Madiba Day (18 July 2015)

By Aaron Whelan

Aaron entertaining the children at Mpho Kunou on Madiba Day

Aaron entertaining the children at Mpho Kunou on Madiba Day

Yesterday was Madiba Day, a day dedicated to celebrate the life and work of South Africa’s first black president and father of the new South Africa, what he liked to call the rainbow nation.

Walking any street in South Africa be it in Johannesburg or in the squatter camps of Freedom Park and Mpho Khunou show us every spectrum of this rainbow nation. You see Blacks, Whites, Chinese, and Arabs, practicing every religion imaginable, hailing from hundreds of tribes and lands, speaking any number of South Africa’s eleven official languages or their own native tongues.

You might ask what could unite this melting pot of diversity, and I would say love of the man who loved them all. A man who loved their differences for they made this nation like no other in the world. A man they know most affectionately as Madiba.

Of course not everyone shares this love of diversity and most recently you will have seen scenes of xenophobic murder and violence across South Africa flash across your television screens.

But I found none of this on Madiba day and amid extreme poverty, wealth inequality and the HIV/AIDs pandemic which still plagues this nation I hope the people and future leaders of South Africa will honour Mandela by making this rainbow nation so bright and beautiful with tolerance and understanding that it will span the globe.