Monday, December 16, 2013

True Tales of Gumption - Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, Madiba of South Africa

Yesterday, the late president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, was laid to rest. I thought it only fitting to feature him as this week's true tale of gumption.

There is so much that I could try to say; so much that has already been said, about this incredible man who is one of the truest examples of gumption in history. Living in South Africa for three years makes his passing far more meaningful and emotional for me, than it probably ever would have been otherwise. He is an inspiring man who I still need to learn so much more about and from.

Rather than try to write something profound, I want to share a few things that, to me, display Mandela's triumphant gumption and that inspire me to live a courageous life. The below clip is from 1999. The artist is Johnny Clegg, who I have seen in concert a couple of times - which is a true South African experience. I love this video. I feel like I know Mandela a little more after watching it - his spirit, his joy, his contentment. I hope you enjoy it and feel that too.

Almost a week ago, on Tuesday, 10 December, the entire country of South Africa held a memorial service for Madiba. (Madiba means "father"; Mandela is the father of South Africa.) There was one main location, FNB Stadium in Soweto, which I am sure you either watched or saw clips or pictures from. Almost 100 dignitaries came from all over the world to honor Madiba. But many other stadiums around the country, from Johannesburg to Cape Town to Durban, participated as well by watching the memorial being held in Soweto and having there own tributes with song, dance, and words of remembrance.

On that day, my husband and I went to the Nelson Mandela Square which is just a few minutes from where we live. We had planned to watch the memorial there but the rain was relentless that day, so we watched some from home. The weather was extremely unusual for this time of year, but as the rain only got heavier and heavier as the day went on, it seemed quite appropriate as the whole nation mourned.

Have you read Mandela's book, Long Walk to Freedom? Or seen the new film, "Mandela", based on A Long Walk to Freedom? I have to confess: I have never finished Long Walk to Freedom. I feel a bit embarrassed now that I haven't, but more motivated to, after learning so much more about this incredible man in the past couple weeks. Husband and I went and saw the film yesterday - go see it. It is moving, inspiring, and challenging. I always knew Mandela advocated a peaceful and equal end to apartheid, but I had no idea how much that went against what so many people - especially black South Africans - wanted. Madiba is truly one of the greatest examples of gumption in my life.

And one last bit of wisdom from Madiba that sums up what I hope you often find, gumption and a full life, by coming back here to read:


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