Thursday, November 7, 2013

Rest in Peace Nelson Mandela

In June 1990, 4 months after his release from prison, a co-worker and I  wanted to witness Mr. Mandela's visit to Montreal.  He gave his speech on Champ-de-Mars near City Hall.
We left early for the one hour+ drive to town.  We absolutely needed to find parking near City Hall.  The lucky find was on a street along a steep grassy mound.  On top of this mound was the field behind City Hall on which they had build a podium for Mr. Mandela's appearance.   We, like hundreds of other people, climbed the mound as high as we could to be able to see Mr. Mandela as he spoke.  We could hear him but as much as we stretched our necks, we could not see him.  As we were standing there, happy to be that close but stretching to see, I felt a tap on my back.  As I turned, I faced a man.  I can't remember his face.  He was kind and strong and I got to sit on his shoulders. I was allowed to see what I could hear.  I was able to observe Mr. Mandela's conversation with us for a little while.
My notes indicate that he was saying something along the lines of the whites not being the enemy in the fight of apartheid and that we are all facing a common front against racial oppression.


marja-leena said...

What a special memory to treasure. How fortunate that you were able to hear - and see! this exceptional man.

Roderick Robinson said...

Ellena: What an ironic location - Champ-de-Mars - given Mandela's view of life.

I see you use the honorific - Mr - throughout. This is just as eloquent as your described experience. In recent years that styling has lost a certain amount of its quality, but you have revived it. Congratulations.

Ellena said...

Marjaa-Leena and Mr.RR
Thank you for coming by.

mike M said...

A lovely tribute.