I have to interrupt the interruption of my blog to pay my most necessary respects to Nelson Mandela. Yes, I’m aware that this space has recently become something of a meander through a rough country of travel and domestic “incidents”, but now I just have to stop, pause and watch as the world mourns one of the most important icons of our era.
As world leaders flock to show that they really did, and do, care about apartheid and racial liberty with varying proportions of sincerity, there is still a massive amount of genuine mourning and celebration by ordinary people across the world. Which restores a little bit of faith in human nature, when there has been so much recent talk by rather small-minded and ill-informed people about other people from other countries taking “our” (i.e. British) jobs, housing, social security, etc, etc. One of Mandela’s lasting legacies was his generosity of spirit and his belief in ubuntu – connectedness – and how this connection is what makes us all (yes, even David Cameron) human. In fact, I wrote a whole novel inspired by Mandela’s ideas, where I wanted to examine this concept, even in the face of some of the mistakes us mortals make (The Kiss). And boy, do we drop some clangers. But, Mandela had the ability to convert anger into hope. Something we can all learn to do. As well as to forgive, of course.