A South African lady now living in Lurgan has spoken of her homeland’s heartache over the death of the country’s former president.
Linda Morrison, who has been living here for 13 years, said lessons could be learned in Northern Ireland from anti-apartheid politician Nelson Mandela, who died on December 5, aged 95.
She said: “He was an incredibly compassionate, wise man - especially his ability to forgive and have a vision for the future. We’re hoping that his legacy is able to continue.”
Linda (40) moved to Waringstown after marrying Garfield Morrison, a man who was born in Lurgan but grew up in South Africa. Garfield moved to South Africa at the age of seven when his father relocated to work in the motor industry.
Of the mood in South Africa Linda said: “All my friends are still in Durban.
“I spoke to friends after he (Nelson Mandela) died. Everyone is devastated but they always said he had been ill for quite a while and not able to have much public presence.
“People are just glad he has been able to pass on without having to suffer any longer.”
Linda and Garfield have two children - Matthew (9) and Hannah (11). Both are at King’s Park Primary School.
Speaking about her new adopted home Linda added: “I think there’s enormous similarities between South Africa and Northern Ireland.
“It’s the same old issue the world over of finding the common ground and looking at the positives in what we’ve got the same.
“For the sake of our children we need to lead safe and peaceful lives without trouble.
“A lot could be learned from Mandela. He didn’t carry bitterness with him.
“He helped make South Africa the Rainbow nation by accepting all people. I suppose that’s what many people can’t do.”