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Nancy Omaha Boy: The passing of Nelson Mandela, a tribal man

Filed Under: Opinion
More on: nancy omaha boy, nelson mandela

Nancy Omaha Boy reflects on the passing of Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa:
When I met Nelson Mandela in 2000, I was overwhelmed by the deep spiritual presence he exuded. I could not see him from my seat in the front row when he entered the large, crowded room from the back, but I could feel it. The presence of Spirit was powerful as this humble man made his way to the front, sitting only a few feet directly in front of me.

He was everything I could imagine. He had a continence of total integrity, a man fully in control of himself and a supreme example of humanism. Did he actually glow? No longer President, he still was up to date on events and welcomed my group of educators warmly and personally, discussing the state of education and higher education in South Africa. He spoke factually about the role our host university had played as a stronghold for apartheid discrimination only years before, but honestly and warmly congratulating the University President on its turnaround and true friendship he now felt. His love and appreciation was genuine and apparent to all present. He showed us how to mend fences within our own institutions.

I was able to speak alone with him after the event. Although I had brought copies of his biography and autobiography to sign, I had the wisdom to not ask a man of his spiritual bearing for his autograph as though he were merely famous and not the epitome of grace and right living. Instead I thanked him for being a bright light to the world as the hands of God, giving his personal life for so many years to all of us who wish to make this a much better and kinder world. He has brought us all together with the example of his own life by showing us how to implement higher values in the toughest of circumstances without meanness and retribution. Surely we could do this in our own little corners of the world.

And then he turned from me with great joy shining on his smiling face as a youth choir at the back of the room began singing the beautiful harmonious traditional songs for which South Africa’s native people are so famous. He beamed his appreciation at them during their entire concert. Typically, at the end of their performance he shook hands with each of them, thanking them for the joy they had personally given to all of us. His spiritual mastery was in uniting people in good and realizing their personal contribution to making the world a better place.

Get the Story:
Nancy Omaha Boy: The Day I Met Nelson Mandela (Indian Country Today 12/26)

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