On Nelson Mandela

mandelaHe was a man whose dignity and courage during the struggle against Apartheid gave hope to millions of oppressed people.

Despite languishing in jail for decades, he forgave all of the people who wronged him.

And yet how can I forgive Nelson Mandela? We had the 1995 Rugby World Cup in the bag until Madiba turned up to the final. His appearance inspired the Springboks, and was probably the difference between the two teams on the day.

But for Nelson Mandela we would now have three World Cup wins. Three!

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Comparisons between Mandela are other great figures in history are inevitable, and we can expect to hear much debate about Mandela’s place in history. But such comparisons are pointless, because only with the passing of time can a person’s legacy be properly assessed. Was he the greatest person who ever lived? What about in the 20th century? Post-war? Was he Africa’s greatest ever person?

It doesn’t matter. Let’s just agree for now that on the spectrum of greatness Mandela sits somewhere between Jesus Christ and Justin Bieber.

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It is right that we should mourn the death of this great man. But let’s do it sensibly. Have a thought for the environment when you pay your tributes to the man. Must you pour or flood them in? I’ve lived through a big flood before, and it left a bloody big mess, so have some consideration for others.

Please also be mindful of the dangers of electricity as you pour your tributes down the internet.

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For the next week or so we will all be a bit sensitive, and anyone who dishonours the memory of our beloved Mandela during that time is going to wear it. And so they should.

So please don’t be the one who makes an inappropriate comparison between the demise of John Banks’ political career and the death of Nelson Mandela. If you do I will come for you.

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A lot of people have stories to tell about the day they met Nelson Mandela. I have a similar story, except that in my story I never met him and it made me sad, because now I never will.

It’s a crap story, really.

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