There once was a mulatto, well, not a mulatto, a black man, that in this world things sometimes are as follows: white or black. There was once a black man with a friendly face, wide nose, wide cheekbones and eyes in which all forgiveness fit. They called him Madiba, as his old clan still calls the elders. But that was later. After political activism, after 27 years in prison on Robben Island, in his native South Africa, where he was sent to silence his claim and the opposite happened. From the square, so they called his cell-Madiba Mandela built a nation that was dying because things were white or black, and nothing else. He was forced to break rocks, and maybe that’s why he modelled with the patience of an architect the new society that would proscribe the word apartheid, archaic concept, an ignominious past where to return would be a sin.
There was once a man who conquered his fears and rationed courage. He took the banner of forgiveness and reconciliation, but not of forgetting. He made a weapon of resistance, and in the streets of many cities people clamored to see him released while in Pretoria, let us not be surprised, they branded him a terrorist. By then South Africa, almost at the gates of the century, boasted of being one of the last bastions of a segregationist world. Whites still believed that their pallor was superior and Madiba, so black, so humble, so son of African soil opened the eyes of his people and asked them not to close them again. Then, you know, that people rewarded him with affection and votes. Mandela was South Africa’s first democratically elected president. He was the first black president in a country that was allowed to curtail freedom and tried to let people see life in two colors.
Madiba has died and they say that South Africa has been orphaned. If so, if anyone really thinks that the absence of a father immobilizes the child to the point of not let him breathe, not to assume the legacy, history, continuity, then they understood nothing. Madiba has not gone away completely even when he is no more; he remains on Earth, the people stay fighting ever since and hopefully forever, in not see ever again life in black and white.
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