Babalwa Mhlauli

Lovelight flower Babalwa


"No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of it for anyone else." Charles Dickens


Dear Grandpa Mandela


Whenever I feel restless, all I need do is read Man in the Arena by Theodore Roosevelt;


"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."


Then I pick up my pen and paper and write you a sweet and wholesome love letter. One that reveals my love, vulnerability, strengths and weaknesses. You my beloved grandfather, my friend, my mentor and my dearest beloved comrade. Ohhh dear did I forget to mention that you my boss for all time to come? Ha ha ha!!! I love it! Ha ha ha! What an honor to have you as my boss! What a blessing. (Big Smile)


Grandpa you used sport to unite our nation. How did the idea come to you? It was the most brilliant strategy ever! Even today it works and it must be embraced and implemented, because the entire world needs it. The intention is always key if we seek and desire long lasting change.


One write says;


"Mandela was a driven athlete, an amateur boxer who ran two hours every morning as a young man. He kept himself in excellent shape during his 27 years in prison. But it was a sport to which he had little attachment which would change his life and cement his legacy."


He continues;


"Nelson Mandela, the legendary South African activist and politician...stands as one of the 20th century's most notable figures for his efforts to end apartheid. And while he used a combination of methods to dismantle South Africa's system of institutionalized racism, sports ranked high on the list. Mandela realized the transformative and unifying power of sports, and used that power to make changes that protests and diplomacy could not.


The key moment in Mandela's sporting life, as John Carlin of Sports Illustrated noted, was the 1995 Rugby World Cup in Johannesburg, South Africa. Mandela had been sworn in as president of South Africa only the year before, the nation's first black president, and there were plenty of heavily armed whites who were none too pleased with the tides that had changed their entire existence. The possibility of rioting, or worse, loomed large over the match between South Africa and New Zealand. As Mandela would say later, it was the most nervous he'd ever been in his life, even more so than the morning in 1962 where a captured Mandela would be sentenced to either life in prison or death by hanging.


Mandela had threaded a needle in the dark. In 1992, South Africa had been awarded the Rugby World Cup, and Mandela allowed the competition to proceed, even though rugby was a decidedly white-leaning sport. The South African national team, the Springboks, had only one nonwhite player, and blacks hated the team for many reasons, seeing their green jerseys as symbols of apartheid repression.


But Mandela convinced the nation to pull together as one and root for the Springboks, in part because of one astonishingly brave gesture: before a crowd of 65,000 that was almost completely white, Mandela strode onto the field wearing a Springboks jersey. The crowd, silent at first, began chanting "Nelson! Nelson! Nelson!"


South Africa would go on to win the game, and South Africans both black and white celebrated the victory. Mandela had not just passed a test, he'd rewritten it ... and in so doing, created a new, more hopeful future for his nation.


Sport has the power to change the world,” Mandela said. “It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.”


Thank you for this tremendous gift grandpa. You continue to show us that you too experienced moments of fear, but you didn't back down you accomplished your mission. Young people must embrace these lessons.


Granpa I have a gift for you. I want to share my Rugby World Cup Tourism Certificate with you. I was a tiny, winny, golden baby girl in 1995 during the World Cup, however I was determined to play my part. Love inspires me, because I grew up in a country that was ravaged by the evil system called apartheid. My home was always surrounded by heavily armed policemen who constantly terrorized us. So to me love is the only way. Peace is the only way,so there's got to be a different way of living this life, that all human beings can enjoy globally! This is the reason I come with passion and overflowing energy. My enthusiasm has always ushered me to participate in whatever was happening in my beloved country,which was enriching. I however never knew how significant that chapter was in the history of our country. I'm jumpy, jumpy and super excited even today as I write this love letter to you grandfather. The joy that we all felt when we won is super amazing! It was beyond winning the game, it was a moment of unity, looking in each other's eyes and realizing that we are;


"Much more alike than we differ!" In Maya Angelou's words


Blowing a million kisses your way grandpa. Mhhhh!!! How great is Our God!


Thank You Morgan Freeman and your team for telling our story so beautifully in the movie INVICTUS, thus sharing it with the entire world.


