We had our own memorial service for you at our church today. It wasn't as bad as i expected. i must apologize for being so embarrassingly late but I was still in time to listen to all the speeches. I did try to be a bigger part of it all mind you,but to no avail. And though the pews were rather empty by the time I got there,they were quite filled up at our time to leave. Needless to say,the crowd was made up of all kinds of high-ranking people, from the Archbishop to the Vice President of our country, Ambassadors, Ministers, Members of Parliament, High Commissioners, Members of the Judiciary,Pan-African representatives, Speakers of the Senate and then people like me.
I was afraid it would turn political,and it did for a bit;there was a point where the Kenyan High-Commissioner said something about how when you got to heaven and were asked about what was going on down here,you said you weren't too pleased...and there was also a bit of tension when the South-African High-Commissioner who was among the last speakers lamented about how there was some acrimony over the proceedings of proper last respects to you,between the Parliament of Uganda and the South-African High-Commission,and how it was only in Uganda that this had happened,and also how it was disrespectful of your memory because it was the opposite of everything you stood for;this was worsened by the Prime minister trying to defend the Parliament and the Government in general but later ironed out by the Vice-President who in a few words reminded us of why we were really there. There were tributes from all sorts of groups and organisation but the most moving was that of a little girl no more than six years that gave an address on behalf of the children of Uganda,her speech had us all in tears by the end.
I never got to meet you Mr. Mandela.Meeting you was always on my bucket list,but because I was not yet important enough to actually be allowed to,I figured I would work hard at it and maybe in about four or five years I would be important enough to...somehow the fact that you might be dead didn't even cross my mind.
I intended to ask you this if I had finally got to meet you;what happened on that island? You went in a bitter and angry youth who couldn't wait for the day he got his vengeance and came out a calm forgiving man. What happened in those twenty seven years?Was it a gradual change or was it an epiphany? Was this epiphany at the beginning,in the middle or at the end of your time in prison? Did you really feel no more hate and bitterness for all those that were not quite nice to you or was it a daily struggle for you like it is for us to consciously choose to love and forgive them?Did this change have anything to do with Jesus? You were quite careful to avoid the subject but I sure do hope it did because if if didn't, then it would all be for nothing.I guess i'll have to wait to get to heaven to ask you that.
I personally admired you, Mr. Mandela. Some friends of mine say you are over-rated but then again ignorance is bliss. You were a mystery and one of us at the same time,needless to say,you continue to inspire a lot of people with the way you lived and this is what made you stand out from the likes of Steve Jobs and Abraham Lincoln and other great people in history. You put your heart into it. You practiced what you preached,and showed us that we have huge potential to do good in us,if only we try.One of the speakers at todays service called you a 'secular saint'...The one thing I guess that stood out for me about you is never forgetting who you are. All the power and fortune and fame never affected your humility and you recognized and embraced your weaknesses,limits and shortcomings. It's something that i'm still working on up to date and will probably continue to work on for a bit of time. It's because of examples like you Mr. Mandela though,that I will not give up till I have achieved my goals.
You will be greatly missed and forever remembered by all.
Rest in Peace Mr. Mandela.
Pictorial from the memorial service held at All-saints Cathedral,Nakasero,Kampala,Uganda.
The pews were still a bit empty when i arrived...but filled up pleasantly.
The booklets we were given on arrival.
The little girl whose speech moved everyone to tears was hounded by the press after the service.
'Your freedom means nothing without the freedom of your neighbor.'
'It always seems impossible until its done.'
'A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.'