my recent trip through South Africa enlightened me greatly on Apartheid. by extension, i also learned a great deal about who Nelson Mandela was, how he stood by his beliefs and went from prisoner to president, and how he learned to forgive. just an extraordinary man. one of our first stops was Mandela’s humble old home in Soweto. it was cold and rainy, and the house was tiny and crammed full of tourists, but i remember feeling really honored to have been able to visit—it wasn’t on the tour itinerary, so it was a nice surprise. on the flip side, i was incredibly disappointed that the tour did not arrange any time to visit Robben Island, where he was imprisoned for 27 years. i tried to pick up a couple of tickets on my own, but it was all sold out (apparently you HAVE to order in advance). i saw the island when we went up Signal Hill and Table Mountain—so close yet so far.
Mr. Mandela had been ill for some time and i’m sure people were expecting this. but it’s still sad when someone of this stature, this iconic historical figure, is no longer with us. what’s important is the he was here, he made the world better, and his legacy will live on.