I wonder if it was like this 2,000 years ago. If it was, when Jesus died, Pontius Pilate would have appeared on Sky News moments after the cross was taken down and said "The world mourns today a man of great integrity. It was an honour to have known him, and even when I sentenced him to crucifixion, he showed great forgiveness, and that shows what a great figure he was."
In the modern age, we mark the passing away of world-famous figureheads not by our personal connection to their messages, or how our lives were affected by their action, but so often by the 'where I was when I heard' moment. For previous generations, it was the moment when JFK was shot or John Lennon gunned down. For mine, when Princess Diana died, and now the sad passing of Nelson Mandela. Except of course, that's not really the case with Madiba. As Jon Snow most eloquently wrote this week, "The impact of his death will reach far beyond the frontiers of South Africa. There will be tears, but celebration for one of the most remarkable lives of our time."
Nelson Mandela's legacy shouldn't be left in the hands of hypocrite politicians, 'global leaders', millionaires and moronic celebrities who seek to bathe in the light that he left behind him, and his funeral shouldn't become a Hello-style watch-the-celebrity event that obscures the struggle he fought so bravely.
I arrived at the Robben Island prison on a wintry and cold day and was escorted to my prison cell in B-Section from the admissions section by a fellow comrade and prisoner, Tokyo Sexwale. By then, Nelson Mandela had been removed to Victor Verster Prison outside Cape Town in preparation for his release... Other prisoners and comrades beamed at my presence and welcomed me very warmly and it was almost by-the-way that one of the remarked that I was allocated the cell from which someone famous had departed - a Mr Nelson Mandela.
Dear revisionists, Mandela will never, ever be your minstrel. Over the next few days you will try so, so hard to make him something he was not, and you will fail... Well, try hard as you like, and you'll fail. Because Mandela was about politics and he was about race and he was about freedom and he was even about force, and he did what he felt he had to do and given the current economic inequality in South Africa he might even have died thinking he didn't do nearly enough of it.
Celebrating a life can lighten the pain of loss - sharing special moments of meaning, private and public. Mixing numbness, heart break, tears of pain and the longing to hold, talk, see, hear the other just on more time with pride, joy and gratitude for what we have experienced with and because of the other, who has gone.
Over two decades after his "walk to freedom", Nelson Mandela has walked his final mile. The impact of his death will reach far beyond the frontiers of South Africa. There will be tears, but celebration for one of the most remarkable lives of our time. Madiba, as he was fondly known, leaves us with a memory of the best in public life to which any human can aspire. His signal contribution to humankind, the embrace and sustaining of forgiveness for his own, and for his people's oppression.