Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 36

I'm back.  Albeit a litte fragile.  I've had a week of change and different stresses.  Worst of all one of my very dearest friends is about to leave Sydney and try as I can to be happy and positive for her adventures i'm feeling emotionally fraught.  I see it in all of us who know her and who'll miss this lovely family.  We all have the same "I can't believe they're going " look about us.  At the same time, another gorgeous family are leaving, and another circle of friends are wearing the same haunted look.  So bear with my melancoly for a while longer.

Will has a prepared speech to do about racism in the next day or two.  We've been researching a bit and tonight we watched Nelson Mandela's speech he made when he left Robben Island after 27 years in capativity.  We watched the emotion, and my tired 9 year old and his emotionally strung out mother had a lovely time, just being in the moment.  I told him of how, when we visited Johannesburg, and while earnestly reading the autobiography "Long Walk to Freedom", two black porters came into our room and upon seeing my book, burst into  "Madiba, Madiba, Madiba..." with smiles on their faces and their fists proudly pumping the air.  I'll never forget it.

I could talk forever about Mandela and who he was, but what I really want to know is why they called him "Madiba"?.

In South Africa, Mandela is often known as Madiba, an honorary title adopted by elders of Mandela's clan. A clan name is much more important than a surname as it refers to the ancestor from which a person is descended. Madiba was the name of a Thembu chief who ruled in the Transkei in the 18th century. It is considered very polite to use someone’s clan name.

Footnote; when researching this I happened upon a review of the hotel I stayed at in Jo'burg where the writer had the same experience as me with the porters chanting - madness i thought, until I read the review a little closer and realised....I'd written it!  Blimmin hilarious!

1 comment:

  1. Lovely to have you back my sweet. Sending you positive settling in vibes.... xx