It always seems impossible until it’s done
Thousands even billions of people stop today and look to Africa as they remember the emancipation soldier, the freedom fighter, the leader who passed away last friday. As the Mandela family mourn the loss of a great father, and daily member, leaders and all those who honoured and loved Nelson Mandela get together to celebrate and remember the legacy he leaves behind.
On Friday 6th December the Mandela family was told by the family doctor that their father was drifting from them, and in that time so many whom had been lucky to speak and be graced by his presence got together to see him in final moments. His daughter reflects over Nelsons Last moments:
He said: “My skin can’t change colour.” He was ill already – I don’t think he knew he was so ill – and just a week or so later he took very ill. Yet he wasn’t depressed at all. He was very jovial and wanted to know about the children and what they’re doing and about other members of the family. He was his usual talkative self. We couldn’t talk politics. There were these policemen sitting very close to us, listening to every word. We kept to the family situation. – The Guardian
Today, the event of a year begins a celebration bigger than any other. The Memorial of one mans live bringing together an unprecedented number of dignitaries, who will commemorate the anti-apartheid icon alongside at least 80,000 South Africans who have queued since before dawn to secure a seat. Due to the masses of people coming to the event it delayed as upon; thousands and thousands of people whom had travelled to the event on free buses in bad weather streamed into the arena after the planned 9am start time. Even as the heavens opened, people battled the weather as nothing was going to stop the memorial from accruing. Those who came sang and danced inside and outside the stadium, with one woman telling Sky News the downpour is a “shower of blessing” for Mr Mandela. The event got underway with a rousing rendition of South Africa’s national anthem before programme director Cyril Ramaphosa, the ANC’s deputy president, declared: “Long live the spirit of Nelson Mandela.”
In addition to Obama, former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton will attend. More than two dozen U.S. lawmakers also plan to go. Other guests include the Prince of Wales, British Prime Minister David Cameron and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who will also speak, as well as celebrities such as Bono, Oprah Winfrey and Naomi Campbell.
Nelson Mandela started his final journey today as his body was taken from his home in a coffin draped in the South African flag he loved so ardently as it was announced his funeral will be on Sunday, December 15. Before then, from December 11 to 13, the anti-apartheid hero’s body will lie in state in a glass-topped coffin at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, where he was inaugurated as president on May 10, 1994. It will mark three of the ten days officially assigned as a mourning period for ‘Madiba’ or ‘Tata’ as he was devotedly called, ahead of what is expected to be the one of the biggest funerals in history. Mourners have gathered to dance and sing songs of freedom outside his home as the world celebrates the life of the adored statesman who brought peace and equality to his country and died last night aged 95. He passed away at home in Johannesburg at 8.50pm yesterday and his body was moved to a military hospital in Pretoria this morning, where he is under armed guard. Imprisoned for 27 years before becoming South Africa’s first black president, his courage in the face of persecution made him the most potent symbol of the struggle against apartheid, and an inspiration to millions in his country and billions beyond. His close friend, retired archbishop Desmond Tutu, said today Mandela would want South Africans to be his ‘memorial’ by cherishing his values of ‘unity and democracy’, and his closing words at a Cape Town church service were: ‘God, thank you for the gift of Madiba’.A world mourns his passing: Nelson Mandela, whose courage in the face of persecution made him the most potent symbol of the struggle against apartheid and inspired millions in his own country and around the world, died last night aged 95 – Daily Mail