I've always been close to SA. My grandparents and aunt lived there and my Dad for a time too. I read Donald Wood's books as a teenager and felt a little of that world and more recently JM Coetzee's excellent writing. Each page giving a tiny, embarrassing peek into the foreignness of that system.
I'll never truly understand South Africa before 1990 but what I do know is that it could have been a bloodbath after. People, disenfranchised for so long by a white minority, could have so easily (and you might say understandably) risen up and taken what they had been forced to go without ... But they didn't. Incredibly. Against the odds. All because of one man.
Nelson Mandela ... a fighter, classified as a terrorist, hidden away for so long preached only of unity under a new flag, a new anthem and a new way. The nation held it's breath then and still holds it's breath.
Though the ANC has not delivered all they promised, and there are of course many ills in SA that must be addressed, the fact that SA has moved on from it's harsh past in such a short period of time is a testament to the power of faith in someone not of god or money, but of true power.
He was an old man, old men die. His legacy will either be to keep uniting people, or to be tarnished by infighting and widening inequality in his name.
Time will tell but for now dear Madiba, rest in peace.