◄ by Louise Broomberg – Johannesburg, South Africa ►
By now the whole world is aware of the passing of Nelson Mandela. Here in South Africa we are immersed in a constant stream of images, stories, memories from every possible media station. In the streets and at particular sites around the country people are gathering, paying tribute and celebrating his life. There are already around 2500 international and local media personnel in the country, and during this coming week 90-100 Heads of State will arrive, with their respective entourages, security details and the like. One can’t help but be deeply moved by it all. We in South Africa are proud to claim him as our own, but in fact he belonged to the world. And as President Obama said, he now no longer belongs to us in the world: he belongs to the ages.
I do feel that while hearts across the world are open at this time, there is a portal here to amplify all that is right and true that Madiba exemplified. The words that people are using to describe him include humility, forgiveness, magnanimity, honesty, passion, kindness, selflessness, generosity of spirit, and above all love. May all of that penetrate deeply into the mass subconscious, and let heaven be known increasingly on earth as a result. I have a sense of his spirit being released into a larger arena of service.
Next month I will be going to Zimbabwe for a 10 day visit. One can’t help but compare the two leaders. After one glorious term in office Mandela stepped back with grace and dignity. Mugabe has held on to power for 30+ years, wreaking havoc in his wake. So are feelings of anger, resentment, bitterness justified? When is it ever okay to judge? I am digging deep in myself to find that place where judgement does not exist: letting things be exactly as they are in the external world. Good , bad – who knows? Adulation and condemnation are really flip sides of the same coin. My business, and the business of each one, is to tend to my own heart and mind – amplifying what is right and true and releasing what isn’t. That I believe is the greatest way to honour the likes of Mandela, and to ultimately triumph over the Mugabes of the world.