Madiba’s legacy will con­tinue to in­spire

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

Aheavy rain that be­gan a day ear­lier con­tin­ued to fall in Jo­han­nes­burg dur­ing the na­tional me­mo­rial ser­vice for Nel­son Man­dela. But there were no tears, sor­row, or sad­ness in­side the sta­dium.

In­stead, it was a great celebration of Man­dela and his spirit of fight­ing for equal­ity and com­pas­sion.

Peo­ple be­gan en­ter­ing the sta­dium at 2 am, even though the ser­vice was sched­uled to be­gin at 11 am. The sta­dium, which can ac­com­mo­date up to 100,000 peo­ple, was about 90 per­cent full when the event started.

Peo­ple danced and sang, “Let me carry on your flag and con­tinue your fight, till the suc­cess comes.”

They quoted from Man­dela’s speeches and words of en­cour­age­ment to show their ded­i­ca­tion to his spirit.

“There is noth­ing to be sad about. His life is cel­e­brated and will live in ev­ery­one’s heart,” a 23-year-old col­lege stu­dent told me.

The cer­e­mony be­gan nearly one hour later than sched­uled, with­out the ar­rival of the US del­e­ga­tion. Cheers erupted from the au­di­ence when the del­e­ga­tion ar­rived. Ap­par­ently, they didn’t know that Man­dela was on the US ter­ror­ist watch list un­til 2008.

Be­fore the ser­vice, many wor­ried about the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion, as a large se­cu­rity force was mo­bi­lized to en­sure the event went smoothly.

But there were no se­cu­rity checks at the gate, at least not when I en­tered the sta­dium at 8 am. Usu­ally, at an event like this, with so many state lead­ers in at­ten­dance, se­cu­rity is very tight. Ev­ery­one was re­spect­ful and came to­gether peace­fully to honor this great man.

This is not only a loss for South Africa, but the en­tire con­ti­nent. Flags from many dif­fer­ent coun­tries could be seen fly­ing in the sta­dium.

Man­dela stood against in­equal­ity, colo­nial­ism and apartheid. Be­hind him were count­less or­di­nary peo­ple that changed the course of his­tory. Man­dela will con­tinue to in­spire fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. Con­tact the writer at lil­ianx­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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