I paused to praise a man in the twilight of life. One brave enough to fight for his brethren, sacrifice 27 years of his life in a small dingy cell on an island that seems a lifetime away from everything one loves, and one who rose to exultation in 1994 to become president of the very people he was shackled for defending. AMANDLA!
Mandela, there are few like you past and present, that have ever walked the earth. A man who could stare down fear and hate, and survive! There are no words that could truly do you justice. As you prepare to leave this place, as you prepare to lock in the embrace of the heavens and continue your great work in the Angelic realms, just know that I, that we, are grateful that you walked amongst us. I would like to thank your children, your wives, and your close friends, for their hardships and sacrifices as well. I would like to thank them for lending you to us, for supporting you, and helping you to become the hero that you are.
Mandela, my eyes widened with wonder when you were released from prison on February 11, 1990. I sat on the chest in my grandmothers room and asked, "Who is this man? Why is everyone sooo happy?" I was seven years old. Henceforth, I read all of the articles and watched all of the news reports about the horrors of apartheid and your hero's journey. 20 years later, I had the opportunity to visit South Africa, to understand what Hell apartheid was, to see the ineffable poverty, and to bear witness to the journey of healing that South Africa still must travel. Again, to what you have given, there are truly no words.
Mandela, you are about to join Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Marcus Garvey, Medgar Evers, and so many other freedom fighters, my God, what good company you are in! I cannot wait to see what amazing work you do from the heavens! I'm just glad that I was able to see your amazing work in my lifetime. Thank you Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, you are appreciated. AMANDLA!