Nelson Mandela death: South Africa and world mourn

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela (Photo credit: Festival Karsh Ottawa)

There can only be one headline today, the death of Nelson Mandela.  Not unexpected but nevertheless the end of an era of a man who never doubted that change was possible in South Africa.


Nelson Mandela,
African knight,
your nightfall has come.
You fought for the rights of your people,
for the end of apartheid.
You never lost sight of that end,
though your fight was cut short
by the might of oppression.
‘Incitement’ they said,
that white might that governed through fear,
the goading spear of the Sharpeville blight.
Your phosphorus light was coffered on Robben Island
but your plight
and the plight of your people echoed clarion clear
and the caging of light conjured
a beacon for right.
Twenty-seven years they shackled you tight
but they were in fright of being in flight
their fight was lost,
defeat the cost of the rite of repression.
Remember the sight of freedom,
the bite of justice in the air,
that last day of the long walk from the depths of despair
to the height of new hope for your country.
Unleashed you released the kite of freedom.
Now, December the fifth twenty-thirteen,
your light is doused,
Nelson Mandela,
African black white-knight. 
5th December 2013 – headline from the  BBC

Notes:  “Nelson Mandela death: South Africa and world mourn.”  South Africans have gathered in Johannesburg and Soweto to mourn their former leader, Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday aged 95.  Crowds have been paying tribute, dancing and singing in front of Mr Mandela’s former home in Soweto.  He is to be accorded a state funeral on Sunday 15 December, President Jacob Zuma announced.  Mr Mandela spent 27 years in jail before becoming South Africa’s first black president in 1994.  His administration replaced the racist white-minority regime that had enforced segregation of black and white people in a policy known as apartheid.  Mr Mandela went on to become one of the world’s most respected statesmen.

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