Our office just had an impromptu gathering to pay tribute to Mandela. We started with Nkosi Sikelea and went into a prayer of tribute. By the time another song was sung so many of us were crying the ugly cry.
As I looked across the room I saw raw emotion. Because, as one director put it, he belonged to us. His family have to share their father with us, a strange inevitable pain of really belonging to an icon of his stature.
Our one MD, a tall dignified black man, tried to address us and quietly broke down after three words. Another colleauge then took the reigns and paid a lovely tribute to his leadership and essentially a prayer for us all to move forward with his example and work hard to keep this country united.
I suspect these “ceremonies” are happening all around South Africa, Southern Africa, Africa and the world at the moment. We’re all sad but we’re also all happy that we got to witness a great leaders’ example in our lifetime.