Madiba’s birthday

The Worldwide Photo Walk happened to coincide with Mandela’s 91st birthday, which was being celebrated, amidst much hype, with a humungous supercharged concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York, of all places.

Actually, I feel a little irritated by the fact that the Yanks have taken over OUR Madiba.

OK, I guess we did have celebrations in South Africa too (http://www.46664.com). And the 18th of July is now known as Mandela Day.

“To celebrate the occasion, the Nelson Mandela Foundation has called on the public to honor his 67-year career in serving the country by devoting 67 minutes to charitable causes.”

“Mandela Day celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world, the ability to make an imprint.”

I think this is a great idea – and I hope it will inspire people to do such charitable acts throughout the year, rather than limiting this to a single day. It’s only by sustaining such levels of compassionate helping of those who are less fortunate that we can ‘transform the world’. One day a year just ain’t gonna do it.

I also do understand that the Father of our Nation is such an icon of wisdom and compassion that he cannot be claimed by one small country alone, and that it’s actually a GOOD thing if the rest of the world loves and admires him as much as we do, because his message of tolerance, peace and kindness towards our fellow human beings is truly a universal one.

But still.

I must insist that he IS ours. So, hands off!

Give the poor man some well-deserved rest so that he can sit in the warm glow of the African sun, by the side of his loving wife, surrounded by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren and telling them stories of his life and adventures.

If he was my grandfather, I would want to spend every possible moment with him, listening to his stories, learning from him, absorbing his wisdom, and making him laugh and smile.

After all, who knows how many more years, months, weeks, we will be blessed by his presence?

God bless you, Madiba. May your spirit be with us for ever.

6 thoughts on “Madiba’s birthday

    • I know, I feel like that too. I would love to hear him tell stories…

      Did you know that there is a book called “Madiba Magic”, which is a collection of “Madiba’s favourite stories for the children of Africa, brought together in a huge thick book full of beautiful pictures – a feast for the eyes! Here are 32 stories that come from Southern Africa and the rest of Africa – South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Zambia, Tanzania, Malawi, Kenya, Nigeria and Morocco.”

      I have bought a few copies of the years, and have always given them away to friends with children. But the next copy I buy, I am keeping for myself. 🙂

      And I read just now that an AUDIO-book has been released this month, called “Nelson Mandela’s Favourite African Folktales”, which has the same cover. I just wonder whether it contains the same stories too. The stories are read by well-known actors, including Alan Rickman, Gillian Anderson, Hugh Jackman, Matt Damon, Charlize Theron, etc… On the official website, there are a couple of soundclips from the CD. Can you imagine the magic of listening to these at night, tucked up in bed, with the winter rains rattling against the windows and the wind howling? Ahhh…..

  1. That sounds wonderful, Reggie. You must definitely keep the next copy of Madiba Magic for yourself. The child in you obviously longs to linger through its pages. 🙂

    • I’ve always thought it’s a term that expresses love and respect for him. Have a look at this site, where all his names are listed and described. I didn’t know some of them. It’s fascinating!

      Just in case the website disappears, I’ll copy and paste the text in here:

      “Mr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela is sometimes called by other names. Each name has its own special meaning and story. When you use them you should know what you are saying and why. So here is a brief explanation of each name.

      Rolihlahla – This is Mr Mandela’s birth name: it is an isiXhosa name which means “pulling the branch of a tree”, but colloquially it means “troublemaker”. His father gave him this name.

      Nelson – This name was given to him on his first day at school by his teacher, Miss Mdingane. Giving African children English names was a custom among Africans in those days and was influenced by British colonials who could not easily, and often would not, pronounce African names. It is unclear why Miss Mdingane chose the name “Nelson” for Mr Mandela.

      Madiba – This is the name of the clan of which Mr Mandela is a member. A clan name is much more important than a surname as it refers to the ancestor from which a person is descended. Madiba was the name of a Thembu chief who ruled in the Transkei in the 18th century. It is considered very polite to use someone’s clan name.

      Tata – This isiXhosa word means “father” and is a term of endearment that many South Africans use for Mr Mandela. Since he is a father figure to many, they call him Tata regardless of their own age.

      Khulu – Mr Mandela is often called “Khulu”, which means great, paramount, grand. The speaker means “Great One” when referring to Mr Mandela in this way. It is also a shortened form of the isiXhosa word “uBawomkhulu” for “grandfather”.

      Dalibhunga – This is the name Mr Mandela was given at the age of 16 once he had undergone initiation, the traditional Xhosa rite of passage into manhood. It means “creator or founder of the council” or “convenor of the dialogue”. The correct use of this name when greeting Mr Mandela is “Aaah! Dalibhunga”.”

      Lovely, isn’t it? Now I’ve learned something too. 🙂

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