Nelson Mandela was an enigma: a courageous, humble and kind man who had a vision to make South Africa a rainbow nation. Even after suffering twenty-seven years in a cold and lonely prison cell, he refused to be bitter. Instead he concentrated on nation-building and the oneness of mankind where tolerance and forgiveness were his watchwords. In life and in death his spirit lives on beckoning others to embrace one another irrespective of race, colour or dogma.
The outpouring of grief says it all. There, and here in our time, was a man whose humility stood out, exemplary in every way. He will undoubtedly be a man to be remembered for centuries to come, and whose myriad examples of benign character would be a beacon of light for several generations yet unborn.
“Wind beneath My Wings” Oh! It must have been very cold there in the small lonely cell at Robben Island for twenty-seven silent and frozen years, to never have sunlight on your face. You
were content to let me shine, that’s your way. You always walked a step behind. So I was the one with all the glory, while you were the one with all the strength. A beautiful face without a name for so long. A beautiful smile to hide your pain. Did you ever know that you’re my hero, and everything we wish we could be?
“I can fly higher than an eagle, ‘cause you are the wind beneath wings of justice and forgiveness. It might have appeared to go unnoticed, but I’ve got it all here in my heart. Madiba Madiba! We want you to know we know the truth, of course we know it.
“South Africa and the world would be nothing without your example. Did you ever know that you’re our hero? You’re everything we wish we could be. We could fly higher than an eagle, ‘cause you are the wind beneath our wings.
“Oh, and South Africa! and all Africa with all mankind could fly higher than an eagle, ‘cause you are the wind beneath our wings, the wind beneath the wings of justice. Fly, fly, fly away. You let me fly so high. Oh, you, the wind beneath the wings of our generation and generations to come. Fly, fly, so high we almost touch the sky. Thank you, thank God for you, the wind beneath my generation’s wings. With human feet it seems that you have trod the paths which the saints of bygone ages trod.”