Madiba’s legacy will continue to inspire
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 email@example.com