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07 Dec

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

The Guardian

 


The Red Menace. Shoot him!

A squirrel clutches a nut in Saski Park in Lublin, Poland Photograph: Wojciech Pacewicz/EPA

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Opinion

Mandela Pollsmoor

Former South African President Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel outside Pollsmoor Prison. While imprisoned at Pollsmoor, Mandela was occasionally taken on escorted outings through the streets and suburbs of Cape Town.

Gallo Images/Oryx Media Archive/Getty Images

Mandela walks with us

The news was expected, indeed rehearsed too many times, and still I am in shock. Nelson Mandela is gone. Go well, Madiba. Hamba kahle Mandela. Mandela has passed away.

I am surrounded everywhere by reminders: On my desk, a dog-eared copy of his autobiography, which I have just been teaching to undergraduates. Radio 702 South African voices into my ears in the first hours after the announcement of his passing, beginning with the words of the current president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, “Mandela has departed …”

There is, in the particular choice of these words, a sense that, in the end, he seized the moment, and, as he did so often, lifted his spirit over the expected, the ordinary, and beyond the speculation and handwringing. For 26 weeks, South Africans have known that Mandela has been gravely ill. It has been a difficult time, rife with rumor and conspiracy theory, and punctuated by heart-stopping moments of impending announcements. He has not been seen in public since the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, but now, suddenly, his image is everywhere. Voices, both known and unknown, are trying to put into words exactly who the man was to them, what he means, how and when they knew him. Again and again, his image, his words, the sound of his voice………………………….

Topics:

International

Nelson Mandela

South Africa

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