Nelson Mandela in his long walk to freedom transcended all cultural, gender, racial, political and religious affiliation. That’s why he was able to bring a unity and a oneness the scale of which is incredibly rare in our world. In a sense he belonged to all, yet was owned by none. In him there was no “us” and “them.” In his life and example he demonstrated the kind of humanity our world is desperately calling for.
I would hope that as we celebrate his life and pay tribute to him in these coming days, that this universality of his presence will be uppermost in all we do and say, because herein lies his greatness. His roots cannot be denied and must be celebrated, but his greatness, his impact and person-hood goes well beyond them. Ultimately, he belongs to the world and an unseen universal reality we know very little of.