Monday, July 19, 2010
Yesterday the nation, no - the world, celebrated Nelson Mandela's 92nd birthday. The man has become an international icon and deeply deserves the respect and affection that is poured out over him. His ability to extend grace is legendary and grace is a very rare commodity these days. His idea of asking people to celebrate his birthday by performing acts of kindness to the needy was brilliant. In this land, that has been distorted emotionally in so many ways, it might have come as a culture shock to some though. An ethos of entitlement does not usually embrace that attitude. With such an emphasis on human rights as we have here, the attitude is usually: "Me first, me last and me in the middle. And to blazers with anyone else." But such is the stature of the man that people bought into it with gusto - not just here, but also internationally. And I believe we liked ourselves when we "were nice" to each other during the World Cup. We liked being liked by the outside world, and we liked the feeling of "being good" and wanted to find a way to make it last. I do hope that the "feel good" factor involved with the Good Samaritaning of yesterday will lay hold of hearts and something more lasting will emerge. While I extend my own fervent respects and congratulations to Madiba, I think it needs to be said that One far greater spoke of these things more than two millenia ago. And the grace He extended and extends yet, surpasses anything known.