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Another year has passed us by
And we’re all a little older.
Last summer felt much hotter,
And winter seems much colder.
There was a time not long ago…
When life was quite a blast.
Now I fully understand
About ‘Living in the Past’
We used to go to weddings,
Football games and lunches.
Now we visit nursing homes
And after-funeral brunches.
We used to have hangovers,
From parties that were crazy.
Now we suffer body aches,
We’re sleepy and we’re lazy.
We used to go out dining,
And couldn’t get our fill.
Now we ask for doggie bags,
Go home and take a pill.
We used to often travel
To places near and far.
Now we get sore asses
Just sitting in the car.
We used to go to nightclubs
And drink a little booze.
Now we stay home at night
And sleep right through the news.
That, my friend is how life is,
And now my tale is told.
So, enjoy each day and live it up.
Before you’re too damn old…
Friday 20 December 2013: 7 years 3 months on …
Physical: Advantage CBD/ Mental: Deuce
My desire to make things easier to keep contact with my friends and family resulted in my first starting to blog some four years ago.
I would never have dreamt then that it would have become this international “place of meeting” for so many thousands of people. So much so, that sometimes I have neglected the very people with whom I originally meant to stay in contact.
My apologies then for not being able to personally contact so many of you.
My hearfelt thanks to all of you who have remained in contact with me – the emails, the notes, the calls and the messages of support and encouragement. The world of a terminally ill person becomes increasingly smaller and lonelier. So to all of you, especially, those who continue to include me in your world, visit me, take me out and who still include me in their social activities, I want to say a very special thanks.
As 2013 rapidly draws to a close, on behalf of our family, I wish you and your families Restful Days, Happy Holidays, Loads of Cheer, lots of Beach/Snow (wherever you may be) and Special Rejuvenation to face what I hope will be a succesful 2014 for each of us. No doubt, it will come with its opportunities and challenges, its laughter and tears and its Highs and its Lows.
To all of you, CHEERS!
©2013 Edward C. Lunnon
Monday 16 December 2013: 7 years 3 months on …
Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Deuce
Tata Madiba, Nelson Mandela, the Father of our New Democratic Nation, was buried yesterday in Qunu in our (and his) home Province of the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
It brings to an end the official ten days of national mourning since his death last Thursday evening 5 December 2013.
Much has been said and written, and for many of us, I guess, it has been a time of great introspection.
During this time there have also been other events that we have attended and which have provided food for thought.
Last Friday morning (6 December) I attended Christopher Ross’s funeral in St Francis Bay. I had taught brothers David and Chris in the late eighties and Chris had passed away the previous week at age 40 after suffering an aneurism.
David has asked me to say a few words at the memorial service. However, because I am finding it increasingly difficult to see and walk, I declined the offer. David has asked me to say something of the “good old times”!
It got me thinking of how we can’t live in the “good old times” – the past is gone. We can’t live in the future either – it is not guaranteed. We only have the present to live in, and we have to make the most of that moment and every moment we have.
Madiba surely taught us that, too. After spending so much of his life in jail, it is just unbelievable how much he achieved in and made of the 14 years he had between being released in 1990 and finally retiring from public life in 2004, when he famously told reporters that, if needs, “Don’t call me. I’ll call you!” (I sometimes feel that the time is fast coming when I shall have to use that quote myself.)
Anyway, we did raconteur and reminisce at Legends Pub at the Wake after the memorial service. So much so, that we only got home after four and had to postpone our trip to Graaff-Reinet which was scheduled to commence at 14h00!
We decided to leave on Saturday morning instead, and thank goodness we did! I woke up to water running down through the ceiling and cupboards – a water valve had burst in the roof! So, our departure was delayed until the plumbers had sorted that out, and then, delayed yet again, as the garden services (on whom I had been waiting for the last two weeks) suddenly arrived to mow the lawns.
Who said life is easy and runs smoothly? Certainly not Nelson Mandela!
But he taught us that too – that one can rise above the difficulties and stumbling blocks that life places in our way. He taught us to forgive those who have wronged us – that’s the one with which I still have enormous problems – and I still don’t know how he managed to forgive those of us who had a hand in putting him into captivity!
Anyway, we eventually arrived at Tandjiesview in the district Graaff-Reinet at 14h00, in time for lunch and in time to celebrate Helen Harris’s 50th birthday with the other 80-odd friends and family who gathered there on Saturday evening. Some 35 of us also stayed over on the farm, and we got to share the mountain cottage with Dickie and Colleen Ogilvie.
We woke up to the most spectacular view of the Camdeboo Plains and Tandjiesberg; however, we ourselves certainly didn’t look as good as that view!
And the party continued into Sunday, and we and some of the stragglers only left on Monday afternoon! We went on to Aberdeen for a quick afternoon tea with John and Jean Watermeyer and then to Doorndraai, in the Vlaktes between Aberdeen and Willowmore, for the next three days with Colleen and Dickie.
Doorndraai was the first Karoo farm that I had the privilege of visiting. More and more I’m starting to think that it will also be my last visit.
