Today marks the beginning of Nelson Mandela’s funeral in Johannesburg. A memorial service will be held where world leaders will come together, to pay tribute to Mandela. No doubt the world’s attention will be fixed on South Africa for the next few days – with the funeral culminating on Sunday where Mandela will, finally, be laid to rest. Inevitably there has been a lot of press surrounding his death, and rightly so. He was one of those remarkable people. As one of my South African friends said to me the other day ‘I don’t think we will ever see anybody like him, in our lifetime’. Although Mandela was as mortal as the rest of us, his humanity and what he managed to achieve should be celebrated, and remembered, not passively, but with a look to the future.
One of the major parts of travelling (for me, at least) is not always about the place you visit, but it’s about the people you meet on your journey, and how they can influence you in many different ways. Journeys and travelling are bound together, but really are two separate entities. The term journey can be applied to many more concepts than the physical act itself.
Today Raul Castro will join Barak Obama at Mandela’s memorial service, along with many other diplomats and dignitaries. Political differences and personal clashes (will hopefully) be set aside, and for a little while maybe we can reflect. Not only on Mandela as a person, but the ideals that he became synonymous with, and of course the journey that he made.
“I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.” - Nelson Mandela.