On February 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela was freed from prison after 27 years. On that day I was working in my air conditioned office in a tiny African town - you really could not call it a town but it is in fact the capital city of this tiny state which we call Paradise.
Here, I was reinventing the wheel every day anew with a group of friendly but cautious young men and women who I am sure mostly laughed at all my efforts but greatly enjoyed my tales of life in Europe. I loved them all and some of them actually liked me back. When the news finally made the rounds - remember, no internet and no daily newspapers, just two hours of daily radio messages in the mornings (if you had a radio) and three hours of Cosby show reruns for the wealthy with TV sets on Sundays - it was like a wave. Small first, whispers, incredulous looks, shaking of heads etc. until eventually one of the embassy drivers pushed open the big glass door to the building and marched right up to my desk shouting: Mandela is back, heh you, what do you say now? And people started smiling, shyly, never showing too much emotion in front of a white woman, but when I let out my great cheer, we all clapped each other on the back and even hugged and sure enough, some Bob Marley tape was found and I went out and organised beer and samosas for all.
He will be missed. Such a good memory you've captured here.ReplyDelete
Thank you for that memory. It is more poignant than almost anything else I've read.ReplyDelete
What a wonderful memory to sustain one in these sad days following his death.ReplyDelete
This belongs on a front page somewhere.ReplyDelete