It rained and rained, and we ate and ate …
And we watched the memorial service for Madiba, and we watched and we watched! I learned so much that I didn’t know before! So many lessons to be learnt from one unbelievable person. So many people around the world whose lives he touched.
Many of us talk the talk, some just walk the walk, but very few – like Madiba – walk the talk.
As human beings, irrespective of race, colour or creed, we have so many things that we have in common and so many things that we have learned along the way – our CULTURE – that makes us so different from each other.
We all celebrate life and death, birthdays and funerals, marriages and “coming of age” parties, friends and family, music and religion, but we do it in such different ways. If only we dedicated more time to learn from each other and to appreciate each other’s cultures.
This afternoon, I have started reading Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom. With my impaired concentration ability and my sight problems, this is going to be a long read to finish!
In the meantime, since coming back from the farm, we attended a “European” style 50th birthday party of Rocco at St George’s Park on Friday and Xolani’s African style wedding in Walmer Township on Sunday.
Celebrations, worlds apart, in our part of this earth which fate has ordained us to share with each other. We have always so easily shared the air, with Nelson’s intervention we learned to share the water, but when it comes to sharing the land, things are not so easy. History will tell us what happens in this regard in the post mourning era!
My status this week on Facebook read:
The World, aloofly and often somewhat judgmentally and disparagingly, simply calls it Africa.
We call it our Home.
This week, from Qunu in our Eastern Cape Veld, we shared our Home with the World – thanks to Tata Madiba.
He transformed our South African Home and made us part of the World.
We are privileged to have lived in his time and shared in his world.
We are obligated to learn from him and to continue his legacy!
Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika (God bless Africa!)
“The first time I was privileged to meet president Mandela was his visit to Malawi, upon his release from prison,” she told mourners.
In 1996, she visited Robben Island and was inspired by Mandela’s story. She later met him at a conference in Botswana in 1997.
“I was inspired by the great leader who was focused, calm and collected.”
She later met Mandela and his wife Graca Machel at their home.
She said she walked into the home and did not expect to see Mandela waiting for her. “My first reaction was to run out,” she said.
Banda said there was a famous picture of Mandela’s widow Graca Machel pulling her back towards Mandela.
“At that moment I did not know I was going to become president of Malawi a few months down the line.”
She acknowledged Mandela’s ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela for standing by him and Machel.
“Women across South Africa have told me these past 10 days that they are very proud of you and what you have taught us as African women.”
Banda said she was amazed by Nelson Mandela’s humility and leadership.
“I was amazed by his humility and his great sense of leadership… Mandela’s character has shaped my life.”
Banda said that after visiting Robben Island in 1996, she had tried to find every book she could about Mandela.
“I was further touched by his life and the story of Tata Mandela. I read and read everything.”
Banda, who is also Southern African Development Community chairwoman, said she was honoured to be able to pay tribute to Mandela.
She told mourners that the moment she became president of Malawi she found herself having to work with people who had opposed her in the past.
It was Mandela who showed her how to become and act like a president, and forgive those who had transgressed.
“That courage and determination… and passion for his people inspired me on the journey to become the first woman president of this region,” Banda said.
“Leadership is about falling in love with the people you serve and about the people falling in love with you. It is about serving the people selflessly, [with] sacrifice and with a need to put common good ahead of personal interest.”
Southern Africa extended a hand of comfort to Mandela’s family, the government of South Africa and all its people in honouring one of its true and irreplaceable sons, she said.
“He is not only a loss to the Republic of South Africa but also to the Southern African Development Community region and the world,” she said.
“And as we celebrate the life of this icon, it is time to take stock of the things that Tata Madiba taught us during his time.”
Mandela believed all people were created equal for good and the way he conducted himself brought the region closer together.
“He championed the freedom of not only South Africans, and all of us Africans. Tata Madiba taught us that even when the challenges… seem insurmountable, with courage and determination you can overcome the evils of our society,” Banda said.
“I join you, people of this rainbow nation, to celebrate a life of one of Africa’s greatest leaders.
“I stand before you to join you, the people of South Africa and the world to mourn the loss a great leader,” she said.
– Your Excellency Mr. Jacob Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa; – Madam Graca Machel; – Mama Winnie Madikizela- Mandela – The Mandela Family; – Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government, and Heads of Delegations; – Distinguished Guests; – Ladies and Gentlemen.
I stand before you today to join you, the people of South Africa, and the world, to mourn the loss of a great leader: Nelson Rohlihlahla Mandela.
I join you, the people of this rainbow nation, to celebrate a life of one of Africa’s unique leaders who gallantly fought for freedom and peace for this great country and the world.
The first time I was privileged to meet Mandela was during his visit to Malawi in 1990, after his release from prison, when he came to meet the late President, Kamuzu Banda. I was amazed with the humility in this great African leader.
In 1996, I was further privileged to be invited to visit Robben Island together with a team from Malawi.
After the tour of Robben Island, I was greatly touched by the life and story of Tata Mandela and since then I sought to know and understand this great son of Africa.
In 1997, I met Tata Mandela at a Conference for Smart Partnership in Kasane, Botswana. I was inspired by this great leader who was focused, calm and collected.
