Day 14: Madiba

mandela in prison

mandela in prison

I’m not even sure if anyone, other than my husband, is reading this project I have been posting but I do want to stay on top of the writing. Lately, I keep falling a day (or two) behind. But no one seems to mind, I guess.

So the other night Matt said that I should get out of the house for a bit because I was pretty fried on small children by the time he got home. That was just one thing to be thankful for. But as I went out with my book, A Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela, I was really moved by the chapters he had spent in prison. Thirty years, man! That makes my season of raising small children and the anxiousness for living other parts of my life seem like such a booger in comparison to thirty years where his freedom was totally taken away.

Anyway, he is, by far, one of my favorite and most inspiring individuals. I was able to see him while in Amsterdam for an outreach in 1999. He came to visit the queen and, totally by accident, I stumbled upon the ceremony which was held in one of the public squares. I really didn’t know about him back then and as I walked through town where the massive crowd gathered I asked what all the fuss was about? “Mandela is here” someone said. “Oh, right. That Nelson Mandela guy” I said, a bit unaffected.

I am still surprised by the  knowledge in world affairs that I did not possess during my teenage years or even my early twenties. I knew he was one of the public figures who had led the struggle for freedom in SA but until my husband and I went to study in SA in 2005 I wasn’t really aware of the gravity that this man’s life brought with his appearance in Holland that day. 1999 was just a few years out of the apartheid emancipation so the situation in SA was still pretty fresh.

Fortunately for me I ended up watching the entire ceremony but it really didn’t effect me much, in sad honesty. But while I was reading this book the other night for my Tracie-date I remembered that I have actually seen this man up close. I’ve looked at the person who had gone through so much adversity, to say the least, in his labor for the freedom of his people. I’m super thankful that I stumbled upon the crowd that day and that I lived to see a liberated South Africa. Sounds really silly that this is what I’m thankful for. Maybe it just sounds intense and altruistic. I am more writing that I saw a person that I now admire when, back then, I would never had thought of him as any sort of hero. It’s funny what comes into our lives when we least expect it.

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