After months of lingering between life and death, Nelson Mandela finally was able to move on and I hope for him, that his last hours were more dignified than what was seen on TV when Jacob Zuma visited him last year at home.
We are now tempted to declare him a saint immediately – even if he was not Catholic – but I think, that Nelson Mandela’s greatness was a result of him being a human being like everybody else: with errors, tempers and mistakes. But with a determination to be truthful to himself and the cause he was following. And this made him an extra-ordinary person: to stay an original and to refuse being made a copy or formed by all the high expectations or fears, others would put on him.
Being truthful to oneself creates an aura one can sense – I call myself lucky to be one of those having met him personally and being able to talk to him I could sense this aura: Here was somebody who knew exactly who he was and he lived his charisma and potential to the fullest. He impressed me and this feeling is continuing and part of my life. Sometimes a short encounter can have an imprint on your life.
Nelson Mandela stands for forgiveness, reconciliation, sacrifice, determination, tolerance remaining a humble human being. Let’s hope that the nation wakes up to his call for a common future of all in the new South Africa, and that the lip service our politicians pay today towards honesty and accountability on the way to reconciliation and a rainbow nation embedded in peace and justice for all will be transformed through his death into a real service.
As Catholics we believe in the community of the living and the death – so he will continue to watch over our nation. Let us make him proud.