Provence sabbatical day 8 – the brightest star in the African sky

The alarm clock ensured we didn’t miss our event of the winter: the arrival of the chimney sweeps. And then on checking emails, we learned that Madiba, father of the Rainbow Nation, had passed away.

Life goes on. Stop the Clock.

There’s nothing like being welcomed by a room flooded with sunlight.
And then learning about the death of a beloved World Leader 🙁
Even when you want to stop the clock, life insists you carry on …

The chimney sweeps were prompt, courteous, professional and cleaned up after themselves. I thought our (screeding) vacumn cleaner had it tough, but with all that soot, theirs is far worse-off. Most importantly, they left us a little piece of paper giving us peace of mind to build fires.

I managed to clean up the window frames for Pen’s bedroom, thanks to the tips and chisels from my carpenter (he’s a man of many talents). Marcel planed the bedroom windows, so we can close them at night, and hopefully stop that icy chill down our necks. He also got the guest bathroom shutter prepped for my green paintbrush – with some pretty spectacular flying sparks.

A visit to Mr. Bricolage was necessary … to get replacement window panes. One was broken, and then I broke another two!! 🙁 Argh. Lessons learned. Luckily it cost less than a tenner, including a spare. The photo of the Lada is for my brother-in-law, Dave. He owned one of the beauties for a while and loved it. Dude, I get it!

Waiting for the the chicken curry to simmer it’s magic, I settled in to read online tributes and pay my own farewell to the great man.

I remember watching a video of my favourite South African legend, Johnny Clegg a.k.a. the “White Zulu” singing his tribute song about Madiba, when Tata appeared on staged and danced along. Smiling and full of cheer he said, “It is music and dancing, that makes me at peace with the world. And at peace with myself” and then teased the audience for not dancing along. Another favourite quote, “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.

I was in South Africa when Nelson Mandela was set free. The racial tension was incredible, but it never lead to civil war. We didn’t know how much he was doing … my favourite moment of “Madiba Magic” was during the 1995 World Cup. As good as they are, the All Blacks never stood a chance; not when Madiba stunned everyone by wearing the green-and-gold jersey to welcome the teams. Unheard of in the country’s white-dominated sport. If you haven’t seen Invictus, do yourself a favour. When he and Pienaar lifted the trophy, my heart couldn’t contain my pride, affection, love and compassion. I hyperventilated for the first time in my life. Wow, what a combination of emotions.

Madiba, thank you for your ability to unite and inspire people of all walks of life, regardless of colour, creed, status or intention. And not just in South Africa but around the world.

My prayer is that South Africa can look to the brightest star in the African sky to see clearly, live compassionately, and follow in the footsteps of one of life’s greatest humanitarians.

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