Although I wasn't living in New Zealand in 1981 when the Springbok rugby tour was on, it was well reported in England and I watched the news in astonishment, seeing my peaceful country torn in two with protests, riots and bloodshed. If I had been there, I would have been one of the protesters, marching against the Rugby Union's self-centred, tunnel-visioned, denialist and stubborn refusal to admit that inviting the Springboks to tour was to support apartheid. I would have been cheering when the Hamilton game was cancelled. And I would have been amongst those chanting "Mandela! Mandela!"
When he was released from prison after that incredible 27 years - twenty-seven years! - I was delighted, and in 1994 when he was elected I was thrilled. It was all black or white to me. But when I went to South Africa this year I met lovely, educated, enlightened, generous people who, while they acknowledged what Mandela had done for their country and his countrymen, have not forgotten that the ANC that he led was a terrorist organisation, responsible for the deaths of innocent people, and that he had co-operated with dictators. They regret that their current government is self-serving and corrupt, and that their children - white, expensively educated because public education standards are worse today for all children (as I saw for myself) than back in apartheid days - are now a near-unemployable underclass.
Mandela himself never claimed to be a saint. He did great things, and made a huge difference, and South Africa is the better for his actions - but he's neither black nor white, and the country still has a long way to go. If I hadn't travelled there, I wouldn't know that. Consider my mind broadened. Is yours?