I’d have quite liked my first ever personal blog post to have been a well-researched, thoughtful piece on something topical. But it’s 12.44am and I know the only people who are probably going to read this are the poor people who know me and are reading it because I asked them to. You guys rock!
Nelson Mandela died last week, and viewing it from the safety and sterile front row seat at home in front of my screen, I’ve witnessed all the glamour of the Grammys, and the colour, noise and sheer volume of people you’d find at Glastonbury. I think even the Heads of State and Government are overwhelmed. Why else would Barack Obama, British MP David Cameron and Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt, taken a selfie? They could have all simply pointed their heads in one direction, smiled simultaneously and a dozen cameras would have taken their picture for them. Maybe BO was updating his Facebook status. “Hi guys! Sunday Selfie!”
And just because you get invited to a funeral, don’t expect everyone to know who you are. New Zealand’s Prime Minister, aka Mr “unidentified guest”, according to the New York Times was snapped at the funeral laughing with David Cameron – who everyone knows of course.
Isn’t it the worst affront when someone can’t remember your name? You each try to kind of dance off that inevitable awkward moment that’s a bit like a pie falling in very slow motion, shuffling your feet around with awkwardness and shooting glances and embarrassed smiles everywhere to see if anyone caught you dropping the pie. The worst. And in this moment I feel very strongly that New Zealand really is just a tiny island nation at the bottom of the world.
But apart from reading all the reports about who sat next to who, what that handshake meant and what is the proper etiquette for selfies anyway? I’ve been reflecting a bit, as you do when someone dies, about what I know about Nelson Mandela and his remarkable life, which is admittedly little.
At school we learned about his lifelong battle to end apartheid in South Africa and how he was incarcerated for 27 years for his beliefs, and refusing to give up. Even then, 15 years ago he was a legend to me, because of the strength of his belief and the way he sacrificed his freedom for the freedom of others.
I hope that his life’s work and the progress he made will be continued, because the more people who believe equality, safety, freedom and education should be every person’s right, the more people will realise the only thing preventing this from happening is man kind.