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Mandela rises again

December 16th, 2013
03:02 PM ET

By Lucky Gold, CNN

Imagine a world where a great leader is laid to rest one day, only to rise again the next.

No, it's not a bible story.

It took place today in South Africa, after Nelson Mandela was buried in his ancestral village of Qunu on Sunday, carried to his grave in a flag draped coffin, as helicopters flew in tribute overhead.

And today, a giant bronze statue to this giant of a man who conquered apartheid was unveiled in Pretoria in front of the Union Buildings, the seat of government, where he delivered his inaugural address as South Africa's first black president – and first democratically elected president – back in 1994.

The statue had long been planned to celebrate these 20-years of democracy.

But the date of its unveiling is significant. December 16 has always been charged with history and meaning for South Africans.

On that date, back in 1838, Dutch-speaking Afrikaans defeated the Zulus at the aptly named battle of Blood River – establishing white minority rule that lasted over a hundred and fifty years.

But in 1994, with the fall of apartheid, December 16 was transformed into "the day of reconciliation" – celebrated as a national holiday ever since by all South Africans.

And now, the day has taken on new meaning, thanks to the man who helped bury apartheid – never to rise again.

soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Sanusi Saleh Minjibir

    Nelson Mandela was a great man, I am really heartbroken by his death may his forgiving soul rest in peace. If all African leaders will be like him, Africa would have been a better place.

    December 16, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Reply
  2. Emmanuel Johnson

    Apart from Mary Slessor,Mandela is the second person that really help in transforming Africa

    December 16, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Reply
  3. magdalene

    mandela was a great leader...wish atleast our african leaders can adopt 1% of his leadership...Africacan be a changed continent...May his soul rest in peace

    December 17, 2013 at 1:15 am | Reply

    Madiba is really a great man, that sacrificed his life for the betterment of South Africans, which brought an end to the Apartheid era. He deserved to be celebrated and emulated by all contemporary leaders. His death meant alot to the world, at least it unified the globe and signified peace and forgiveness.

    December 17, 2013 at 9:26 am | Reply
  5. Obinna dike

    Mandela did all that he could to make nigeria a better place today, so the least we can do is thank him for all he had done for us.

    December 20, 2013 at 10:08 am | Reply
  6. Samson Yusuf

    Hmmm...all i've to say is to pray God grant the great leader who fought a good fight for S'africa and the globe,great eternal rest in heaven.

    December 20, 2013 at 11:58 am | Reply
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