Let us honor him while he still lives. Let him feel our praise and gratitude, and let it warm him in his final days, weeks, or years. Let’s not wait until he passes and then knee-jerk release tributes and archival, grainy black-and-white footage and say nice things about him and then forget him as our news cycles on, and on, and on.
For Madiba is a special one, a hero, a man who overcame his own anger, a man who combined the best of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., to become his nation’s Moses, or George Washington, setting enlightened precedents so that the fate of a nation might learn to smile, so that thousands or poor and conflicted boys and girls might stand a chance at a life of peace and joy.
Oh, Madiba, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
He showed us the way past hatred and prejudice and fixed ideas, to humanity and heart and sad joy. He himself is most thoroughly human—not a god, not perfect, but better: a hero, a true servant of the people.
His life story:
From this summer:
His inauguration speech:
His 1994 speech (an excerpt):