Madiba and Africa

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Not a photography post as such, but last night a true hero died.

My thoughts and emotions have been full to the brim to day. Nelson Mandela has been a big part of mine and other peoples lives. I am surprised as to how I am able to mark my life through the amazing events of his life.

Today I have had lots of thoughts to day about Madiba, but also I have thought about his great influence on the world, on people and on my own life.

Today I have also been thinking of Eileen Mendelsohn my grandmother, and the work she did with the Black Sash in Johannesburg, and the fact she got arrested (as quite an elderly woman). She along with many fought against apartheid, and better conditions for people. She protested about Nelson Mandela being incarcerated, and she taught me a lot about justice and injustice at an early age. As a young child I remember watching the bbc news, and seeing my Gran in a news item about South Africa. I spoke to her about it and she gleefully told me that they had been told they were not allowed to gather in groups to protest, open air meetings were prohibited! So the woman of the Black Sash had a cunning plan, they stood separately 10 metres apart from each other holding banners, and took up the whole of Hill Brow in Joberg.

“When Nelson Mandela eventually walked free from prison in 1990, he made reference to the Black Sash in his first speech, delivered at the Grand Parade in Cape Town. He said ‘the Black Sash was the conscience of white South Africa’ during the dark days of apartheid.”

I remember that speech and felt so proud of my Gran and her fellow Black Sash members.

A true hero in our own lifetimes, who will hopefully have influence for many many years to come.

 
I have three children, and when each child reached the age of six I have taken them on a road trip to south Africa. To see the country that had so much influence on my life and on other lives. They explored the country with me, they saw poverty and wealth, they spoke to people and played with children who had different lives to them. They saw wild animals in a natural environment. They questioned peoples living conditions, and learnt about differences. All these things I learnt about too, when I was their age. I documented their journeys with them, photographically and on blogs. They all still talk about their journeys, and I hope that they carry with them, the images and experiences throughout their lives.
 
Mandela lives on in our hearts and minds.

May his legacy live on too.