At 11:30 yesterday morning I found myself sitting in an over-full auditorium at Netcare Head Office – where I work – surrounded by standing, singing, crying colleagues.
We had been asked to be present at a company memorial service for Nelson Mandela, whose death was announced yesterday. Despite the fact that a good number of employees are not Christian, and that there’s not much evidence that Mandela was a believing Christian, we went ahead and had a denominational service.
Oh, well, at least I could sit down most of the time.
What was a bit more puzzling to me, for a while yesterday, was the total absence of any grief or feelings of loss within me.
I believe this is probably because – despite the fact that my company ministered to the man in his last months – I felt him go, back in June. It seems quite likely, in view of new evidence I have, that his body at least was kept functioning for a while after I heard the Ancestors call him home. This is not so unusual – I witnessed this departure-in-stages in my own mother, almost 15 years ago.
Still, I wished his liberated spirit well once more. And I;m relieved that some of us are still keeping our eye on the ball – that being Jacob Zuma, his corrupt cabinet, and the impending dissolution of this country into a a fascist plutarchy.
In spite of the opportunity to relieve our tensions through mourning, why don’t we stay alert to the men behind the curtain, lest they sneak up and take our freedom from us tomorrow morning? I think that it’s the most important thing we can do right now.