Father of a Nation,
an Icon for the World.
by Purcella Bella.
I remember the day they let him out of jail, February 2nd 1990 was like no other. The world as I knew it was coming to an end. I was extremely happy & fearful at the same time. My fellow ‘white’ classmates & I were welling up with emotion watching TV in history class — how ironic. I thought to myself this is better than the falling of the Berlin Wall which just happened a few months earlier (November 1989). At the age of 17, I was in awe with what was happening before my eyes. The air across the nation was electrifying. I wondered would we as a nation survive to see this man become President?
And to the world’s astonishment, South Africa rose up to the challenged & rallied behind a father figure we so desperately needed. The following 2 years were filled with threat, posturing, lots of pain & some bloodshed. But the country didn’t turn to civil war. Then in April 1989, we cast our votes for 4 days & nights. People of all colours standing for hours & days in line ups that wound it’s way around townships, villages, suburbs & cities. The country was celebrating a birth of a new nation during those crisp autumn days. People of different colours came together, talked, hugged, sang, cried & laughed. We were united & rallying for change.
As for me, this was the very first time I voted & I was proud to be part of the change. I voted for hope & so did the majority of the country. I voted for a man that could make change happen. I’m glad that I had the privilege to stand besides my fellow black & white country men & woman — hoping for a new day, a new era. I am proud to call myself African. Madiba, may you rest in peace & be a beacon of light for generations to come.
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