Remembering Nelson Mandela, 9 years after his death

Picture: Theana Calitz – Nelson Mandela Foundation

Picture: Theana Calitz – Nelson Mandela Foundation

Published Dec 5, 2022

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Former ANC president and South Africa’s first black democratically elected president Nelson Mandela died on this day, 5 December 2013 at the age of 95 after a prolonged respiratory infection.

I remember clearly the day Nelson Mandela died. It was a Thursday morning when the news broke and I was a young journalist heading into the office at the time.

South African flags were flying at half mast and there was a sense of sadness in the air.

We stood in our office singing the national anthem as our beautiful flag was hoisted. Not a single person in that room had a dry eye.

It felt like the world had stopped. Not only was South Africa mourning, but the world was mourning the loss of one of the biggest political and humanitarian icons of our time who fervently fought for equality and freedom of a nation.

The Former ANC president, political stallion, and eventually South Africa’s first democratically elected president Nelson Mandela died on 5 December 2013 at the age of 95 after a prolonged respiratory infection.

He had been receiving intensive medical care at home for a lung infection after spending three months in the hospital.

I think when one looks at a life-like Madiba, we all thought that he would live forever, despite seeing a frail man right before our eyes in the last few years of his huge life.

Announcing the news on South African national TV, President Jacob Zuma said Mr Mandela was at peace.

“Our nation has lost its greatest son,” Mr Zuma said.

“Although we knew that this day would come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss,” said Zuma announcing the death of Madiba to the nation on that fateful day.

Mandela led South Africa’s transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s, after serving 27 years in prison on Robben Island.

As we look at the current political crisis in South Africa in 2022, I think it is safe to say that the ruling African National Congress ANC has not continued the Madiba legacy.

Nine years after Madiba’s death, the ANC will have to look deeply into itself and take stock of its values, many of which we owe to Tata Madiba.

IOL