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Good luck blowing out 90 candles

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Good luck blowing out 90 candles

by Nina Harvey
17 Jul 2008
Peoples Post
Peoples Post

"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (1995).


Worldwide celebrations have taken place over the past few weeks honouring the man we know fondly as Madiba. A man the world has come to love, respect and admire.

The more I thought about it, the more I began to wonder: What is it about this old man with all the funny shirts that is so endearing?

Of course we know the history behind the man: the struggle, the sacrifice, the determination and, ultimately, the victory.

But how is it that he still manages to tug on the heartstrings of so many, including some of the very least political persons out there like me?

I believe it is not so much about the man himself or about the politics.

I believe it is about the idea that he represents. An idea that we so badly want to hold onto.

The idea that there is always hope. That there is ultimately good in everything and that at the end of every storm there will be a ray of light and possibly even a rainbow.

When I think of Madiba I don't think president, freedom fighter, activist: I think of him first and foremost as a man who is always hopeful, who always seems happy. A man who brings joy and smiles to a nation.

Another great man, Martin Luther King, once said, "I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream."

Nelson was freed from prison and he helped free a nation, but more importantly, his dream for a brighter future allowed him to free himself from hatred and bitterness.

Out of all his qualities, including his ability to forgive, to love and to learn, Madiba's greatest asset might be his ability to laugh. He seems to enjoy life and that is something that we all aspire to.

I believe that is the reason why we love Madiba and why he will long be remembered even after he is gone.

He is a South African treasure.

But then perhaps the true reason why we all love Madiba lies simply in that dance of his.

You have to admire a man who still knows how to groove at the age of 90.

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