So, every local blogger is writing about what happened last night. Most have the most profound words to say and they say them beautifully.
I need to write down what happened to me and us today, for my kids… for their memories… so they can come and find this in years to come and hopefully it’ll trigger a memory.
We woke up to the news. I saw the tweets. I turned on the radio and listened for a minute before Connor came bounding up the stairs and jumped on our bed. We told him that Madiba died, that why we were sad.
He said “Oh”
He ran downstairs to tell Bradley. After letting the dogs inside, I went to Bradley’s room… he was face down on his bed… not sure… maybe contemplating what Connor told him? Who knows. Bradley had been watching Twitter on my phone last night while he sat next to me on the couch, and at the time there was speculation about movement at Mandela’s home. We discussed whether Mandela had died, and decided that they would tell us when he had in fact passed away… so I’m sure he was thinking about our discussion. They both got big hugs.
I watched the news with the kids while we ate breakfast. We watched the tributes coming in from around the world.
It strange though, I think it only hit home properly when Beauty arrived. We started chatting about how we felt about the news. I said that we were lucky to have lived through what we have.
Beauty and I are the same age, our birthdays are in the same month. She has had a very different path in life to me though. She didn’t finish school. I did.
I was in varsity when Mandela was released from prison. She was a young mother.
We were very young adults then. We lived our childhoods through apartheid, and we’ve lived our whole adult life through the “free” era. I was at varsity during marches and strikes and all sorts of political upheaval. I was at Wits when there were tear gas incidents, and one day Tokyo Sexwale came to calm the situation down… I was there when that happened, I was in the crowd that day.
If it not for what happened then, I wouldn’t have the friends I have, I wouldn’t met the people I did… and my kids would not have the life they have right now.
Anyway, after chatting to Beauty a little about what we’d lived through, I noticed the change in Bradley. He’d been listening to what we said, and he was now interested in the news. I’m hoping he carried on watching the news channel for a while after I left home to go to work.
I didn’t go to any memorial spots today. Instead, at work, we had a short memorial… all 3000 staff crammed into the auditorium to pay our tributes to the man. All the offices around the world joined by VC. We also had candles burning in every office.
I probably should’ve made an effort to get to Vilakazi street or Houghton or Mandela Square… but to be honest I wanted to do that with the boys, not alone. I did see a few photographers on Facebook asking for people to go there to get photos of the crowd for agencies wanting photos… for the first time in a long time, that didn’t appeal to me. I think we’ll make a trip on Sunday morning… I want them to experience it. They will be learning about it in the next few years at school, it will mean so much more for them to have first hand memories.
May he rest in peace…