‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’ in the movies brought back memories of my time in South Africa’s Capetown in 1999. I was invited to a wedding (friends of my brother getting married there) at a time when I was at a turning point in my life. The sight of the Table Mountain resting against the sky of the big screen, recalled the view from the very edge of it, where I beheld my first impression of the world’s end. Oceans stretched out in almost every direction as far as my eyes could see and the earth was certainly round according to its horizon.
I must have been asleep for most of my life ‘til then, as the extent of the struggles of this country and its people had not hit me, in the remarkable way that it did, until after I read that book. A visit to Robben Island brought it strikingly home and from there I brought with me Nelson Mandala’s ‘Long Walk To Freedom’.
Weddings are fun occasions and I was fortunate to be included amongst this merry group of souls. It was also a time of contemplation, a breathing space because this was the beginning of my long walk to personal freedom. To read about a man whose vision helped to overturn what seemed like impossibilities, put things in a new perspective for me.
At last, I had a role model, proof that my own little struggles, which seemed big at the time, could also be overturned. I determined to be clear about my own vision and apply the same integrity and belief as this man did no matter how long it took to achieve my goal. I am so grateful to this wonderful man whose soul has now returned to an even freer state of being.
As part of the wedding festivities, our group took an impromptu cruise in Capetown’s magical harbour just before sunset. Laughter eased and silence descended as we took our favourite spots on board the yacht and absorbed the bowing out of our solar systems greatest (and only) star.
The sun slipping below the sky and water casting waves of orange and scarlet ribbons in our direction, sub-dued us even more. As the last peep of it seeped away and those waves darkened to a murky realm, I turned to face the harbour once more. I was charmed at once. While our sun was staging its finale, the city behind us had been arranging it’s after party.
That is when I took my pen from my pocket and began to write this poem.
I can see it,
I can almost touch it,
But I can feel it,
It’s flashing pulse reaching out,
In a charming ring of light;
Now comes the night
© Caroline Cunningham 1999
Still walking the long walk….but getting places….
Copyright Caroline Cunningham 2014