Pres Obama says;

"The arts and humanities aren't just there to be consumed when we need a free moment. We need them like medicine. They help us live."


As a poet, Invictus changed my life. To know that one's President cherished poetry that much is truly God's marvelous gift to my soul and spirit. The love you expressed for the Invictus Poem healed me grandpa. You officially declared me to be Poem ha ha ha, forever more.

I feel so blessed to have been afforded the opportunity to write this letter to you while you were still alive. I sent it to our former Deputy President to deliver it to you grandpa. Please read it to the Founding Father and First President of the Afican National Congress , John Langalibalele Dube. I know how much he'll love it.


Sent: Dec 20, 2012 12:48

Poem for Grandfather Mandela and family.


Dear Deputy President


I hope you are well and ready for all the exciting, wonderful and inspiring things that I believe you will be doing, perhaps your innermost dreams, thus fulfilling your heart's desire.


In october I met Ma Graca and I would like you to please send her this poem to grandfather Mandela and their entire family. In 2010 I had the privilege of reciting this poem in honor of Dr Martin Luther King at the Consulate General's home. I've always longed to recite it to Grandpa Mandela. He was my biggest inspiration when I wrote this poem. And when I read about how much he loved the poem called INVICTUS, I cried tears of joy.




Hope, please, quench my thirst like water in the Kalahari Desert.

The rushing water says, they haven't heard

The screeching sounds of your empty vessel in a while


Where are you hope?


Your silence leaves me lifeless

Lonely and sad

Your presence makes my spirit radiate with energy

So full of life

Like the noonday sun


Engulf me

Let me dance with joy

Celebrate your majesty under the moon and the stars

Celebrate the eternal light of life


I believe you'll quench my thirst for real

Like spring waters of life

Elevating my soul to greater heights

Beyond boundaries of grains of sand

Contained in the hour glass

I believe you'll quench my thirst

Sustain me through the storm when I can't see the light


Still I'll be searching for you


Persevering with all the might in the world

To my destiny

My dreams


Passion burning me like fire

Desires of my heart


When I get there

I promise never to forget where I'm from

To appreciate

The here

The now

Perpetuating my evolution

Through changeable seasons


When there's drought

I'll walk through the valley of life relentlessly

Knowing you'll strengthen me

To pray for the rain to come pouring down


Please, hope

Don't ever leave me

I'm lifeless without you

I'm nothing without you

Don't ever leave me

Not now!

Not ever.


Ma Graca, Grandpa came to our home town of Cradock when he was still President to honor our father and his fellow comrades. I met him again, right after my TRC testimony in a meeting that was orchestrated by God in Cape Town at the Waterfront. A couple of years ago I actually asked to be introduced to you so I could share my work with you which I knew you'd love dearly and appreciate a lot, but it never happened, until God made it happen. Its an amazing testimony of how we can never fully understand the great things He does, and how we clearly see that there is no end to His miracles. I was so grateful to God when He presented me with the opportunity to share what I had brought with me and there's so much more which I know you'll enjoy.


God Bless you Ma Graca, Our beloved Grandfather and your entire family. May God heal Grandpa strengthen him and bless him with unspeakable joy. You are always in our prayers.


Thank You so much for every thing you've given us.


Your selflessness, your energy, your love. The bright smiles that liberate our mind, soul and spirit. Your wisdom, those precious words that still move millions and will continue to be the guiding light to generations yet unborn.


I would love to recite another poem to you Grandpa called:



A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of producing a news story for the SABC about my art and poetry which was so successful, it reached the four corners of the globe. Major networks bought the story and they aired it in their countries.  The poem HOPE and GLOBAL UNIFICATION are the only two poems I used in that story.


Yours sincerely.

Babalwa Mhlauli.


(Sending this letter to you makes me feel a lot more successful than I could have ever imagined in my life grandpa. You sent me to the 150th Celebrations of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address since you weren't able to. They wanted you badly grandpa! Devine power.


"Do you not fear Me?' declares the LORD 'Do you not tremble in My presence? For I have placed the sand as a boundary for the sea, An eternal decree, so it cannot cross over it. Though the waves toss, yet they cannot prevail; Though they roar, yet they cannot cross over it." Jeremiah


I know how healing positive energy can be when shared with others lovingly. A good attitude must be instilled in the minds of young people. This will change the trajectory of history completely when they learn that team work and cooperation is the only way.


