The Late Great Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela passed away on December 5, 2013 and I cried. It seems that ever since this gentle goliath entered the world’s stage, I have been watching and crying at his struggles and victories and cheering him on from in front of my television.

I never met the man but I have followed his life since his 28-year imprisonment first became news to the world. I, along with my then husband and children watched the newscasts as he was released from prison. I cried tears of joy at the thought that with his release the world suddenly became a better, more equitable place.

I cried again when he was elected to the post of South Africa’s Prime Minister despite or should I say in spite of his skin colour and the caste under which he was born.

I read his biography with a new box of tissue close at hand knowing that again my tears would flow for all that he had faced and had overcome.

His divorce from his second wife Winnie Mandela was a sad occasion though one I could understand given his rising political and worldwide fame and the scandals in which she seemed embroiled. His third marriage to Graca Machel made me shed tears of joy that he had again found love and a suitable companion.

And then I watched and waited for the inevitable as I received reports of his declining health in his advancing age. I wanted him to live forever. I wanted him to remain a symbol of hope for not just the citizens of South Africa but for all of mankind. But as great as he was, even he had to bid the world good-bye and enter that final eternal sleep. And I wept for him and for us.

Fortunately there are people that will continue the work that Madiba started. His legacy of peace, unity and equality will not die with him. It seems that there may still be hope that we humans will stop fighting against each other over skin colour, religion and other things that we can’t change about ourselves. Maybe one day there really will be peace on earth if we follow in the footsteps of this great man. And maybe now I can stop crying over our great loss. One day maybe.

The Facebook Nation

It was my friend Klodyne who convinced me to join Facebook.  I had protested that I didn’t have time to figure it out and even that I just wasn’t really that sociable. She argued that it was also a good tool to build my business through making connections. It was that point that sold me and I hesitantly opened my personal Facebook account.

Fast forward a few years and I now have two accounts—a personal one and a business one—and a group page for all my cruise friends. I’m still not sure I’m using it to its full capacity and I haven’t earned a dime or made any significant business contact through Facebook but I’m now connected to friends and family around the world. This connection only became important to me when I left North America for Central America.

I’m living in a Spanish speaking country and I don’t speak Spanish. Most of the television programs are in Spanish and I was only able to turn on the closed captioning in English on one channel so I feel as if the world is speeding past me and I am missing all kinds of important events and news. And that’s where the Facebook Nation has become useful and significant to me. I read the status updates to get all caught up on the world’s news. I found out that Nelson Mandela died and was grief-stricken (funny that I never met him but feel as if he was my grandfather) but then additional updates corrected that he hadn’t actually died but was in critical condition in hospital. Whew!

I’m also able to keep up with the happenings of my adult children, who don’t contact their mother enough. I can see that my friend Nicole and her sister Nichelle have become marathon masters! I can pray in support of my friend Tania as her son battles cancer. I can applaud Angelina Jolie for her decision to remove both breasts in a preventive assault against breast cancer and I can peek into the activities of my family members in Toronto, Jamaica, New York and England.

I’ve also heard all the complaints about Facebook but I don’t really understand them because as I said, I’m not really that much of a user. Sure I can post photos and update my status but I don’t play Candy Land so can’t really understand that obsession!

Now that I’ve got an online business, I plan to get to know Facebook much better. I’ve been asked by some of the young people here in Pearl Lagoon, Nicaragua to teach a Social Media course featuring Facebook so I’ve got some incentive.

Klodyne it looks as if you were right about this Facebook phenomena. And if I haven’t already said it, “Thanks for connecting me to the Facebook Nation!

History in the Making

I am a Black Canadian who has been paying some attention to the Barack Obama/John McCain election. I normally don’t pay too much attention to these types of political events, but this event is historic. That we could have the first Black American President in my lifetime is historic. And in a country fraught with racism like America is, is truly a historic event—much like Nelson Mandela’s 1990 release from a 27-year prison to become, four years later, the first President of South Africa to be elected in fully representative democratic elections. Continue reading