'We honour granddad in our own lives'

THERE have been odes, tributes and stories about Nelson Mandela.

Many have spoken about Nelson Mandela the politician. but, we have the benefit of knowing both the politician and the man.

When we sit with our grandfather, the politician's mask comes off and you see a human being who was traumatised by his father's death and had a close relationship with his mother. You see a father and grandfather who is concerned about his family.

We love nothing better than to sit at the table for lunch and dinner and listen to his stories of how he and his cousin ran away from his home, his experiences when he arrived in Johannesburg, the personal trials and tribulations he experienced and how he overcame them.

One of the few times when our grandfather showed raw emotion, was when our Uncle Makgatho, his only surviving son, was in hospital and it was clear that he was not going to make it.

Something in him died that day and he has never been able to recover.

With all of his fame, granddad is still a man of very simple pleasures - he prefers simple home-cooked meals and he really likes ice cream. He's an avaricious reader and has a wicked sense of humour.

So as granddad grows in years and wisdom we honour him by being happy, well-adjusted human beings and make an effort to apply his words of wisdom and encouragement to our own lives.

l The writers are Mandela's grandchildren. To read the tribute in full log on to www.sowetan.co.za