At his Treason Trial, I was twenty: Aware of the evil for which I was culpable by virtue of being white but not actively declaring ‘not in my name’. At thirty I took voluntary exile in preference to putting my life on the line, as he did. At fifty I was back in my own country as we precariously wobbled on the brink of darkness while Mandela held us unerringly toward the light. Two years later I stood in the snaking queues at the ballot boxes with the majority of South Africans, some in their eighties or more, who had never in their adult lives been allowed to vote. Months later I sat with my ticket to heaven as I personally witnessed the opening of Parliament in Cape Town with Madiba as our first black President.
He had become World Citizen No. 1 and we held our heads high whether they were black, brown, yellow, pink or white. We knew that we could be one people and that this was how human beings are meant to be together – our differences a strength and our unity a pride and joy.
Archbishop Tutu offers prayers for Mandela
Now, Tata Madiba, you are gone forever from the body but your spirit will be among us forever. That such a man has lived amongst us is proof of goodness, truth and beauty. My grief is not in the having to say goodbye but that humanity is capable of so much, yet realises so little: That this world is so beautiful, yet so desecrated by us. Madiba demonstrated that it need not be so.
We are hardwired for love. He showed us the way. In his death let us hold hands. Let us love one another for love is of God. Pray for us now that we may follow where he has lead and that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.