This week Ailsa challenges us to use the idea of symbols as the basis for a post. Her inspiration came from listening to all the tributes pouring in from all around the world for Nelson Mandela, the first president of the unified Rainbow Nation of South Africa.
I am a South African who lived through the whole transition period. I can recall where I was and what I was doing when the great man was released from prison. I recall those first democracy elections.
One symbol that will always stand out for me is the South African flag. The new flag, if I remember correctly, was only supposed to be an interim symbol. Well, there is little else that captures the essence of the Rainbow as well as the flag. There is meaning to each and every colour… there is joy in the flag, it speaks of peace, harmony and a brighter future for all South Africans.
There is nothing that links me with my past in the country of my birth as much as seeing the SA Flag flying. May it be against the blue sky of Africa or these days the often grayer skies of Ireland. When I glimpse the flag it stirs emotion.
Madiba was a man of immense integrity. A man of peaceful forgiveness. He knew how to inspire… to lead, to uplift the human spirit. This post will show just a tiny insight into what the flag means. What I also hope to convey is the feeling I got on the day… the flag is a symbol for all South Africans… of all backgrounds. That was Nelson Mandela… a man of the people, for the people. All the people.
The photos were taken at this year’s Dublin Marathon. It was a special moment each and every time I spotted the flag. Let’s hope the celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life will again rekindle in the hearts and minds the ethos of forgiveness and peace in the hearts of so many millions of South Africans who have drifted away from the concept of the unity of the Rainbow Nation as symbolised by the flag.