Today is Nelson Mandela’s 94th birthday. I remember the day he was released from prison perfectly. I remember how happy I was to think he was free. Thinking of all he has done in the ensuing years, since that day, is truly beyond inspiring. Would that the world had more people like Mandela.
South Africa has gone through numerous changes in the past 18 years. Nelson Mandela was freed 18 years ago; peaceful democratic elections were held in 1994 and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission went a long way toward healing wounds post-apartheid; and South Africa has become a vibrant democracy with a lively tourist industry. South Africa has been courting tourists for many years, primarily pushing its host of flora and fauna as the prime attraction. Things have changed, though, and South African food and wine have become a real draw. Winemaking is not new to South Africa. The country has been producing wines since 1659.
I have the privilege of being friends with one lovely South African winemaker, Ntsiki Biyela. I’m thinking of her today and all the South Africans that Mandela has helped directly and so many of us that he has inspired around the world. Happy birthday Madiba.