To start with, Nelson Mandela died yesterday.  I was watching Mrs Brown’s Boys with two of the women from the bungalow when the programme was interrupted for President Zuma’s address.  I got the giggles listening because we had all just been laughing, and because it was no great shock, at his age, 95.  I saw President Obama’s address and wondered how he felt to be the one delivering it, as the first black president of the US.  It must have been an awesome moment for him.  There were a lot of moving tributes, and seeing the celebrations outside the old family home, now a museum, was very encouraging.  There are still racial tensions there and apparently some white people are afraid that now the reconciler has died revenge will start to be meted out.  I hope those fears prove to be unfounded.

It’s not an ideal world, and violence is a part of both rule and struggle.  He was fighting for equality between all races, but he was fighting for his own as well.  Otherwise the threat of violence towards the racist white rulers might never have been.  I don’t understand a lot about politics so I can’t write as eloquently as some, but I am in awe of the Civil Rights campaigners and activists.  Once I wanted to be a missionary in Africa.  I was only a child, I didn’t understand everything that was involved, the possibilities of death and mistreatment and everything.  In recent years I have had a very painful relationship with black people around my home and in church and hospital. I’ve had more than one black Christian call me a witch and turn away from me in self-satisfied rejection of me.  I have been called racist a lot.  I’m now very nervous of black people and some types can really make me feel amazing levels of anger.  White people can as well but I feel it more with black people because I’ve never been called racist towards white people.  It hurts, because time once was when I wanted to marry a black person.  I feel a mixture of helpless rage and heartbreak, I just can’t get it right, and neither can they.

I fear the fact that Nelson Mandela never renounced violence.  I know everyone is saying wonderful things about him and I feel touched by those things.  I daren’t say too much for fear of betraying my ignorance of politics and the profound changes which have irreversibly come about in relation to his name.  President Obama said he belongs to the ages.  Hopefully the ages won’t forget and go backwards.  Hopefully the ages won’t employ the violence that was not renounced by their revered father.

Edit note:

I feel really stupid.  I watched a documentary tribute tonight by David Dimbleby which reminded me of the Truth And Reconciliation councils and I saw some of the footage.  I also saw where Nelson Mandela told his followers to take their weapons and throw them in the sea, so he did renounce violence and asked his followers to.   I remember hearing about the truth and reconciliation hearings a long time ago.

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