After 10 days filled with honors and mourning, former South African president and anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela was laid to rest with world dignitaries from around the globe in attendance. On Sunday, Dec. 15 Nelson Mandela returned to his South African home village of Qunu for a final day of mourning and burial. Among the mourners in the private ceremony was Oprah Winfrey and Jesse Jackson of the United States, Prince Charles and Richard Branson from Great Britain, according to ABC News Sunday, Dec 15.
The Times Live reported that the funeral of the former president and Nobel Peace Prize recipient was “painful to watch,” according to Matuna Matuna, another resident of Mandela's home village. Matuna said that for him, “It brought back memories of all the things he [Mandela] did. The man fought for us. We are free, thanks to him.” Many of us in America feel exactly the same as Matuna; his words echo our sincere sentiments, here.
Tuesday, Dec. 10 the world came together to mourn, and in honor of, Mandela — affectionately called Madiba, also the name of the clan into which the fighter for civil rights was born on July 18, 1918 in Mvezo, Transkei, South Africa. From nations across the globe, a diverse collection of world leaders joined South African citizens to gather at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg, South Africa. The Huffington Post listed President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and George H. Bush and former first ladies Hillary Clinton (also former U.S. Secretary of State, Obama Administration) and Laura Bush, retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South African President Jacob Zuma, Nelson Mandela's former wife, Winnie, and widow, Graca Machel along with many other world leaders from France, Colombia, Cuba, Brazil, Spain, and Great Britain in attendance at the memorial to honor and celebrate the life of the man who united a nation once torn by apartheid.
Sadly, while most everyone acknowledged the sacrifice and accomplishments of this great man, some disparaged his place in history. Even sadder, too many of those ill-wishers and mean-spirited individuals were from America. They maligned our president for praising Nelson Mandela and reminding us of his rightful place in history. Some, on social media sites in the U.S., even went so far as to attempt to compare Mandela's worth as an international hero with that of Paul Walker. Walker, an actor who did limited notable good deeds benefiting, in number and severity, far less than those affected by the immense humanitarian efforts of the former South African president, received his due recognition, and more.
In remembrance of the man that Mandela was and in gratitude for the legacy born from his unselfish works to ensure justice and freedom to the people of his country and to those around the world, this admonition. To those who believe Nelson Mandela unworthy of the honor and praise given him, you are overdue for a visit to your public library. A little heavier reading list is in order for the sake your own enlightenment.