Has there ever been a day like this?
Presidents, former presidents, prime ministers, heads of states, very, very important people from across the globe. Actors, actresses, princes, sports stars…name it, and they’re gathered under one proverbial roof. And alongside them, the poor, the common citizens, the beggars and the street vendors.
And the family.
And a global audience, most probably one of the biggest of all times.
Not that people will only unite to pay respects and to share grief at the passing of Nelson Mandela. Yes, that is important and necessary. The country, the world, owes the Mandela family every kind word directed at Madiba’s legacy today. Choirs will sing, eulogies will praise and cameras will focus on tears and bent heads, slumped shoulders.
May this day mean much, much more than that. If communist, capitalist, democrat and despot can gather to voice a common emotion: may it then be the seed of more to come. I don’t want to declare Madiba dead and gone. Yes, his body will be laid to rest – but the values he tried to instill in those around him, must live on. It may not be allowed to lay in state and then disappear. And may that spirit awaken a new sense of responsibility, commitment and compassion in all who share in the sad event today.
Nelson Mandela’s message to us today cannot be printed. It should not be necessary. His message starts where words fail to express the wish for a better future. His message is bigger than words. It needs no ears.
It needs hearts – the deep understanding of what it means to be human – to hear Madiba today. That’s why my prayer is that the world will hear the unspoken words – because I think the message is so big, so overwhelming, that we simply have not invented the words to express something as big as this.