Monday, December 3, 2007

Mandela's great gift to me

As a South African I am embarrassed to say that I have never been to Robben Island. My excuse is that if you live in a place for a long time you don’t make a real effort to do the things that you can do tomorrow or the next week or in three months.

Plus, Cape Town is so rich in fulfilling lifestyle experiences that even if you live here it can be difficult to choose between the winelands, the beach and the mountains on any given day. It is also quite a foodie town so it is easy to miss the boat indulging in lazy lunches.

So now that I get the chance to spend a week in my old hometown I jump at the opportunity to see the historical jail where Nelson Mandela became one of the wisest people on earth. However, when I get there, 50 tourists are already waiting for cancellations as the boat trips are fully booked for the next two weeks.

While I feel sorry for them, chances are I will get another chance to visit Cape Town. Then I will have to remember to book ahead. Or perhaps I should simply take pride in the fact that I am part of Madiba’s rainbow nation and that I carry his dream of peace between all cultures within me.

I turn towards the mountain and the sea, give a quick thought to the winelands and decide that today will be a beach day. The sea is painted in exotic shades of teal and indigo today and it’s just too irresistible.

As I dig my feet into the icing sugar sand on Clifton 4th beach I think about the people I have encountered during my travels. While most cultures like to stick together, I have acquired a certain curiosity to find out how different people live and look at the world. It enriches my life and gives me my own personal freedom to choose what I want to be, feel and believe.

This is Mandela’s great gift to me and that is worth more than a fridge magnet.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

poems for lize

As it is

As it is Africa, congruent things are similar
But similar things are not congruent,
As it is Africa, a lizard images as a crocodile
But a crocodile will never be a lizard,
As it is Africa, a smile images as laugher
But laughter will never be a smile;
As it is Africa, Laugher image as love
But love will never be laugher.
As it is Africa, a company images as friendship
But friendship will never be company,
As it is Africa, false sound as truth
But truth will never be false,
As it is Africa, all wild trees look green
But wild trees do not bear the same fruit,

Phinda Mkhonta

collected by caro