After all the ceremonies and news reports, this post about the death of Nelson Mandela by a South African blogger gave me the best sense of what it meant to his nation. Perhaps, having lived overseas for years myself, I was more interested in how it felt to those closest to the situation. Thank you Mandy Collins for this beautiful tribute.
It’s been an upside-down week, a week where the school holidays began and Nelson Mandela’s life ended. The contrast between the mundane and the momentous this week has been almost more than I can process.
South Africa has celebrated in its own idiosyncratic way; as I write this I’m watching Ladysmith Black Mambazo deliver their acapella alchemy at the Cape Town memorial concert for Madiba, but the Cape Town concert follows a mostly farcical official memorial service, featuring booing crowds, presidential selfies and a fake official sign language interpreter.
I found it all frustrating at first, but I’ve had some time to think, and tonight I view it all with a smile, because it’s all so typically South African. Sometimes we are the very epitome of that apocryphal Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.”
Life in South Africa is many things, but it is never, ever dull.
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