Friday 6 December 2013

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela 1918 - 2013

Nelson Mandela (Tata Madiba) outside St Matthews Church, Hobson St, Auckland, New Zealand, during CHOGM, in 1995. Photo by John Miller.
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
1918 - 2013
Anti-Apartheid Revolutionary
Father of Free South Africa

I Think Continually Of Those Who Were Truly Great

I think continually of those who were truly great.
Who, from the womb, remembered the soul’s history
Through corridors of light where the hours are suns
Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition
Was that their lips, still touched with fire,
Should tell of the Spirit clothed from head to foot in song.
And who hoarded from the Spring branches
The desires falling across their bodies like blossoms.

What is precious is never to forget
The essential delight of the blood drawn from ageless springs
Breaking through rocks in worlds before our earth.
Never to deny its pleasure in the morning simple light
Nor its grave evening demand for love.
Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother
With noise and fog the flowering of the spirit.

Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields
See how these names are feted by the waving grass
And by the streamers of white cloud
And whispers of wind in the listening sky.
The names of those who in their lives fought for life
Who wore at their hearts the fire’s centre.
Born of the sun they travelled a short while towards the sun,
And left the vivid air signed with their honour.

Stephen Spender

This posting is exclusive to the Bowalley Road blogsite.


Malcolm said...

Amandla Awethu

The Flying Tortoise said...

We were fortunate to be on this planet at the same time as the remarkable Nelson Mandela...

Robert Miles said...

I think of Zuma, the 14 wives, the lawless danger of streets and the fact that black and white South Africa is just as much a class divided society as it ever was.
Mandella is a master of rhetoric. Obama, every Jackson and of course Mugabe and Tamihere were eleqouent impassioned speakers. But in reality even if to a degree they mean't it, it almost never translated into effective action and management and actual social progress to a society that offers more pleasure, goods and safety. It was just wind , therapy and a collective excuse for failure and a failed philosphy of collectivist do gooding.
Most all I think most of all of that almost lost jewel of Luanda. When I was a kid in the 1960's I often used to wonder about those photos in the National Geographics of that gleaming ultra modern metropolis, and wonder how such an entity could exist on the coast of central black Africa. If fact it was so unlikely you even wondered if was even on earth. So think of that city of more than a million whites in the 1960s that was way more advanced than any city in Portugal and Brazil.
So after the defeat at Eden Park in the 4th Test at Eden Park in September 1965, I prayed every night that the NZ All Black mix of country bumpkins, faux intellectuals and working class hard men would get theirs at Loftus Veirfield.
To me Mandella's death, is a useful release as I will not have to bother monitoring the news for a couple of weeks, as baring extraordinary developments their will be nothing but garbage, hypocrisy and outright lies for the next two weeks of CNN, BBC, Nat Radio etc

Don Franks said...

John Minto has said it for me.

While Mr Mandela was a great leader who inspired a generation, there were many areas where as president he fell short, Mr Minto said.

"He was a great leader and he deserves the many accolades that are coming to him.

"But, I think we have to realise that the South Africa he left today is one where the black majority is no better off than they were under the old apartheid regime, economically and socially.''

Davo Stevens said...

It will take a long time for the scars of Sth Africa to heal. Perhaps many generations!

Apartheid was a British phenomenon that slowly diminished over time. In Sth. Africa they took it and raised it to an artform. Do we need to remember that the southern states of the US had a similar system until the mid sixties.

Mandela was a great man but he's now dead and it's time to move on. I, for one, am completely Mandela'd out to the point where I turn the TV off.

Victor said...

Robert Miles

Do you really think that Mandela was just a master of rhetoric?

How many additional millions would be dead from racial and tribal conflict in South Africa by now, were it not for Mandela's unique mix of charisma, integrity and negotiating skill?

Have you forgotten how things were there in the early 1990s?

As to your childhood fantasies about Luanda (of all places!), I too used to enjoy reading about faraway places in National Geographic. Then I grew up, visited some of those places and (Surprise! Surprise!) discovered that all that glistened was not gold!

Flying Tortoise

Old cynic that I am, I must nevertheless agree with you

Don Franks

Might not John Minto be overstating his case ever so slightly? It's not unheard of.

Davo Stevens said...

My comment was a bit cryptic and wasn't meant quite the way it came across. It must have been a no news week as all the talking heads waffled on in a complete inane manner on the broadcasts saying nothing that mattered really.

@Victor; "Might not John Minto be overstating his case ever so slightly? It's not unheard of." John Minto overstating his case? Oh no! Not ever would he do that! ;))

Don Franks said...

Davo and Victor, I don't agree with John Minto on everything.

In this case I think he is dead right and hardly overstating the case.

If anything, he is being diplomatic

Victor said...

Don Franks

I agree that the socio-economic circumstances of many black South Africans have not improved since the fall of Apartheid.

But the circumstances of a very large slice of the black population do seem to have improved.

I'm not arguing for "trickle down" or for complacency. I just find Minto's statement a bit too sweeping.

But I'd be willing to change my mind if presented with relevant statistical data