The day that South Africa had been expecting, but dreading for so long, has finally come.
Despite not being in the public eye for a number of years, he will obviously be greatly missed and it’s a hugely sad day for everyone here. The apotheosis of Madiba – obviously accentuated today by this morning’s news – by the South African public is incredible to see, especially from an outsider’s point of view.
It has reminded me that although I live here and although I love this country, I’m not South African. And yet I find myself feeling shocked, numb, sad this morning. It’s impossible not to. For those in the UK who are wondering what things are like here today, it’s the equivalent of a hundred – a thousand – Dianas. But while that’s the only event in my lifetime that I can compare it to, paradoxically, it’s also somewhat incomparable. It speaks volumes that Madiba’s death, though it has been inevitable for so long now, something that – given the previous false alarms and scares – people here had probably felt that they were prepared for, has still sent shockwaves of grief through us all.
Life goes on – it has to. But there’s something very different about things today.