Every time I hear that you have been taken to hospital, I have the same reaction. My chest gets heavy, my throat tightens, my feet drag. I literally have to swallow to be able to lighten my chest and clear my throat. I keep up late at night.. swaying between concern and worry, and praying through all of that.
I panic when the news is all over on the media. I try not to read them, but something inexorably draws me to every line, every image, every comment. This time, it is an infection, and President Zuma, originally says it is « nothing to worry about » . He says you will be okay.
But I cannot but ask myself.. How much more time.. for how long am I going to have you.. ? Against all reason and logic, I prefer to convince myself that you will be around for me, for my children and the children of my children. I dont ever want to think of the day when the fading sparkle will cease. I prefer to dream, I prefer to pray, I prefer to hope.. even when hope begins to go down like the setting sun
But my thinking part of the brain has been cautioning me lately, telling me this great truth :
Madiba is not eternal . Your loved one wont live forever..
Madiba, in my quiet corner, I prayed to God for you. I prayed when you were in prison. Though a yonger person then, I prayed to God for « this innocent man who is fighting for the freedom of his people ». I watched all possible media on the day you were released and danced on the streets like many other Africans. I do recall, that on the day you « took that walk », I offered a singular prayer :
« Dear Lord, please give him full 70 years, and an additional 27 years, to make up for the years he spent in prison »
I do not know if the Lord will answer « yes » to 27, but he has added 24 to the 70. I am grateful.
I am grateful that you came through Robben Island. I am grateful that you came through Robben alive. I am grateful that you had those prison years to think about the kind of leader you wanted to be, the kind of message you wanted to give to South Africa, to Africa and to the world. I am thankful to God. I am also thankful to you. Thank you for standing up tall, for preaching forgiveness instead of vengeance, for embracing and not pushing, for uniting instead of dividing, for building instead of destroying.
Most of all, thank you for leaving the presidential throne after just one term.
By willingly stepping aside from the power stool, you rose higher than presidency, you rose to a symbol, a brand. You rose from being just a South African freedom fighter to a world citizen, in fact, the greatest brand alive, greater than Coca Cola.
Madiba, I have some images of you that I have stored in the indelible part of my mind. Very few people make it to that place of my heart.. because once you make it there, you remain there. One image is that of you and Winnie.. taking that walk.. to liberty. I will cherish that one. The other one was when you were elected president and you spoke to South Africans, to Africa, to all humanity. But the image that I have tagged as « My Madiba » is of you in that cart, waving to the world.. on the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup 2010. You had risen over the death of your grandchild the night before and stepped out..
You stepped out in the Spirit of Sports, You stepped out in the Spirit of Umoja, You stepped out for Humanity.. I will forever be grateful for that.
Madiba, I keep praying that you will « last forever » but I know will not. So before the sparkle that is fading will shine no more, I want to let you know that :
You have been my inspiration
You have risen above so many difficulties to shine as a star
You will remain an icon, an unequaled brand for me, for many of us, for us humanity
Many more of you will rise after your sun sets
I love you, I cherish you.. and forever will.
Thank you, Madiba, thank you, my loved one, thank you, my loved ones..