With the passing of Nelson Mandela, many of us are left with heavy hearts, and a question that sits just as heavily - what now?
Mandela famously fought the force of Apartheid - an Afrikaans word meaning 'the status of being apart.' But his legacy will not necessarily be focused on his fight against separation. Instead it may be on his struggle for human togetherness, the realisation of Ubuntu, a word meaning 'I am, because you are, because we are.'
As Mandela explained, "In the old days when we were young, and a traveler comes through a country, he didn't have to ask for food or water. When he stops, the people give him food and water."
What would it be like to live in such a country in these days? No questions. No checks. Just an outstretched hand of compassion because we recognise all our destinies, regardless of our background, are intertwined.
Martin Luther King shared this vision: "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character."
What would it be like to live in such a nation on this day?
Mandela realised his dream through deep moral courage, and reaching beyond the limiting ideas of being apart, towards a vision of being together.
The Mahatma, meaning Great Soul, and messenger Mandela has passed, but his message lives on through all of us. Whenever we confront words, policies, ideas that seek to place us in a status of being apart, may we have the courage and imagination to stand up for our fellow travellers. What now? It's up to all of us.
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