It is with immense sadness to hear that the legend that was, Nelson Mandela has passed away peacefully on the 5th December 2013.
The son of a tribal chief born in 1918, his given name was Madiba which meant “trouble maker”. Mischievous and funny. But my, did he shake up nations!
Nelson Mandela had a unique moral authority against a “white man rule” in South Africa. A rule of segregation and limited or no rights for black South Africans who had no equality and were under an all white supremacy. He fought for his people and became so powerful amongst them as a beacon of hope. A hope for change. In 1964 the South African government came to fear Mandela to the degree of incarcerating him for 27 years. 18 years of which were in solitary confinement. Yet he never sought revenge. And whilst outside of the jail many campaigned for his freedom, Mr Mandela used whatever he had to still convince the world that South Africa was a country for all.
Despite taking away his freedom, Mandela refused to negotiate with the South African government on their terms. Upon his arrest as he was taken to jail on April 20th 1964, Mandela’s court statement was this:
“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
After 27 years years of being locked up for simply seeking freedom, due to immense pressure campaigns from both white and black South Africans, Mr Mandela walked free as one of the most recognised and powerful men in the world. The government who were still all white, swiftly became afraid of black domination and now that Mandela was out of incarceration they believed the streets would go up in flames. Unfortunately there was some unrest, and Mandela appealed for peace. He fought for peace and equality. His mission was to establish a multi racial society. And so he did.
A determined fighter for democracy. He was a symbol of justice. His long walk to freedom was celebrated worldwide. He was elected as South Africa’s first black president at the age of 77 in 1994. And because of him all South Africans were now able to vote and elect a leader of of their choice. This was now proof that in his own words he had “climbed one mountain against oppression, but still had another mountain to climb against apartheid to democracy“. He never stop climbing.
I can’t help thinking… what a Moses moment! Just as as in the Bible, when many may have thought he’d reached his peak and had done his part, God used Mandela at his ripe old age of 77 to really begin his life’s mission. Just like he did with Moses. To set his people free and lead them to the promise land. And Mandela did it with great success. His long walk to freedom is celebrated worldwide.
A freedom fighter to prisoner to president. One of the most powerful men of our times. I thank God that as a man seeking such major change for the masses, he was one who escaped assassination unlike Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, Ghandi, JFK, and most controversially Diana, Princess of Wales should conspiracy theories be believed.
Poignantly, tonight was the UK premier of the bio-epic story of his life. Starring a stellar performance by actor Edris Elba as Mandela himself. The premier was attended by many high profile celebrities as well as Royalty. As those in the theatre arrived to watch the film entitled “Long walk to freedom” they left with immense sadness as they heard of this passing.
However his people – black and white – have taken to the streets of South Africa to sing and dance jubilantly in his name. The scenes on the news showing that of Soweto where Mandela once lived, has a party atmosphere which displays a rainbow of colours all in celebration of one man. A rainbow of colours of people coherent as one nation which would never have happened of it wasn’t for one man. Mandela is being remembered in every nation as a remarkable human being whose biggest legacy emphasised reconciliation. He will be remembered as great unifier.
In the last century their are not many people or individuals who have made such political and humanitarian change as he did. Nelson Mandela will always be remembered as one of “the greats” of our time and forever
Mandela’s life and dedication impacted change not only in South Africa but around the world. So much so I could write many many many pages of his amazing achievements, his commitments and his legacy. However, tonight I write this to thank him. To congratulate him in securing his place in history. And his remarkable contribution to the world.
Nelson Mandela was loved by all, and he will be greatly missed. A man who needed no website, social media or even TED Talks. But just his eternal drive, passion and God given ambition to bring freedom to his people.
Never underestimate what one man can achieve. Never underestimate what we as individuals and as people can achieve.
Thank you, Mr Mandela. You certainly have inspired me. And I believe you have inspired many.
Rest in divine peace.