In 2011, I had an opportunity to visit Tata Mandela at his home in Johannesburg. We had a very moving conversation. I was deeply touched by his spirit of forgiveness, his passion to put people first and courage.
These attributes have greatly influenced my life. After three years of isolation, humiliation and name calling, I found myself in a situation where I had to work with those who had desired to prevent me from becoming President of my country. I had to forgive them without effort.
Tata’s courage, determination, love and passion for his people inspired me on my journey to becoming the first elected woman President in my country.
I learned that leadership is about falling in love with the people and the people falling in love with you. It is about serving the people with selflessness, with sacrifice and with the need to put the common good ahead of personal interests.
Today, I stand before you, on behalf of our regional grouping and family, the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), to extend a collective hand of comfort to the Mandela Family, the Government of the Republic of South Africa, the African National Congress and to all South Africans on this irreplaceable loss of one of its true sons, Tata.
The passing on of Tata Mandela is not only a loss to South Africa, but also to the SADC Region, and indeed to the world.
As we celebrate the life of this icon, it is also time to take stock of the things that Tata taught us during his time with us.
I know that much has already been said about Tata by those whose lives have been touched and inspired by his works.
The SADC region will remember him for his wisdom and statesmanship; his humility and sense of humour; and his servant leadership style.
Tata Madiba believed that all people are created equal. The way he conducted himself, he saw no boundaries between and among the countries of the region. He championed the freedom of not only South Africans but also all Africans.
Tata Madiba taught us that even when the challenges of life seem insurmountable, with courage and determination, we can overcome the evils of our societies.
The struggle Tata Madiba led against the apartheid system was not just a struggle against racial inequality, but a struggle against all forms of oppression against humanity; a struggle for democracy and human dignity.
It was the struggle for the emancipation of the youth. It was a struggle for the social security of children.
It was a struggle for the participation of women in politics, in commerce and in high offices.
It was a struggle to overcome poverty. Yes, it was a struggle for Africa’s freedom.
We in the SADC Region will remember Tata as a great reformer who championed the cause of humanity, deepening democracy and dedicated his life to selfless service, a man who worked tirelessly to promote national, regional and world peace.
We in the SADC Region, whilst mourning his death, we also see this as an opportunity to celebrate the life of a great Statesman, an icon from our region. The life of Tata Mandela will continue to inspire those of us left behind, promote peace and security, deepen regional integration and work to support one another as it was during the fight against apartheid. We will strive to emulate Tata Mandela’s stature and spirit so that his legacy can live on.
The ideals of political, social and economic emancipation that he stood for will inspire us forever as a Region.
In conclusion, I believe I am speaking for many within the region. Tata’s words are still echoing in our minds, his call to get millions of our young people in the region decent jobs. His call to get millions of our women and men out of poverty, deprivation and underdevelopment. His call to get food for the hungry, to eradicate preventable diseases, to let people find their voice, and restore their dignity. These words will inspire SADC long after Tata Madiba is gone.
Our Dear Father and compatriot, Tata Nelson Mandela, fought a good fight and he finished the race well.
As an African woman and leader, I wish to acknowledge Mama Winnie Madikizela Mandela for her efforts and steadfastness for standing with Tata Mandela before and during Tata’s imprisonment and for being in the forefront of ANC’s struggle for liberation.
And to you, Mama Graca Machel, I wish to thank you for your visible love and care especially during Tata’s last days.
To both of you, the love and tolerance you have demonstrated before the whole world during the funeral has shown us that you are prepared to continue with Tata’s ideals.
I wish to therefore appeal to all South Africans to remain united and continue to be a rainbow nation for this is what Tata Madiba cherished for.
It is our hope and prayer that South Africa will remain a country of all people regardless of race, colour, religion and tribe. SADC will stand with you and look forward to a continued engagement in our joint efforts to deepen democracy and regional integration.
It is now up to us as leaders, as citizens, as a Continent to continue from where Tata Madiba left, so that his legacy lives on, so that what he stood for, should not die.
May his soul Rest in Peace!
I thank you.
Friday 24 June 2011: 4 years 9 months on … Game ED!
(from the Latin meaning Undefeated or Unconquered)
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
English poet: William Ernest Henley (1849–1903)
At the age of 12, Henley fell victim to tuberculosis of the bone. A few years later, the disease progressed…
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In our generation, we have been privileged to have a Nelson Mandela.
Now we have a Thuli Madonsela ™. She is the Public Protector, and because of her, I can sleep a little bit more securely.
I have been less than complimentary in the past about her appearance and hairstyle. But I have just sat watching her press conference about the leaked Nkandla Report on the alleged abuse of State funds on the President’s private dwelling.
This cookie has courage. And she has the intellect to go with it.
It’s such a pity that we do not have more of her calibre. What a pleasure to listen to someone who can articulate her thoughts, have solid arguments and display a fine knowledge of the legal situation. She even smiles occasionally and presents a veiled sense of humour.
You see, Mr Lunnon, don’t judge a book by its cover. Appearance is not everything.
I hope she sleeps with her eyes open. She will need protection!
She’s got the balls!
Thuli for President ™, I say!