du Plessis

          Hmmmm. Yes! Will want to write about it soon! Reos partners are my current favorite for knitting the social fabric together. They've done some great work in SA too.