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Our most recent family pic with only Andrew missing

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela

"Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can." This was said by John Wesley, but sums up the goal of International Mandela Day.

MandelaDay.com (here) states the following: Change was the gift given to all South Africans by Nelson Mandela. Now it's YOUR turn. In the spirit of Madiba and his vision to spread justice and freedom for all, this is your chance to step up to the plate and become a part of a continuous global movement for good. By becoming a Mandela Day Changemaker you can show that actions speak louder than words by giving a little of your time to make a change that's close to your heart. (or by giving a little of your time to make a difference to the life of someone less fortunate.)

I think each of us (or is that each of we....where is my English teacher when I need her?) South Africans has our unique "Mandela story".....my first real "Mandela experience" was on arriving for my first year of dental studies at Wits University (Johannesburg) in 1978 (18 months after the June 16 Uprising) and being confronted with the Free Mandela Campaign. I am ashamed to say my allegiances were more with the Free Beer Campaign, but, I realise now..........something did begin to change in the Free State boytjie who arrived at Wits that year.

I remember just where I was when I heard of Nelson Mandela's planned release (I was just up the road from my dental practice in Pietermaritzburg, and I remember thinking....even though you want to, this isn't the  safest place to celebrate by jumping out the car and shouting Hooray! Pmburg did not respond that well to the news of Mandela's release).

I remember queuing to vote in our first democratic elections just 4 weeks after going into my first appointment as minister and thinking...a new life for our country and a new life for me.

The closest I have yet been to Madiba (other than driving past his home in Houghton) was when he was the guest opening speaker at the Methodist Conference at which I was ordained in 1998 in Durban. Our Presiding Bishop, Mvume Dandala, also presided over the marriage of Madiba to Graca Machel on the Saturday before our ordination service on the Sunday.

Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela and thank you for what you have allowed our LORD to do through you.

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