R. Simons write;

"In Seattle Special Olympics, ten young runners put their feet in the blocks at the starting line. At the pistol shot, all started off. But almost immediately one stumbled and fell and did not get up. He started to cry. A Downs Syndrome runner slowed down and looked back, then turned and came back to the fallen runner. The others had heard the crying and also looked back. Immediately they all came back to the fallen competitor and helped him up. They all locked arms and jogged around the track chanting,


"Together we finish,

Together we finish,

Together we finish."


By the time they crossed the finish line, all the spectators had joined them in their chant. Humbly working together we can find the good and perfect will of God, and in doing so, prepare the way for the return of our King!"


We continue to learn about the power of sport in order to restore nations. Pres Obama dilivered this message;


"First of all, the First Lady thinks everybody needs to move.  (Laughter.)  And obviously there’s a huge public health interest in making sure that people are participating in sports.  But sports is also just fundamental to who we are as Americans and our culture.  We’re competitive.  We’re driven.  And sports teach us about teamwork and hard work and what it takes to succeed not just on the field but in life.


And I was a basketball player---

I learned so many lessons playing sports that I carry on to this day, even to the presidency.  And still, when I need to relax and clear my head, I turn to sports -- whether it’s a pick-up basketball game -- and I’m much slower than I was just last week -- (laughter) -- or more sedate pastimes like golf, or watching SportsCenter.  


And more than that, as a parent, Michelle and I have always encouraged our girls to play sports.  One of the greatest transformations I think in our society has been how young women have been finally given the opportunity because of Title IX, and now you see just unbelievable women athletes who are getting the same exposure and experience and outlets for sports all across the country.  And Malia and Sasha are part of that generation."


A mother's touch.


"In the end, as First Lady, this isn’t just a policy issue for me. This is a passion. This is my mission. I am determined to work with folks across this country to change the way a generation of kids thinks about food and nutrition."


In closing, I'd like to share with you a letter grandfather wrote to his beautiful daughter Maki on February 16 1969. In this letter grandfather stands bold armed with the power and sheer force of his spoken word. He restores order against all odds. He defies injustice and he heals the heart with his pure love, tenderness and inner peace, although he's serving sentence behind the bars of 46664 prison cell at Robbean Island.


It was only sent on 29 July 1969 after his son Thembi passed on.


"My Darling,


...I hope you received the Xmas card I sent you and Kgatho and that you enjoyed your Xmas and new year. It was a real pleasure for me to get your undated letter in November 1967. The language and style were good and the writing clear. It pleased me very much to hear that you were enjoying yourself in school and that you liked English best. I was also happy to know that your ambition is to become a doctor or scientist. Both are strenuous professions and you must work hard and steadily during school terms and have a good rest during school holidays. I see that you are afraid of being kidnapped one day when you have discovered a dangerous drug. Do not worry much, darling, about kidnappers. Their world is getting smaller and smaller and their friends fewer. One day there will be a new world when all of us will live in happiness and peace. That world will be created by you and me, by Kgatho, Zeni and Zindzi; by our friends and countrymen. When you become a doctor or scientist and you use your knowledge, training and skill to help your people who are poor and miserable and who have no opportunity to develop, you will be fighting for that new world..."


So what is expected of us today in order to restore wholesomeness to everyone?


A healthy way of life is the answer. Healthy human beings make healthy choices. We will never be stewards of the earth and be our sister's keeper and brother's keeper if we not taking good care of ourselves.


Unity prayer.


"Our Gracious Father, We praise you for sending Jesus to show us your ways and for empowering us by your Spirit as we go into all the world to make disciples. Make us worthy, Lord, to serve our fellow beings who live and die in hopelessness, poverty and hunger for the truth. Forgive our fears of one another and our cultural pride, which makes it difficult for us to work together and potentially misuse our vast resources. Lord deliver us from such arrogance and from our independent selves. May we serve one another and others with such gracious love that people will come to know Christ, in whom is life, peace and joy."

Dr C Gnanakan


May the grace of God remain in our hearts for evermore.