There has never been a bigger example of stating the obvious than this. Mandela is dead. We all know it. We all feel it. Another legend's gone. I feel as bad as I did when Diana died, and when Theresa died and when John Paul died. I ignore their titles because let's face it, titles don't exactly make the great crossing with you. There aren't as many of them as there once were and that's a shame because we could use a few more. We could always use a few more. Or maybe we just haven't seen the next crop of them. All the legends I just listed peaked in the nineties and as a child of the nineties, they're special to me. The nineties were a mood. The nineties were Sex and the City. The nineties were early and new conversations. At the end of the nineties, I was only nine, but I was a part of it even though I did not understand the events that would make me feel connected to it a decade and a bit later.
Mandela became president when I was four. Diana died on a Sunday while I sat on a rickety stool at our breakfast bar in the apartment we used to live in. I fell off it when I heard. I can't quite say why. It could be because she took my death virginity. It was more like death rape to be honest. I didn't consent to hearing that bit of news. Theresa died five days after. There was no shock value to be had then, I was already used to the concept. John Paul kept on until 2005. His death in my mind is mixed with imagined scenes from the Da Vinci code and Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. Now it's 2013, and Mandela's gone. The only legends of my childhood left are Clinton, Tutu and my Grandfather. They were my more realistic super heroes. They were my ninja turtles and my avengers. They were the people that did everything in their power to make the world even slightly better.
During Obama's speech at Madiba's memorial service, he said that there would never be another like him. I disagree. To say that there will never be another like him is to halve his legacy and trivialise it. There will be others. There will be several. I know this just as I know that the sun will come up tomorrow.
Sitting at my desk remembering,