Just before midnight on Thursday 5 December 2013, President Jacob Zuma announced that former president Nelson Mandela had passed away at 20:50 at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg at the age of 95.
Whilst the country went into mourning, I sat back and remembered the Madiba Magic that he gave us over the years. My most memorable moment will always be when Madiba as he was fondly known, walked out into a packed Ellis Park in 1995, while thousands of rugby supporters of all races, chanted his name! Nelson, Nelson, it echoed in the stadium, and our beloved Tata was wearing a Springbok jersey! He had managed to unite South Africans using sport as the glue. We would see this numerous times in years to come, be it rugby, soccer, cricket etc, Madiba always put his stamp of approval on the participation and united the nation.
When his health took a turn for the worst in July of this year, we all feared the worst, but he was not ready to leave yet. After a 3 month stint Madiba went home, and received medical care there. And then he finally said goodbye.
Today, 10 December 2013, thousands of mourners flock to FNB stadium to pay their respects and celebrate the life of a man who was indeed the Father of our nation. Dignitaries from across the world have flown in to wish him farewell.
The weather is sombre, it is grey skies and raining, much like the mood of South Africans as we reluctantly say goodbye to our hero.
May we remember what you stood for, for years to come, and may we continue to help your ideals become a reality.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Mandela family and his loved ones, and also with every South African, whose life he touched in some way or another.