Dec 17, 2013

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MEDITATION: Like rain on the fields

MEDITATION: Like rain on the fields

May the king be like rain on the fields, like showers falling on the land (Psalm 72:6)

I was privileged to sing in the well known Libertas choir for a year.

Like many others during his lifetime I was also, during that year, honoured to share a special moment with our late and former president Nelson Mandela.

It happened when he visited the University of Stellenbosch for the first time after his release from prison in 1990. As could be expected the people of Stellenbosch went out of their way to receive this special guest with style, dignity, gratitude and warm hospitality.

The well know Endler hall was at the time packed with specially invited guests, while the majority of the academic staff and other dignitaries sat on the stage. The choir took up their position behind them from where they could face the audience and sing some welcoming songs, shortly before the official ceremony was to start.

All went smoothly and according to plan, until the choir sang their last song – a wonderful and moving Xhosa hymn. While singing this song the choir usually moved rhythmically along as is traditionally done in the Xhosa culture.

Without any hesitation and while most dignitaries looked up in astonishment and wonder, the former president gently put his books and programme aside, stood up slowly, went over to the choir and with a broad smile on his face, started to dance along with them.

It was a magical moment.

But that was Madiba. Like all great leaders he did unexpected and uncommon things – things which often surprised and disarmed people, making the world around him a better and more humane place

He represented and embodied the type of king who David and his people longed for so desperately during times of hurt and suffering. A king who could be for his people like rain on the fields, like showers falling on the land (Ps 72:6).

For being that to his people we shall always remember and honour Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

Carel Anthonissen

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