The peaceful departure of a soul – Nelson Mandela’s very last day

This is an extract from the revised second edition of Dennis Cruywagen’s book ‘The Spiritual Mandela’.
On the last day of Mandela’s life, 5 December 2013, following a long and painful illness, it was the presence of his grandson, Mandla, by his side that helped to ease his passing. That day, Mandla, who was in Qunu at the time, had a deep conviction that he had to fly to Johannesburg to visit his grandfather.
When he entered Mandela’s Houghton residence, Mandla went up to the bedroom where Mandela was lying unconscious, as he had been for weeks. Just a few moments later, Machel joined them. She came in quietly and sat in a chair near the two men, listening as Mandla talked to his grandfather.
Mandla spoke to Mandela for about an hour and a half, recalling his memories of their time together, and emphasising how significant Mandela had been ‘in shaping the person that I’ve become. Without him, I would have never been able to achieve half of the things that I [have],’ Mandla says.
Mandla wanted his grandfather to know that he had done everything that was necessary to make him a man capable of taking care of himself. He then began naming members of the family who had already passed, including Mandela’s children, siblings and parents, and concluded with a call to Mandela to join his mother, Nosekeni, in the afterlife.
‘Today I release you to your mother,’ Mandla said to his grandfather, ‘for she brought you into this world. I send you back to her. That umbilical cord that was cut, let it today be joined so that the ancestors of this family can welcome you into the next life and the superior being.’
Attempting to reach out
When Mandla uttered these words, his grandfather started to stir, surprising Machel. She watched as Mandela nodded and tried to say something, his lips moving silently, before attempting to reach out for his grandson’s hand. Mandla held onto Mandela’s hand, feeling ‘really satisfied because I felt that I had done what I had come to do on that particular day’.
He shares the memory of this special occasion with his Aunt Graça, who – along with the doctors present in the room at the time – was visibly moved by the exchange between the two Mandela men. Soon afterwards, her husband’s organs began to fail.
Mandla had already left the house at this point, but he received ...
18 Dec 2022 2PM English South Africa News · Leisure

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