Monday, December 16, 2013

Madiba's garden

"...the Mandela I wish to remember [is] the Mandela who cherished his little garden while in jail.

He loved to plant and reap under the rain and under the sun, knowing that to exercise minimal influence over that small parcel of earth was a way of controlling his dignity and his memories and his loyalty towards his comrades. A man who shared fruit and vegetables with the other prisoners, but also with his guards, anticipating the sort of nation that he dreamt of and desired.

That is how I wish to remember Madiba.

Like a garden that grows as if it were made of memories. Like a garden that grows like justice needs to grow. Like a garden that reconciles us to existence and death and irreperable loss. Like a garden that grows, as Mandela must now grow inside all of us, inside this realm that he helped create and that will have to find a way to remain faithful to his life and legacy."

(With thanks to my cousin Andrea who steered me to this essay published in The Sunday Times last week, written by Ariel Dorfman, the Argentine-Chilean writer and human rights activist.)


  1. Someone said recently that if members of Congress were required to go out early every morning and tend to a garden, there would more cooperation among its members: more humility.

  2. Thank you for sharing this, Marie.

  3. A lovely way to remember him. To that, I add my memories of other prisoners of conscience, then and now.
    May the strength of Madiba last.

  4. What beautiful and wise words to start off this week.

    xo J

  5. I'm tearing up now. Those are lovely words that capture the soulfulness of gardening.

  6. Makes perfect sense. Thank you for sharing this Marie.

  7. Thank you for sharing. A good start to the week and something to keep in mind always.


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