Entire country adjusts
to future without ‘Mandiba’
Here is the story currently on the BBC News website.
FOR AN ENTIRE COUNTRY this is a tense moment.
While the rest of the world wishes Nelson Mandela a speedy recovery, South Africans from every walk of life are trying to adjust to a future without their “father.”
Their emotions were expertly captured on the BBC America news program on Tuesday evening. (Video doesn’t seem to be available online yet.)
Mandela, who may celebrate his 93rd birthday in July, has been in intensive care in a Johannesburg hospital for four days. His prognosis is uncertain at best.
SOUTH AFRICANS ARE both grieving and coming to terms with the reality that Mandela may pass away.
According to a story currently on the BBC News web site, “So deep is the affection in South Africa for the country’s first black President, Nelson Mandela, that the thought of his passing seems incomprehensible.
“But deep down the millions who adore him know that that day is inevitable.”
The national newspaper in South Africa, the Sunday Times, currently features on its home page the headline: “It’s time to let him go.”
Indeed these are difficult times for South Africans. An entire generation has grown up knowing Mandela only as the legend. Their elders lived his story.
So much has been written about this great man that anything I could add would be redundant.
The South African newspaper The Sunday Times currently leads its web site with the headline” It’s time to let him go.”
But may I ask everyone who reads this – especially Americans who receive so little news about South Africa (the story was on page A4 of the national edition of The New York Times this morning) – to reflect today with compassion for the 50 million South Africans who are in a major transition moment.
As an ex-patriot with a soft spot in my heart for my former home, I pay particular attention to South African affairs.
The country is beset by problems massive in nature. Poverty is endemic. Education below par. Housing scarce.
The government of President Jacob Zuma is doing what it can, but it too is fraught with corruption.
South Africa has Africa’s largest and most developed economy. For more than 20 years, it has been a beacon of democracy for the world.
Nelson Mandela has come to symbolize the triumph of hope over injustice.
His 27 years in prison were not in vain.
He has earned an end to his suffering and his eternal rest.