Nelson Mandela R.I.P.


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“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord,

the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me,

but also to all who have longed for His appearing.”

Timothy 4:7-8

I was in college during the height of the anti-apartheid movement.

I remember debates & discussions about how best to support the freedom struggle in South Africa.  Students erected “shanty-towns” on the main campus lawn and slept in them for weeks to show solidarity, raise awareness, and push the university to divest from South Africa.  I got my first taste of political activism on campus.  I got more political education from my classmates than my classes.  I voted.  I went to student-club meetings to hear the debates.  I signed petitions.  I went to protest rallies.  I switched banks because I wanted one that did not invest in South Africa.

There was excitement in the air when Nelson Mandela was released from prison.  We saw him on the news with his wife, Winnie, and we were proud.  He emerged from prison “unbowed & unbroken”.  His back was straight.  He had principle.  He stood up for what he believed in.  He was a grown man.  They were a dignified couple who kept the faith.  When he came to the United States, we scrambled for a way to see him.  A friend got tickets to the baseball stadium where he was appearing, and took me with her.

We were all watching the elections that resulted in him becoming president.  I remember seeing a picture of a very long line of voters.  Again, we were proud.  We were proud of Nelson Mandela.  We were proud of the Black South Africans for making the effort of waiting & voting to elect him.  They set an example for Americans.  Elections in the United States are fairly anemic events.  I got a taste of what South Africans must have felt when we elected Barack Obama President of the United States.

When I think of Nelson Mandela, I just feel pride & excitement.   He ran his race, and he ran it well.  Now that he’s gone, I feel sorrow.  Nonetheless, as I see the news broadcasts from South Africa, it’s appropriate & sweet to see people singing and dancing in Madiba’s honor.


“Brothers and sisters,

we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death,

so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind,

who have no hope.

For we believe that Jesus died and rose again,

and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus

those who have fallen asleep in him.”

I Thessalonians 4:13-14

BOW is my first experience in blogging, and my writing has undergone an evolution since I started. I use If I Knew Then What I Know Now to think aloud about my Christian walk. When you read it, my hope is that WE (the BOW community & friends) then discuss how to apply God's word into our everyday lives in a practical manner. As Christian lay-theologians, we'll talk about our world, and how we can be in it but not of it. So whatever your thoughts are about what you read, PLEASE share.
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