It's the 11 February 1990,I'm in Mmabatho the capitalof Bophutatswana . The streets are empty outside.We are Sitting on the floor of my aunts cold tile floor in the area called white city ,unit 8. My mom,aunt and my cousins are surrounding me as we watch Mandela walk out of prison.Everyone says its a big event,I'm 10 years old and I can sense it's important but how important I didnt know back then
That in a couple of years as a result of this day and the days preceedingit,Bop would be no more,that we would soon support a bunch of soccer stars that the press would later call Bafana bafana,that my uincle who hated anything todo with "boers"will be number one supporter forthe springboks,that a couple of days before my birthday Mandela would be a president of a unified |South Africa.That 20 years later I would be wishing that I had watched the entire inaugration or payed more attention to the TRC broadcast and the CODESSA talks.
But I was a kid back then, thanks to Madiba and other people who fought for a free and democratic South Africa.Today I sit in Newtown and type this and think how blessed we are to have lived in a generation that saw the fruits of freedom.A generation that saw Madiba walk out of prison,that saw OR and Sisulu as old men,that layed to rest Slovo and shed tears for Hani.A generation that is inspired by a man who was seen as hot head in his youth who grew old to be an elder statesman who works as a benchmark for what a true South African leader can be.A man who saw a dream come true unlike Martin Luther King Jnr. nor Steve Biko,Solomon Mahlangu,Tseitsi Mashinini and many others who watered the freedom tree with their blood.Tata carried their dreams into the union building.
As I look back at those faint memories of 1990 11,I feel proud to be South African and more over to be a country man of such a visionary and father of a nation.May the ideals of non-racialism,sexism and tolerance that Madiba has personified in his life be the ideals we are willing to live by and be thankful that the days for dying for them are long gone and buried with.Lets build together in honour of our grandfather of the nation,uTata Mandela.On this day his 20th anniversary from prison.