He Lived Among Us

Tribute to Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

By Wayne Visser

He lived among us –
This child named Rolihlahla
This boy called Nelson
This man we knew as Mandela –
And now he is gone
 
He shared our days –
This son of Africa, our Madiba
This father of a nation, our Tata
This guardian of humanity, our Elder –
And now he is gone
 
He was one of us –
This shepherd of the people
This harbinger of hope and joy
This legend of our time and place –
And now he is gone
 
He was our leader
Our defender, our nation’s spear
And he showed us how to fight
 
He was our enemy
Our nemesis, our conscience
And he showed us how to be free
 
He was our light
Our sun, our inspiration
And he showed us how to forgive
 
Yet did we ever really know him?
This lawyer who became an outlaw
This soldier who became a peacemaker
This prisoner who became a liberator
 
How can we fathom his depths?
This father who lost a son and wife
This comrade who lost so many friends
This martyr who lost twenty-seven years
 
How can we see into his heart?
This intellectual who became an activist
This statesman who became a gardener
This icon who became the world’s beloved
 
We remember him
For his skilful manoeuvring
Through the political maze
And even more for his love of dancing
 
We remember him
For his human touch
Among the powerful and the powerless
And even more for his love of children
 
We remember him
For his human foibles
That made him fallible like us
And even more for his love of justice
 
He lived among us –
And now it is for us to carry his torch onward
It is for us to follow his shining example
It is for us to fight for his unshakeable ideals –
Now that he is gone
 
He shared our days –
And now we must make the rest of our days count
We must work as he did to set others free
We must show that the spirit can triumph in the end –
Now that he is gone
 
He was one of us –
And now we are challenged to become one of him
We are inspired to be the best we can be
We are reminded that ‘I am because we are’ –
Now that he is gone
 
Nkosi Sikelel’ iMandela!
We will honour his memory
By never losing faith in times of adversity
We will celebrate his life
By always daring to hope for a miracle
We will keep his legacy alive
By choosing to walk daily in his footsteps
On the path of love
Amandla! Awethu!

 

Wayne Visser © 2013

 

Download

 Pdf He Lived Among Us (poem)

Related pages

 Page I Am An African (book)

Share this page