Home > General > Madela to be laid to rest in Qunu

Madela to be laid to rest in Qunu

I love everything that Mandela stood for. The big man with a gentle heart. Mandela took the non violence concept and adapted it and made it his own. While others were raging and tempers were flaring, Mandela was calm and peaceful, insisting on forgiving the perpetrators of injustice. His response was the  key to his destiny. His response to torture and injustice is  what has made him the darling of our age. Instead of seeking retribution for those who caused him pain, he led the nation to a peaceful reconciliation. Today, although a long way of from the ideal that Mandela had dreamt of, South Africa is now in better place. As Mandela humbly says, it was the tireless effort of a lot of people who have made South Africa what it is today. Instead of taking all the credit, like the true leader that he is, he shares the glory with his counterparts.

While  many things have changed in South Africa, a lot change is still required. The traditions and lifestyle in rural South Africa have barely changed in hundreds of years. Away from the country’s glamorous cities, one could be anywhere on the continent of Africa. It is hard and crushingly poor. For these people who wash their clothes in streams and tend the land, hardly anything has altered despite the seismic political revolution here in South Africa. The shepherd boy in the village of Qunu is no different to the shepherd boy Nelson Mandela whose happiest years were spent in this village.

The home Mr Mandela built towers over those of his neighbours, but he will be buried alongside generations of his family at this, his final resting place.

Former South African president Nelson Mandela looks on as he celebrates his birthday at his house in Qunu
Mr Mandela celebrates a birthday last year at his home in Qunu

His oldest surviving friends talk of him with an almost religious reverence. To them, Nelson Mandela rises above all others.

“Nobody could do what Mandela has done for the world,” 82-year-old Kekana Geledwane, sitting outside his hut, told me.

“Madiba was friends with my father and wanted to build his house next to our old home. There is no one greater in the world.”

Next door in the village kindergarten the youngest children are taught about the life of Nelson Mandela; Qunu considers him to be one of theirs even though he was born in a village some miles away.

Nobody here can believe that Mr Mandela is dead. There is a sadness that pervades the whole community.

The Mandela community centre is testament to the small but significant improvements he brought to the village including basic running water and electricity.

The benefit of his burial in this poor rural community is that the world will see how much work still needs to be done to raise the lives of so many millions of South African’s who still live in poverty.

South Africa is by far the continent’s biggest economy but many are still to see the benefits.

The world will come of course and so will thousands of ordinary people from the Eastern Cape. They will be welcomed by the people of the village who are opening their houses to the mourners.

Some youngsters practised their “stick-fighting” skills in the shadow of their former President’s house.

It is a brutal sport in which Nelson Mandela excelled. His fighting days are over, but the tradition remains, the simplicity of his rural life remains and, like Nelson Mandela, it will never be forgotten.

The memory of this man will live forever.



Sky news

By Stuart Ramsay, Chief Correspondent

Categories: General
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