My soul is full of longing
For the secret of the Sea,
Sends a thrilling pulse through me.
The Secret of the Sea – Henry Wadsworth
I’ve spent quite a few
hours in the past week mindlessly staring at the movement of the Atlantic Ocean. I normally live on the edge of the same ocean some 21 degrees of latitude to the north, but I don’t do this at
home. I stopped just gazing out at the ocean for hours about six weeks after I moved in.
Sure, I still look up out
of curiosity when a container ship passes too close by the house for my liking. Every time I see a submarine slink in or out of the harbour I think of the U-boats and the net spanned …
He was as human as the rest of us – discarded his first wife, made many decisions and actions
that he no doubt regretted, was deeply disappointed in many things and people, but was a man of incredible strength and charisma. I loved how charmed he was by young women when he came out of prison,
an old man – with dignity and affection. I met him shortly after he came out of prison – the company I worked for at the time, in Johannesburg, had worked very actively to support the campaign to
legalise the ANC and for the release of Mandela and the other political prisoners, and he came to our head office to show his respects. I shook his hand – a very soft hand, to the touch. We had a
crisis behind the scenes – a white young woman – seriously right-winger, had brought a hand gun to work – she was isolated and immobilised very quickly. She could have become a Wilkes-Booth, Oswald
or a Nathuram Godse.
And I remember how the black women on staff all danced, ululated and clapped their hands – I don’t know how to ululate, but I danced and sang with them – what a magical time it was!
One must be careful not to place frail
humans on impossible pedestals, but he certainly has become an icon of what is noble and honourable in human kind.