Everyone it seems has a Nelson Mandela story to tell and so do I, although I am very sad I never got the opportunity to actually meet him in the flesh I am happy to say that he ate our cake.
Way back in 1993, just after I had opened Lollipops in Yeoville a young woman came into the shop. I wasn’t there at the time but she spoke to my mom about having a cake made. She said she had been to a few places and they had all refused to make the cake or couldn’t make it for whatever reason. My mom turned around and said that she thought it would be no problem to make, but what was the cake? The lady replied that she wanted a cake that was half the ANC flag and half the flag of Quebec, Canada.
She also said that she wanted the cake because Nelson Mandela was coming for lunch and she wanted to present the cake to him. We took the order. When I heard this I had to laugh, who was this woman, was she nuts and why on earth would Nelson Mandela be coming to her for lunch? Regardless, I instructed the baker to make the cake and as luck would have it I wasn’t there when the cake was collected so I couldn’t get my questions answered. A couple of weeks went by and the same lady came to the shop and dropped off the picture you see above. I could have slapped myself.
The young woman is Jay Naidoo’s wife, the older her mom and the man in the pic, well his face speaks for itself. Nelson Mandela, then the future president of SA, had gone to the Naidoo’s for lunch.
Yesterday, Sunday, we went to Houghton to pay our respects. I have to say it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I can only say that I am grateful and privileged to have lived through the changes that have come about in this beautiful country.
It felt quite fitting that we had to park a few blocks away and walk to the house, in fact as we were walking towards the house a young boy and his father passed us walking back to their car and we overheard the little guy say, dad, it is a long walk, just like The Long Walk to Freedom. Yes, that is exactly how it felt, the long walk to the house felt like part of the journey and added to the overall experience.
I have seen comments posted by people, that I am friends with, who wonder why all this fuss over an ex terrorist. I can only feel sad for them because they have obviously missed the point and have yet to move forward from their sheltered points of view, particularly since you do not have to actually be a fan of Nelson Mandela to honour the man for his courage, his strength of character and for his magnanimous generosity. I personally was and still am a fan, I think he was one incredible human being.
People dancing, people singing, the atmosphere was alive, electric, the vibe almost carnival. It was not an atmosphere of mourning but one of rejoicing, people celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela, the Father of The Nation
For me, my long walk through Houghton yesterday felt amazing. To walk amongst white, black, Indian, to hear almost every language under the sun spoken and to have interacted with these people was an honour.
Scenes From Houghton, The Home of Nelson Mandela on Sunday 8th December 2013
Scenes from 98 Oxford Road, Blue Moon Communications