Since early summer, Nelson Mandela has been in and out of the hospital. At 94, he is suffering from a host of maladies that are common to the aging process. Like all of us, he is dying, but at a somewhat accelerated pace.
As the poets suggest— in every person's passing we are all diminished. And in Mandela’s case, his death not only diminishes us as a species, but it could also radically effect the political landscape of a country he loves and literally helped create.
Many political observers feel that Mandela’s passing will remind the people of South Africa of two unassailable facts: that real progress has been made, and how much there is yet to be done. Today, thanks in great part to Mandela’s political and economic initiatives as well as his moral leadership, South Africa is on the mend. Unemployment has been cut in half, discrimination in housing, education, and health care have been addressed head on. Tourism has radically increased. And, South Africa is now a serious player in the global marketplace.