Rest easy Nelson Mandela. At least his death will mean never having to do those terrible photo ops of late where he seemed to have little control over events. The pictures of the ghastly hand gripping by President Jacob Zuma sends a shudder down the spine.

The death of Mandela brings back memories of the long struggle for universal suffrage in South Africa, and the end of racist legislation such as the Pass Laws.

For me, the death of Steve Biko stands out, murdered in 1977 by authorities while in police custody. The perseverance of people such as John Minto, who was vilified for his consistent stance, also needs to be noted.

Murphy's Law but when Mandela died, Minto was doing the Tongariro Crossing and couldn't be contacted for three days.


Biko paid with his life for his struggle against apartheid, a crime which is as staggering as much for its arrogance as its brutality. If cometh the hour cometh the man is appropriate to Mandela it is also time to acknowledge the price paid by people like Biko.

And Mandela was no saint. His chauvinism was recognised and he has acknowledged his family was not a priority. There has also been talk of a bit of a temper. But his reputation will stay intact because he truly deserves the accolades. Very few people do.

Considering his incarceration for 27 years and the tragedies in his personal life, we can be grateful in the latter years he seems to have found much personal happiness with his marriage to Graca Machel. He had a long life, but it is that walk to freedom out of Victor Verster Prison in February 1990 that stays in the mind. In 1994 it was matched by the extraordinary efforts of South Africans to reach polling stations to vote in their first democratic election. South Africa is not tearing itself up over the death of Mandela. It is rather celebrating a phenomenal life, as it should be. APN News & Media