Remember the Life of Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela has left the planet. It is, at the time of writing, slightly more raw than the long-rehearsed curtains-down on 95 years ought to be. To South Africans like me, he has long been the man who held up the sky. Who will hold it up now?
Over the next few days, weeks, there will be a torrent of equally long-rehearsed, finely-pitched, predictably excellent journalism to commemorate him. This is not that. It is not “the Mandela I knew.” It is not “the Jesus of Soweto.” It is not meant to add to the coming scree of well-meaning hagiography.
Instead, it’s a bit of an antidote. A life story chopped into a few interesting lesser-known facts, the odder revealing moments, personal things, designed to give a flavor of the real man above the Morgan Free-man he’d become. To penetrate if possible through the reek of incense that is about to envelop our secular saint, towards something more measured, but perhaps all the more human for that.