I Still Remember … Mr. Mandela

Posted in Africa| South Africa
My first steps on African soil were in the country of South Africa.

I still remember landing in Johannesburg.

I still remember visiting Soweto.

I still remember visiting Nelson’s Mandela’s home and then bumping into Winnie Mandela just outside as we were preparing to leave.

I still remember visiting Robben Island and thinking how cold and stark it felt even in the middle of summer…and wondering how a prisoner could have survived there. Not only survived but also maintained hope and strength.

I still remember worrying that I would feel the constant weight of racism on my shoulders when I got to South Africa, but instead feeling welcome and happy to be in such a rich, vibrant country.

I still remember thinking that so much of what I was experiencing during my 6 weeks in South Africa was made possible by this man, Nelson Mandela

But before all that I remember being a high school girl, who had never before left her home country, sitting on her bed in Pittsburgh and watching on television as Mr. Mandela was released from prison. I remember feeling an odd mix of joyful pride that he had been freed, and worry and sadness that a policy like apartheid was still very present in a place just half a globe spin away.

Today as I mourn, Mr. Mandela’s passing, I also remember a soul that never gave up, that believed in goodness and that inspired a generation.

I still remember…  


4 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • Jennifer Anderson December 6, 2013, 12:41 pm

    Nicely written. I have these same memories of my trip to South Africa.

    • Nailah December 17, 2013, 5:02 pm

      Thanks so much, Jen! What a difference travel has made in both of our lives.

  • Vincent Quek December 8, 2013, 5:22 pm

    What a lovely post, Nailah. Enjoyed that thoroughly. We’ll all miss Madiba. By the way, I too still remember tuning in live to the BBC World Service all those years back to listen in to the moment they released the great man from prison.
    My blog: http://www.vincequek.com

    • Nailah December 17, 2013, 5:04 pm

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment, Vincent. That was truly a global event when Mandela was released from prison.

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge