“I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the idea of a democratic and free society
in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunity. It is an idea I hope to live for and achieve. But if needs be, it is an idea for which I am prepared to die.”
Nelson Mandela speaking at the Rivonia Trial, 1964.
The world lost a great man yesterday. One of the most remarkable men in
the last 100years. He was courageous and a profoundly good human being, the most loved, revered and respected political leader of all time. The above statement made by Mandela shortly before he was incarcerated, sums up what he was about. A man willing
to die for his ideas and principles, to free his people from apartheid. He lived for this idea and made it real.
For me to write a befitting tribute to Mandela, I needed to find out
more about him to know why he was so great. I read, listened to various news media and heard from people who were privileged to meet Nelson Mandela. The unanimous description of this great man is that he was humble and unassuming, dignified, forgiving, selfless,
peaceful and courageous. After 27 years of incarceration in which he was tortured, lost his mother and son, missed the funerals and bringing up his children, he emerged without any bitterness or desire for revenge. He forgave and sought reconciliation. He
went from prisoner to president, giving a third of his presidential salary to charity. This is why he was so extraordinary.
Let me share what I consider the best tributes paid
to Mandela today;
“He achieved more than could be expected of any man. He gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they are guided by their hopes and not by their fears”
“He was so important to our sense of what it is to be correctly human”
So what does Mandela mean to me? To me, he is the ultimate symbol of selflessness, forgiveness, humility, peace, reconciliation, dignity, courage, Justice, fairness, hope, etc……..
I run out of superlatives to describe him.
This is his legacy. Rest in peace Madiba.