I remember being a youngster hearing and not understanding about Apartheid. I could understand segregation in the United States but the South Africans experienced something so brutal I couldn't rap my head around it.
Later, I remember my college classmates supporting Mandela because it was the thing to do. The concerts. The posters. The discussions in the cafeteria. It is what young people in college did at the time.
We protested. Some of us read and were informed on the issues. Most just gave our voices to let it be known that South Africa wasn't that far away from our lives. We understood.
I remember watching late night news shows that actually contained news; sometimes about Mandela.
There came a time when entertainers were asked not to perform in South Africa. Many of them did not perform at the resort. True, there were a few people that refused to to leave cash money on the table.
Some musical performers that refused to go to Sun City lost their jobs and careers. Others that went, well...yeah. They don't speak to loudly about it now do they?
And like the shock of the fall of the Berlin wall, Mandela was freed. And you figure well that is done and we move on.
Except he had more to teach and we needed to listen.
It is hard letting family go. It is hard when you hold the memory and the pleasure of knowing that good people are on the planet. There are those people that lift us up by their smile and their conviction.
It is hard letting go.
I got to give it to him; he is a straight up long distance fighter.
I envision that Death sent him a couple of memos, personal representatives and finally had to go up top side himself to persuade Mr. Mandela that he was needed elsewhere.
No, I don't think he went easy. But I hope it was peaceful.